Leave the Politics and Ideology Out of Gaming

Politics and ideology are best left out of video games. In today’s day and age it seems as though you can’t get away from these two things. Hell, you can’t even turn ESPN on without hearing someone’s opinion on something they have no expertise in. I try to be fairly knowledgeable of the happenings in the world. I’m not trying to say the old cliché, “ignorance is bliss,” but enough is enough. Constantly hearing about all the world’s problems is getting exhausting. After hearing all day that the world is going to end, I think I might want to just play some video games and get away from it all. I don’t care what an NFL player has to say on social issues and I definitely don’t care what a game producer’s take on society is. Just let me call the plays my football team runs in Madden or solve puzzles as Mario, not solve the world’s problems.

In Ian Bogost’s article, “Video Games Are Better Without Characters,” he argues that simulation games, such as SimCity, are necessary to examine how our society works. This is far from true. Today’s population is more knowledgeable on how our country and our world is operating than ever before thanks to the revelation of the internet. There is an endless supply of information on almost anything imaginable, making learning such things from video games very unnecessary. In his article, Bogost briefly discussed a 1994 game titled, SimHealth, which was release around the time of Bill Clinton’s proposed Health Security Act. I honestly think I would rather have my finger nails individually pulled out than play a game where your sole purpose is to win a political battle.

When talking about how such games are starting to decline, Bogost says, “let us take the opportunity… to mourn the decline of the video game as operable argument, as machinery that shows us something about the world outside ourselves, something incomplete and grotesque even, but something we out to see.” The fact that such games are declining makes me happy. Simulation games shouldn’t be about regular day life, they should allow you to live out things you normally wouldn’t be able to.

Another problem with introducing politics and ideology into video games is that it is extremely easy for games to reflect developer’s opinions on how society has been or should be. In Kat Brewster’s article, “The Pitfalls of Trying to Tell Stories Outside Your Own Experience,” she said, “Players and developers alike should be paying attention to the way they are calling attention to the mutilated and misleading parallels games so often employ.”

Many gamers, particularly younger ones, are most often playing games not thinking about the information they are receiving, making them vulnerable to subconsciously pick up concepts and ideas that they hear through video games. While Hollywood has been doing this forever, the video game industry should stay out of it. They should stick to doing what they do best and provide an outlet from reality

In Bogost’s same article about how video games are better if they reflect features of society in a way that makes us think, he even says, “Video games are a place to escape, a place to be powerful, a place to have agency in a world that so often wrests it from us.” That’s right, let us escape, but not to the same world that we’ve been hearing is going to hell in a hand basket. Let us escape to a world where I get to control how football players are only playing football or how a plumber collects coins and stars to save a princess.

Works Cited

Bogost, I. (2015, Mar 13). Video Games are Better Without Characters. Retrieved from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/video-games-are-better-without-characters/387556/

Brewster, K. (2017, May 22). The Pitfalls of Trying to Tell Stories Outside Your Own Experience. Retrieved from https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/9k9vw5/the-pitfalls-of-trying-to-tell-stories-outside-your-own-experience