Power of Art

There is power in art and culture to challenge world views. Video games can be art and as a medium often make you the centre of their world. You can bend the world to your will (depending upon the parameters of the game) and be the agency, but has this created self-centred egotistical people who believe that their rights as the consumer outweigh those of the game creators?


The Mass Effect 3 finale debacle in which many gamers, disappointed with the ending created by the game designers, rallied against the company and forced them to patch in another ending, is testament to this egotistical nature of some gamers. Objectivity in gaming is nigh on impossible as the creators will have things they have ingrained in their character due to implicit factors, aspects that are central to their personal sense of identity and morals.

The recent release of Wolfenstein 2 was promoted through various means but the twitter account was wonderfully trolling, encouraging players to 'Make America Nazi-free Again'. The seemingly universally agreed upon truth (that Nazi's were horrible and have no place in the modern world) opened a whole can of worms online as alt-right snowflakes felt they had been misrepresented or unfairly portrayed. This is a strange turn of events in a medium that has enjoyed the virtual killing of Nazi's in a myriad of video games over the past couple of decades. To quote, "While Nazism is German, prejudice is not." How can many be pleased to gun down virtual racist whilst doing nothing about or even actively supporting them in real life?

The alternate history of Nazi's succeeding in their agenda in WW2 and taking over the world is one that has been mined before, most famously in the novel Fatherland by Robert Harris or more currently the adaptation of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. This concept is not a new one yet why now have the alt-right felt the need to voice their anger against Wolfenstein?

Whether violence in video games encourages real world violence is debatable and has been discussed before but how can the virtual killing of a genocidal hate filled military group that have committed the worst atrocities in the history of humankind be considered propaganda?

Politics and gaming do not really go hand in hand but as a young medium it is having the growing pains of knowing where it fits in with current world events.
Like anything else, video games are often a projection of the views and thoughts and beliefs of the people who make them, whether it be explicit or implicit. We can't always explain how we feel or what we feel, sometimes things are a part of us and that's that. We imprint ourselves often the things we make. Games are not created  in a vacuum as the current state of the world can have an influence and provide a snapshot of the times, they are often products of their time.

Lucus Pope's Papers Please isn't political per se but it definitely had something to say about refugees and the systems that handle them. As for Wolfenstein, maybe the twitter wasn't subtle but what do you expect from a series famed for robot headed Hitler as a final boss?

 Subtlety is not part of Wolfenstein's ouvre.

Subtlety is not part of Wolfenstein's ouvre.