Friday, August 13, 2010

Fascism, Immigration, and Videogames?

There is a lot debate raging about immigration right now. One idea is to change the Constitution and revise the 14th amendment to remove the ability of anyone born on US soil to become citizens automatically. My favorite take on the subject comes from the Colbert Report (around the 7:20 mark the whole arguement is summed up nicely) Pair this with some recent trailer from Irrational Games' anticipated Bioshock Infinite and the issue seems pervasive across not only the political landscape but even in the entertainment industry and the gaming industry particularly.

The trend for games in the last several years has pushed "moral" choices on players. There are always the light escapist games out there to play, but I've noticed a rise in games making political statements and critiques of society, often masked in a veneer of action, make-believe and violence.

As I work on the Martian Chronicles project and consider Mr. Bradbury's take on the world when he wrote the stories (heavy stuff in there...allusions to our destruction of native peoples, racial tension, imperialism, nuclear war, etc) it seems that these things inevitably make their way into the art of the day. 1984 was a reaction to the political landscape of post-war Western society wrapped in dystopian sci-fi.

At the Bioshock Infinite unveil event the crowd was also shown faux-propaganda posters depicting a fictional 1912 American society gone off the deep end into protectionist racist imperialism with a steampunk twist. I'm not really pitching the game, especially since I don't really play shooter games, but it seemed interesting that such a thing would be considered "fun" 25 years after a plumber who jumps, eats mushrooms and saves princesses from lava-filled castles was the industry standard.

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