Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Area 51 To Deal With Tense Political Issues

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-got-your-game-in-my-politics dept.

United States 102

Since the days of the arcades, the Area 51 games have been brainless bughunts: find the aliens, shoot the aliens. When game designer Harvey Smith was hired a few years ago to work on the next iteration of the franchise, he began to despair at the lackluster story elements in the game. As he put it: "Area 51 just bored the sh-- out of me, and I was like, 'How can we make this interesting?'" As MTV News reports, frustrations with politics both in the United States and abroad led to a solution that required months of convincing executives to see implemented. Blacksite: Area 51 will feature a new and more poignant story, as the aliens become poor American citizens put in harm's way. "Wait, what if they are terrorists we helped create? What if the people supporting us in our fight against the terrorists aren't completely clean either? What if they're sending us after them now, but what if 10 years ago it was safe for them to create them?' ... So what we have in 'BlackSite' is a delta-force assassination squad hunting down and killing members of an Army training program. So on American soil, Americans are fighting Americans, basically." The game is intended to be enjoyed regardless of subject matter, but Smith hopes that gamers will accept a title that even touches on some of the issues that popular television shows deal with on a regular basis. What do you think about this? Is there room for politics in gaming, or do you just want to shoot stuff?

cancel ×

102 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Fallout did some of this... (3, Informative)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014686)

Fallout 2's explanation of how the holocaust happened blamed American politics. :)

I am all for having some story to games. It's generally a plus.

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

Cadrys (43897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014722)

F2 however had tounge firmly in cheek the whole way. This Area 51 concept is worty of tinfoil hats.

I shall vote with my wallet and play something else.

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018118)

so you decide not to buy a game because the politics of the game story line hit a little too close to home? maybe you should judge it on gameplay and quality of the storyline

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014732)

Me too... but if the gameplay is bad, i can only tolerate playing through the game once if has a GOOD story (and sometimes even getting through once is trying)

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015120)

"I am all for having some story to games. It's generally a plus."

I agree, as long as it's an original story. The one suggested in the article sounded worryingly similar to Deus Ex which - while undeniably an amazing game - has now been done (and repeated by several other games). I think originality is the key to a good story.

I guess we will have to wait to see what they can come up with though as often the devil is in the detail (i.e. Half-life 2 had a great story premise, but the story-telling was absolutely shite).

Re:Fallout did some of this... (3, Insightful)

ectal (949842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016556)

Execution and presentation are the keys to good storytelling. Originality is cheap.

I will now avoid the cliche of citing most of Shakespeare's work as a key example of this--Whoops, there I go.

That said, I doubt the story will be any good for an Area 51 game. Though I don't see anything about the basic storyline that would make it hard for someone with enough skill to weave a good story, one better than Deus Ex, even.

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018304)

"Execution and presentation are the keys to good storytelling. Originality is cheap."

Hmm, after thinking about it, I agree 100% with the first sentence, it is extremely insightful (*hint*, *hint* to any moderators about). No matter how good or poor a story's core is, "Execution and presentation" will trump it in a game (this is where Half-life 2 - along with many other games - fell flat, imho).

Re:Fallout did some of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016518)

Awesome game. Brings a curious feeling when you're in San Fran in the Hubologist camp and there's Juan Cruz ready for a beat down. I'm actually playing it again, about to take out the Poseidon Oil rig.

So did Deus Ex (1)

WiPEOUT (20036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018012)

There's obviously a market for games with political elements. Fallout and Deus Ex are both widely hailed as amongst the best games ever released for the PC. Both depicted an artistic vision of how life could be if certain negative aspects of modern culture are not challenged, and it was the storyline that engrossed it's players.

Given the timing of Fallout's release. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019858)

Their choice was America, or some other nation yet to be named, (post soviet oppoisition problem) which fallout was not set in. (remember, the original was set in the American west.)

-GiH

Re:Fallout did some of this... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019950)

I am all for having some story to games. It's generally a plus.

some? For me, if a game doesn't have a good story, it's not worth buying. Story is what made the Final Fantasy series so popular.
My 2 cents.

Plenty of room in gaming for politics. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18014714)

Just like there was in earlier wartime cartoons.

Re:Plenty of room in gaming for politics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015106)

Oh, absolutely.

Nothing would make me happier than Vegan Super Mario, an abortion-clinic bombing Samus, a pro-Iraq-surge Link, a Resident Evil plotline involving civil rights for the undead, and Tommy Vercetti coming out in favor of universal health care.

Re:Plenty of room in gaming for politics. (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015808)

Oh, dear God. Careful, or you'll end up spawning a bunch of new Uncyclopedia articles. The concept of a zombie rights [uncyclopedia.org] movement has already been done.

politics, not polemics (5, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014724)

I think there's room for politics in the sense of relevant issues with today's politics, but I don't want polemics in my video games. I think a lot of people who want to inject "politics" really mean "polemics". They have an axe to grind. Even if it's someone who shares my general political outlook (which I highly doubt, coming from a video game designer) I would really hate to have basically propoganda in a game I'm playing.

I mean bad story and bad dialogue and bad characterization aren't horrible enough? Now we're going to get stupid 8th-grade reading level political treatises as well? When game designers figure out how to write a script that doesn't suck maybe I'll trust them to inject politics.

Until that day this can only end in tears. Frustrated tears of tortured gamers crying out for entertainment that doesn't suck.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (2, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014870)

> Until that day this can only end in tears. Frustrated tears of tortured gamers crying out for entertainment that doesn't suck.

So business as usual then, gotcha.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015388)

No - business worse than usual. It's better to not include a "feature" at all than to include it badly. It looks like we're headed for bad, horrible, awful politics.

Someone save us please.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015936)

Politics has been done well in games. Final Fantasy Tactics had a pretty harsh assault on Christianity, for example (read the Germonik scriptures?). Besides, sometimes there are things that are just subtle, amusing jabs. I ran into one in FFXII the other day (I took a picture of the screen, but haven't offloaded it from my camera yet), and no, I'm not talking about the fact that the game is about a powerful empire that exploits weak desert nations for their natural resources, whose actions can be seen as "evil" even though its citizens and soldiers tend to be good people.

Take the mindflayer hunt and talk to the petitioner. The petitioner talks about twin brother. He talks about how power hungry he is, and how dangerous he has become. The brother's name? "Ashkroft". ;)

Re:politics, not polemics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18017100)

The examples you give are precisely the kind of simpleminded, one-sided potshots that Stormin Moron was crying about in the OP.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016942)

Frustrated tears of tortured gamers crying out for entertainment that doesn't suck.
And games that work. Ironic that the same folks forcing an agendized political view into their game are the same folks who included the infamous computer wrecking malware known as Starforce [game-overdrive.com] with Area 51.

Re:politics, not polemics (4, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014910)

I mean bad story and bad dialogue and bad characterization aren't horrible enough? Now we're going to get stupid 8th-grade reading level political treatises as well?

Hey, sometimes it really works out well for you. Just look at Ayn Rand.

Re:politics, not polemics (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016656)

You're being unfair to 8th-grade reading level political treatises by comparing them to Any Rand's work.

Didn't really say anything...what youcouldsay a51 (0, Flamebait)

rogtioko (1024857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021076)

This is a catch-22, kind of hypocritical coming from a dude who writes at an 8th grade level in terms of of factual basis and content length . I mean, you didn't really say anything: what is the purpose of your statement, considering it is false?

Outside of a-51, some people make moral mistakes while doing complicating professional level stuff along the way and don't even notice them. Take for instance them building that 5 million $ seed shack up in svalbardslush: it's really complicating to make, but there are people dying right now from curable illnesses, and it won't even guarentee saving a single person in the future because there's never going to be doomsday on earth in the foreseeable future if world leaders don't goof off and nuke the entire world, there's never been a comet that has hit the earth to cause annihilation that I have witnessed and I don't understand that there ever will be.

From my reading of Ayn Rand's books (objectivist epistemology, anthem, the fountainhead) I know that she rights about moral problems, which address many issues that are missed by the people I mentioned in the first sentence of the second paragraph, and ideals. A lot of parts of Ayn Rand's books I burn and request editing from the editors, such as the garbage silly woman stuff, improper use of metaphors (badly, probably unintentionally, used some metaphors in past and present respect to write poetically rather than a future respect to describe something that there simply isn't a word on (i.e. If there is a primitive person who has never seen a plane before, the person would probably not call it a plane)), and some of it is morally wrong itself, but then there is the stuff on focus, the meaning of life, risk, and cynicism that gives a person knowledge.

From my perspective, hopefully parts of Anna Nicole Smith's movie "illegal aliens" are accurate representations of some life's technology in outer space and other planets somewhere because they would give those non-earthlings one reason to not offer to abduct some of us. [hollywoodreporter.com] That is if Area-51 invents volumetric display technology like in the

BlackSite: Area 51 demo...an M4 assault rifle mated with an M203-style grenade launcher. The sighting on the M4 looked high-tech; possibly holographic
http://previews.teamxbox.com/xbox-360/1526/BlackSi te-Area-51/p1/ [teamxbox.com] Since, the alien women in "illegal aliens" have hologram technology, they won't bother trying to eek a plan for a volumetric display from some earthly scientists.

Re:politics, not polemics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18014912)

"Now we're going to get stupid 8th-grade reading level political treatises as well? "

Apparently. I wonder if anyone will tell him that he's barely reached the political message of the remake of The Hills Have Eyes.

Re:politics, not polemics (3, Informative)

SalaciousPucker (911419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014942)

Talking about politics without expressing any actual viewpoint is pointless. The purpose of debate is controversy. Rational arguments can & SHOULD offend people.

It was fear of polemics that let a nation ignore debate on an issue as grand as war. It was our (corporate friendly) 'creative' people - hollywood & music industries - that were scared into avoiding any discussion/debate of the war in Iraq. The right wing martyr'ed the one country act that spoke their minds, and everyone else fell in line. Only now, when the war is well past being a lost cause, quite obviously, to even casual observers, can people stand up and question it. All that death, destruction and instability.....in an abuse of fear, wrapped in the flag, to sell the fear of polemics....of debate....of controversy.

Re:politics, not polemics (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015334)

Talking about politics without expressing any actual viewpoint is pointless. The purpose of debate is controversy. Rational arguments can & SHOULD offend people.

What the GP is talking about is crossing the line between presenting a moral dilemma and pushing an agenda.

The best political plot lines ask a question. The worst try to force an answer. You most you can do without ruining a story is to suggest one by framing the story to be in favor of it, but once your characters become mouthpieces for the "correct" answer, you've lost the story.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015510)

Dang, should have read your post before I replied. You said what I said, only with brevity. Which makes it better.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015804)

There is an alternative - create a story with a clear and obvious moral conclusion, but frame it in such a way to provoke outrage or self-reflection.

I've always wanted to play alternate history games where you assume the role of victims of American tyranny, such as a slave or a native American, and then turn the tables on your oppressors.

Re:politics, not polemics (2, Interesting)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017354)

I've always wanted to play alternate history games where you assume the role of victims of American tyranny, such as a slave or a native American, and then turn the tables on your oppressors.

There is no need to use an alternate history to find good examples [wikipedia.org] of this that could be used for a game.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016048)

This is incorrect though, a poorly written story with a mouthpeice is going to be horrid, but there is no reason why a story with an agenda cannot be good and intresting.

A good story teller can tell you a story about a peice of string and make it sound amazing, a bad story writer can tell a story about the coolest thing ever and make you yawn

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016326)

This is incorrect though, a poorly written story with a mouthpeice is going to be horrid, but there is no reason why a story with an agenda cannot be good and intresting.

I disagree. No matter how good the technical execution, I don't like agenda-driven art/entertainment (regardless of whether or not I like the agenda itself).

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018626)

"The best political plot lines ask a question. The worst try to force an answer. You most you can do without ruining a story is to suggest one by framing the story to be in favor of it, but once your characters become mouthpieces for the "correct" answer, you've lost the story."
Yeah, thats why 24 does so horribly right?

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018868)

Do you actually watch 24? If so - what is the "answer" the show is trying to force on us?

I'm not saying I think it's great intellectual entertainment, but I get the impression that the majority of people who are up in arms about it haven't watched it. Most of the claims of anti-Muslim bias or what have you are simply not reflected in the actual show. Consider that the current villains include an evil currupt corporate (white) American, a Soviet-era general, and (yes) a Muslim terrorist. You've also got overzealous hawks in the administration trying to assassinate the president in order to get the internment camp agenda operational. Meanwhile on the other side you have a Muslim ex-terrorist, a Muslim leader of a non-profit, a president who acts like the opposite of George Bush and, of course, Jack Bauer.

Just wondering whether you're one of those people who think it's anti-Islamic. If anything, it's pedantically anti-anti-Islamic.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018966)

How did you manage to get "24 is anti-Islamic" from my post?
The "answer" the show is pushing is "America is awesome, terrorism is not awesome"
Political views aside i think ANYONE with half a brain can see that EVERY show/movie/game pushes some point on its viewers. Its whether you agree with it or not that sparks these discussions.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019132)

How did you manage to get "24 is anti-Islamic" from my post?

It's just been in the news since the new series started. It wasn't in your post, I was assuming. So my mistake.

How did you manage to get "24 is anti-Islamic" from my post?

I don't even think that message is so obvious. Americans are up to some shady shenanigans in that show. But I don't think this is the kind of political message people had in mind. I mean really - does a game need to argue that terrorism is bad? That's like saying that a game which depicts murder as bad is pushing a philosophical agenda. Technically I suppose you could say that, but realistically everyone thinks that already and it's non-controversial.

I think what people are talking about is a video game that would push some specific agenda that's not universally accepted. Like, say, the idea that all capitalism is always evil and results in nothing but death and destruction as evil fat-cat tycoons grind the faces of poor innocent minorities into the dirt.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019206)

Terrorism isn't universally viewed as bad. I personally think it is bad but obviously some people don't. To take this point a little further i would argue that the US led invasion of Iraq has killed more civilians than all the terrorist attacks on the US this century (1 if you count 9/11, 0 if you don't) though it seems supporting the war doesn't make you a bad person for supporting the killing of civilians.
I can see the flames and -1 troll mods coming now so can i just say: I do not support the killing of ANYONE by ANYONE! Both sides are wrong, both sides need to stop, all i am saying is that the US clearly wins this race (of killing)

Re:politics, not polemics (3, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015480)

Talking about politics without expressing any actual viewpoint is pointless. The purpose of debate is controversy. Rational arguments can & SHOULD offend people.

The purpose of debate is controversy? No, I think not. That sounds more like the CNN.com obligatory "teacher sleeps with student/ random celeb does something awful/ etc.". The point of debate is to arrive at truth, or at least somewhere in the vicinity. If controversy is necessary along that path, so be it. But controversy for the sake of controversy is good for nothing but selling papers.

Furthermore, that's debate. We're talking about a game. I'd prefer games to have enough substance to provide fodder for interesting extra-game debates, not actually take a side in the debate. I'd prefer my games to raise issues, not try to tell me how to vote.

This is what we expect out of good literature, and it's what I love (and all to often find missing) in sci-fi. Good art, in my opinion, should raise questions. Not try to answer them.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

SalaciousPucker (911419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016376)

Marketing of news networks, whether it be propagandist preaching to the converted masses or middle of the road schlock....either way they all make a buck by reporting on pandering, dead models and oddity. Corporate News is a product that occasionally reports facts, and even more & more rarely offers reason. They don't offer controversy, they offer product.

Controversy, by definition, is a dispute...different reasoning...differing opinions....debate. Controversy is NOT questions - it's different answers - debate.

Democracy's & republic's function poorly with debate. Without debate they don't function at all (why we are in Iraq).

You'll never find the truth if you only ask questions. At some point you have to propose an answer. Unfortunately, answers hurt peoples faith & weakens even the most potent demagogue. Your typical Bill O'Reilly fan's head would asplode if they read Chomsky or Zinn. A multitude of answers could lead people astray from what the corporate media wants them to think. We've always been at war with Eurasia.

Re:politics, not polemics (4, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017602)

You'll never find the truth if you only ask questions.

Two things. First of all, I think it's naive to assume that you're going to "find the truth" at all. There is no truth to be found about exactly which type of government works best, how much socialism, how much free-market capitalism, etc. Not that there isn't any such objective truth, but pat answers will never be found. Getting closer to the truth is a cyclic process of asking questions and proposing possible answers. Any body that says "this is it, the final concrete truth" on any given serious topic is lying or deluded.

So I'd say the process of asking questions and proposing intelligent, open-ended possible solutions is more important that rushing in with "solutions". I'm not really sure which end of this spectrum you fall into, and I don't want to judge you, but your tone so far is a little too "the truth is obviously X" for my taste. Anyone that takes that tone in a game is going to make a game I don't want to play.

2. And that's really the point. We're talking about what makes a good game. Even if you did find the right answers, even if you could prove they were correct: why foist them into a video game? It makes the games annoying (to people like me) and it's arguably not a great way to get your ideas spread across. People don't like to be talked down to, and that's exactly what you're going to sound like when you try to present a tight, final, immutable answer in a game. Even if you're right. You'll turn people off, whereas a more subtle question-raising approach that allows people to put the dots together is both more fun and more effective.

This is the same way plot works in a movie/book/game. If you have to get into long-winded exposition to explain the plot, the theme, or the point of your narrative you've already screwed it up.

Much as you seem to want to turn this into a discussion about the war in Iraq and politics in America, it's a conversation about what makes a good game. And someone trying to foist their particular political philosophy onto the players does not.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015390)

You're whining that a game called "Area 51" is using a standard X-Files plot device because it is too "polemic"?

Have you ever read a book? Do ideas threaten you? Even cartoonish strawmen repudiations of your beliefs?

Maybe you should stick to Left Behind: Eternal Forces [leftbehindgames.com] . There is a rebellious subtext to most video games that will make you uncomfortable.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015612)

You're whining that a game called "Area 51" is using a standard X-Files plot device because it is too "polemic"?

No. I'm responding to the article. Novel concept. Please read it. I'll post some of it for you here:

The game is intended to be enjoyed regardless of subject matter, but Smith hopes that gamers will accept a title that even touches on some of the issues that popular television shows deal with on a regular basis. What do you think about this? Is there room for politics in gaming, or do you just want to shoot stuff?

Please note that the question I was responding to was a general one. I've never played Area 51, why would I whine about something I've never played? I'm "whining" that if politics are executed in games the way plot and dialogue are, games will get worse and not better for the inclusion. Or maybe you think the script of Resident Evil 4 was worthy of a Pulitzer?

Have you ever read a book?

No. Never. I'm frightened of all the pages. Not to mention the ideas. You never know when they might sneak into your head and take over.

Do ideas threaten you?

Yes, yes they do. Sometimes I cry at night.

Even cartoonish strawmen repudiations of your beliefs?

Especially those. Shit man, straw man talking! Proving me wrong! That's not scary to you? How did they get so damn smart? How do they know what's in my head?! And why are they 2-d?!!! Oh NNNOOOOEEESSSS!!!!!oneoneoneoneeleventyoneone

Go troll elsewhere.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016848)

I attack the messenger, and you hen-peck my message. The point is most real-worldish plots are already polemic. Your argument is null in a world already populated with the likes of Splinter Cell and Rainbow 6. If you don't see the politics inherent in any real or imagined conflict, you're exactly the sort of namby-pamby audience who ruins games I might otherwise enjoy.

Too many people are afraid of being offended, going out of their way to avoid anything that frames a reality different their own. And what's wrong with games that do cater to your preconceptions? What is more gratifying than defeating something that embodies people and concepts for which you hold real contempt? Are games supposed to be some sort of emotionless intellectual exercise?

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017698)

I attack the messenger, and you hen-peck my message.

Stop me if I'm wrong, but that's a good thing when in debate, no? Hen-pecking the message instead of attacking the message avoids ad hominem attacks or just plain non sequitors.

Your argument is null in a world already populated with the likes of Splinter Cell and Rainbow 6.

I'll be honest, I've played neither game very much. From what I have played, however, the philosophical implications are rather shallow at best. A traditional tale of political intrigue and killing foreign terrorists while fighting internal corruption blah blah blah. Like I said, I could be wrong, but it sounds like it has all the weighty political implications of a James Bond movie. When I think of an intellectually challenging and entertaining narrative I think of "The Left Hand of Darkness" or "Dune" or at the very least something like "Ender's Game". All of these sci-fi masterpieces have something to say and questions to raise, and do so without being bombastic or shoving an agenda in the readers face. I think you can see that you and I are really talking about different levels of intellectual engagement. I like a story that makes me think. I like a story that challenges my world view. I like a story that presents an alien world view. I just don't like stories that try to manipulate me into agreement or pontificate or lecture, etc.

Given the track record of narratives in video games (not all video games need narratives - e.g. Civilization, but they are a part of most strategy, adventure, RPG, and FPS games) I'm fairly certain that "Dune" quality politics will be missing, whereas we will be getting the philosophical equivalent of Resident Evil dialog. I'm not exactly thrilled by this prospect.

Are games supposed to be some sort of emotionless intellectual exercise?

I think the best games would be intellectual and emotional. There's not reason the two should be mutually exclusive. But I've frequently been told by friends that I over-analyze movies/books/shows/songs, so I may like more intellectual content than most people.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018990)

Yeah, not many games make explicit connections to real politics (though there is one set in Venezuela [ushov.org] that's ruffling feathers), but there is the assumption in most real-world military simulations that the other side is evil while our side is innocent. The absence of any moral justification for these pretend wars against real countries is worse than any polemic. If the ideology or agenda of some games is overt (and possibly even offensive), then maybe more people might start questioning games (and politics) in general. And it might even make them more fun.

Besides, it's not like the existence of talk radio makes it any harder to find real political discussion, so why would it be the same with games?

Funny you mention Ender's Game, my first post originally referenced Card's Empire as an example of a real polemic that I still found enjoyable. Stupid beliefs and strawman characters don't necessarily result in boring plot and dumb dialog.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019196)

The absence of any moral justification for these pretend wars against real countries is worse than any polemic.

I just can't get worked up about this line of thought. It's just a repeating cycle. Star Trek: Klingons are bad. Movies 1 - 5. No, wait, really we just need to get to know them and understand they are people too. Movie 6. Crap, no we're out of villains. OK, now Romulans are bad. You get the picture.

Not every game can be an accurate reflection of the fact that all people are unique and individual snow flakes. I think it's generally better for a game to show that, but imagine what playing Call of Duty would be like if you had to watch the bio of every single German soldier you shot. It would actually probably be a very artsy and cool experiment, but not exactly a hoot to play through? I think it's not a great idea to weigh down all video games with a bunch of moral baggage and expect them all to accurately depict life. They are games. I think that they should either just have fun and not worry to much about philosophy, or actually deal with it insightfully. Either is OK with me. The only bad option is dealing with it badly.

Funny you mention Ender's Game, my first post originally referenced Card's Empire as an example of a real polemic that I still found enjoyable. Stupid beliefs and strawman characters don't necessarily result in boring plot and dumb dialog.

Which book is Empire? I thought I had read almost all of his books, but if it's a new one I haven't been keeping up. In any case, I guess we just have different tastes in books. Card gets extremely annoying when he gets preachy. He decided to turn the last Bean novel (Shadow of the Hegemon, I think? Or something like that) into a treatise about why homosexuality is bad and abortion is bad. Now I happen to believe both those things, more or less, but I still found his preachiness to detract horribly from his story telling.

Heinlein is another great example of this. Starting with Starship Troopers he began to insert increasing amounts of political dogma and philosophy into his books. When he handled it directly - as in Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is Harsh Mistress - it was great. When it became a side-track from the story (as in most of his other later novels) it started to really detract. I think Heinlein, like Card, managed to write decent books in spite of their preachiness, not because of it.

-stormin

Re:politics, not polemics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18021146)

how about you shut up and play the games you like playing and let other people play the games theylike playing.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015732)

I would really hate to have basically propoganda in a game I'm playing.

Well, one man's propaganda is another man's scripture.

Hopefully this is something in between that will be fun to play. I know I'm looking forward to playing this conflicted-conflict game.

I wonder how open-ended it will be. And I don't mean GTA-style. Will there will be multiple endings based on how you play it. It sounds like it could be, especially if after the game play is finished your character must face the consequences of his actions. Imagine saving the world and being executed as a traitor for doing so, or committing genocide and other atrocities and being hailed as a hero, or just selling out your own species to secure your own future with the aliens.

Of course, not everything being so contrasting: having to deal with the consequences of doing the expedient things or failing to do the necessary things however distasteful. Sometimes you have no choice but to shoot the eight-year-old girl carrying the live hand grenade, even if she's not a zombie, ghost, or other evil undead spirit.

OK, now I'm probably building up my own expectations of this game too much.

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016350)

Well, one man's propaganda is another man's scripture.

Well I would also hate a game that attempted to push another man's scripture. Yes, including a game that tried to push Mormon scripture. It would suck.

-stormin

I disagree (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015998)

I would love a game where I can hunt down this elusive Haliburton Weather Machine and put a stop to it!

Re:politics, not polemics (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018458)

Wow. You are a real voice of sanity.

That sort of thing is my number one pet peeve: fiction that tries to regurgitate some kind of political propaganda. I see that everywhere; there's a ton of fantasy that has an extremely obvious environmentalist agenda. Now, I am not opposed to environmentalism. Furthermore, that sort of thing would probably have been fresh and innovative anout 40 years ago. It's just, at this point, /everybody/ has already heard about the fricken trees, and you don't accomplish anything by covering it in a veneer of elves and dragons.

Or, take the other example: Left Behind. I started reading it because I thought it was going to be a dark apocalyptic sci-fi. Instead, they spend the entire series rehashing fundamentalist christian dogma. They cranked out twelve bloody books of the crap, when the same thing can be (and has been) said in a 5 minute speech.

The problem, of course, happens when writers or game designers substitute regurgitated, redundant groupthink for plot. Controversy is okay. Something that presents a new, in-depth argument for something is also okay. Asking open-ended questions to make the player actually think is the best, in my opinion. But if it's the same crap I hear everyday on the news, there's a serious lack of thought going into that storyline.

If you aren't going to write your own story, there are much better sources to rip off. You could rip off a true story. You could rip off a folk tale. You could rip off shakespeare; people think it's a good thing. You could rip off famous philosophers; just take a famous paradox, come up with an analogy, and work through the analysis. That's what sci-fi is. But if you rip off BBC/FOX/whatever, you have a serious problem thinking for yourself.

Re:politics, not polemics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18024624)

Alright, I don't know what's more funny...the fact that you refer to yourself as a "Stormin' Mormon," which I just can't picture (a guy in a white shirt, black tie and slacks who believes in the words that some guy said were written on golden plates that he wouldn't show anyone without cloth being wrapped around them, haha...to throw a fit of rage? Not likely), or the fact that, even after giving yourself that illustrious title, you cry about video games not being up to par. You should try looking for the Urim and Thummim instead of playing games. You know, the device that no one has been able to locate except, by coincidence, Smith Jr., who also held onto the supposed plates this new cult were to be based upon?

Maybe Flaming Fruitbag or Ignorant Idiot would have been better aliases. Don't have quite the same ring, but they're closer to the truth.

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18014728)

Lame - who cares? Halo is a bug hunt too. Sure the story is ok, it never really drove me to finish the game. The game play did (and needing to practice to dominate in multiplayer)
You want story read a book or watch a movie.

Re:Lame (2, Interesting)

adamstew (909658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014908)

Some people like interactive stories. I for one, am a HUGE fan of the entire Myst series because of that. Myst certainly was not an action game, nor did it necessarily require any reflexes, timing, etc. (okay, there were one or two puzzles in the last few games that required you to finish something before a time expired).

People play games for different reasons. The online multiplayer is nice, because AI just can't measure up to real people...but I buy and play games for their stories.

One could just as well ask... (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014730)

..."is there room for storyline in gaming?"
And the answer is 'yes'. I seem to recall the KOTOR titles, as well as Deus Ex and System Shock 2, being regularly held up as examples of engaging storytelling as well as good gameplay.

Re:One could just as well ask... (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015082)

I'd add Max Payne into that list too. Definitely one of better "storyline in gaming" shooters I've played.

Re:One could just as well ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016110)

game was crap through. linear with the added repetative bullet time thing. come to a corner - dive in bullet time. repeat ad nausem.

Re:One could just as well ask... (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015142)

Weird, because I seem to recall KOTOR 2 being held up as an example of a game who had its story brutually riped apart so it could be shipped earlier.

Re:One could just as well ask... (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015176)

Ah, thanks for clearing up that bit about KOTOR 2. Would I be correct in assuming that the first was not subject to such 'surgery'?

Still mindless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18014748)

The guy thinks the game "story" is mindless drivel, so he adds in left-wing conspiracy theories and pedestrian moral ambiguity.

And that changes what, exactly?

Re:Still mindless (1)

Grant_Watson (312705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016682)

...he adds in left-wing conspiracy theories...

Actually, he seems to be making the game an allegory of sorts. Allegories can work well in games; American McGee's Alice did an amazing job, although the ending was pretty heavy handed, alas.

Left Wing? Conspiracy? (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019936)

How is this a "left-wing" conspiracy theory?

This sounds more like the ruby ridge / OK city "the government is out to get my guns and kill my family" conspiracy.. you know.. a far right wing nut-job invention.

Left wing conspiracy theories tend to be about crazy economic domination theories and Bush family members.

-GiH

Oh, God (0, Troll)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014764)

From no story to totally stupid story. Look, your game is based on aliens at Area 51. If you don't know how to search the internet for all juicy conspiracy theories that kept the kooks enthralled for the 90s then you shouldn't be making this game.

Here's a good place to start: http://www.crank.net/usenet.html [crank.net]

Swi

What an original concept! (0, Offtopic)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014808)

Secret Military Project Goes Bad And Now You Must Clean It Up!

Yeah, I've never heard of that concept before. Very original. That's bound to add a lot of depth to the game.

On-Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18018754)

Oh WOW!

Yet Another First-Person-Shooter!

Let me guess:
Guys running around with guns, shooting other guys running around with guns.

'F'n Brilliant!' So original. NOT.

Anyone,
and I mean Anyone?
Got an original idea for a computer game that doesn't involve blowing stuff up and killing?

Just wondering...

Anyone?

There's this game that I like... (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014820)

With apologies to South Park...

"There's the girl that I like....
Now it appears that she likes another guy...
it must be because he's political and stuff....
I bet I can be political too!"

This is just like... (-1, Troll)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014834)

This is just like someone who really REALLY wanted a girl child having a boy, then at age 2 you see the boy running around in pink frilly dresses....

If you want a thinking mans political game with good FPS shoot em up action write it.

If you get put in charge of a "hunt down the bad aliens and kill them dead game" write that.

This is a case where I don't think the peanut butter and chocolate will taste great together.

Of course there is. (4, Interesting)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014854)

Is there room for politics in gaming, or do you just want to shoot stuff?

Is there room for politics in art, or do you just want to listen/watch/taste/sense it?

Of course there is place for politics in gaming: It's not as if there -haven't- been any 'political' games around yet, some might be more upfront about it (random example: www.powerpolitics.us), while others still give out a political message, but are very clever in hiding it (see americasarmy.com).

For myself, I don't mind if a game has 'politics' in it: But I think that the game from the article is a lame attempt at trying to intermix all the popular elements of today, together with some hot mix of controversial sauce. Trying to pass it off as anything more than that, is ridicilous.

Re:Of course there is. (1)

witte (681163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015192)

(Sorry, I feel a bit pedantic today.)

A lot, if not most, of the FPS games I played over the past 10+ years had the player running around as an American/Allied soldier, shooting and blowing up Germans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Iraqi, ... you name it.
How is that not political?

Imagine a German game producer making a FPS game where you get to kill American soldiers. I'm pretty sure it would never be sold in the States because of political sensitivities :)

Re:Of course there is. (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015566)

Sorry, I feel a bit pedantic today.

Nah, you're right: They're definitely political too, and I've always been amazed at how much slack other (violent) games received, while the WWII games seem to be spared, as "hey, you are fighting nazis, so what's wrong with that?".

The reason why I mentioned Americas Army was because of them excluding the possibility of using the 'bad' side: As it's only multiplayer, two teams are opposing eachother but both, from their POV, are the Americans... One could of course reason that I shouldn't be expecting more from a game named "AMERICAS Army", but together with the overall propaganda of the game, it has been a game that has bothered me for some time.

Re:Of course there is. (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017402)

The reason why I mentioned Americas Army was because of them excluding the possibility of using the 'bad' side: As it's only multiplayer, two teams are opposing eachother but both, from their POV, are the Americans... One could of course reason that I shouldn't be expecting more from a game named "AMERICAS Army", but together with the overall propaganda of the game, it has been a game that has bothered me for some time.

The public release of "America's Army" was primarily as a recruitment tool, or at least an experiment of one. This postion forced certain design decisions. All of this was announced when the game was launched.

If, for example, Honda funded, developed, and gave away a new driving game that explored novel gameplay avenues and was a moderate success, would you be bothered because you could only drive Hondas in the game, or would you just accept the game for what it was: a glossy brochure with good replay value?

Re:Of course there is. (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18026120)

Hey, as said: I accept it (America's Army) for what it is, but that doesn't have to make me ignore my feelings towards those aspects mentioned.

I've played several games build on advertising a certain product/service and I don't get bothered by it at all: As you mentioned, I am aware it's meant as a commercial, but if gameplay rocks it doesn't really matter what assets they are putting in.

I just think that AA is taking it one step further and is using the medium as an(excellent) propaganda tool: The thought that some people actually get affected by this is imo a lot worse than buying a Coke after playing a coke-sponsored game.

Off topic-ish, but interested: Where can I find the Honda game you're speaking of? And did you do this for an advertising agency, or did you step up to Honda and asked them for some funding?
The reason I'm asking is that I am quite far in the development of a (GPL-ed) game, and I am currently looking at the several options available (in-game advertising being one of them).

Re:Of course there is. (1)

witte (681163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18028808)

Hmmm. I think I misunderstood your original post :-)
My mistake !

I will read the parent post with more care before replying.
I will read the parent post with more care before replying.
I will read the parent post with more care before replying.
etc.


Cheers

Lame question... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015312)

Even if I just want to shoot stuff I can still acknowledge there is room for politics in gaming.

My own personal opinion is that games are too large of a time commitment to support politics. Sure, if the message is easily ignored and does not affect enjoyment of the game, no problem. But games are longer than movies by a factor of 15x or more, so... If the game is the equivalent of Fahrenheit 9/11, forget it. I'll sit for two hours watching a political movie in order to challenge or reaffirm my own views, but a 30+hour game? No thanks, even if it agrees with my politics.

So, basically, yes, there is room for politics in gaming. But, just like movies, the politics can have an affect on your demographic and sales. Unlike with movies, I don't fall into the 'political' demographic for games and I seriously doubt most other people do either.

Shoot stuff. Sorry. (3, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014866)

Is there room for politics in gaming, or do you just want to shoot stuff?


Shoot stuff. Sorry.

In real life, I'm a left-leaning SOB, but I completely enjoy smacking people over the head with a hammer and jacking their ambulances in GTA. I also enjoy squashing other cultures under my heel in any number of RTS games and generally being a dick in MMORPGs. Do you know why? Of course you do: it's not real.

Is this new game really political? I'm not sure. Remember in Warcraft III you had all these random "stories" behind why battle 1 is humans vs. humans, battle 2 is humans vs. elves, etc.? I think what this guy's done is similar to that rather than being political.

If you want political treatment, write a sim where you're an arms contractor and you need to pay off your local congresspeople in a legal or at least hidden way. Or, write a sim where you get send to a base in Cuba with no hope for escape, rescue or legal representation. There's plenty of dirt to really dig into without making up crap about spec.ops. vs. spec.ops.

Re:Shoot stuff. Sorry. (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015438)

If you want political treatment, write a sim where you're an arms contractor and you need to pay off your local congresspeople in a legal or at least hidden way. Or, write a sim where you get send to a base in Cuba with no hope for escape, rescue or legal representation. There's plenty of dirt to really dig into without making up crap about spec.ops. vs. spec.ops.

Nah, by writing the spec.ops. vs. spec.ops. the general public gets paranoid and thinks of that movie Enemy of the State. When they look for that, they don't find it. All the issues that you state, make a boring game so they won't play that or blow those issues off as they know that the government only engages in spec.ops. vs. spec.ops warfare with itself and that's obviously not going on so everything is perfectly normal except for those few crazies. Sort of makies you think of MegaTokyo and how Largo views all the scifi stuff going on in the background while to Piro and almost every other major character its just a normal day. We don't see the government acting badly out in public so those that scream at the top of their lungs that some thing is wrong that Miho is the zombie queen are looked at like absolutely crazy people and ignored.

I think what would make a great game would be to start off with something like SimCity or the Sims as a backdrop and everything is normal except for your team of either magic users, super heroes, scifi hightech good guys, or covert gov. looking out for the bad guys. You raid random Sim's home for evidence that they are an "evil" doer however you define "evil" be it drinking, drugs, alien contacts, terrorist contacts, unlicensed magical use, being a general villian, or just being someone our team doesn't like today. I guess some one could make Police Sate the game and see how people like playing as Nazis or KGB agents. Nah, that's predictable. Police State the game with legit terror, disease, alien, and anti-government targets to search out and destory. Don't ask why that guy was a terrorist or bad guy, you are just in the swat team and taking his whole family out and take it as a given that he was a bad guy.

Re:Shoot stuff. Sorry. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015484)

Shoot stuff. Sorry.

Does that mean you're opposed to political content in videogames when it doesn't interfere with shooting stuff?

In real life, I'm a left-leaning SOB, but I completely enjoy smacking people over the head with a hammer and jacking their ambulances in GTA. I also enjoy squashing other cultures under my heel in any number of RTS games and generally being a dick in MMORPGs. Do you know why? Of course you do: it's not real.

Yeah, werd to that. Like just about everyone else's my girlfriend hates GTA. Says she's worried about me.

But of course you realize that the GTA games are themselves political statements, right? And I'm not talking about the freedom of speech issue of getting the game out in the first place. I'm talking about the world you can see that (for example) Carl lives in in GTA:SA. Now THAT is a political statement...

Splinter stuff. Sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18017300)

"If you want political treatment, write a sim where you're an arms contractor and you need to pay off your local congresspeople in a legal or at least hidden way. Or, write a sim where you get send to a base in Cuba with no hope for escape, rescue or legal representation. There's plenty of dirt to really dig into without making up crap about spec.ops. vs. spec.ops."

Or you could play the latest splinter cell, torn between two organizations. One good, one bad, but the answer isn't as simple as taking sides.

Re:Shoot stuff. Sorry. (0, Flamebait)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017740)

generally being a dick in MMORPGs. Do you know why? Of course you do: it's not real.

Umm, no. Those people you're being a dick to *are* real. You are aware that MMORPGs aren't entirely populated by AI characters, right? Maybe you lack the empathy to understand when you're causing grief to someone who you can't see, but that doesn't make you any less of a tool.

--Jeremy

At the scene of a crash... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014930)

Guy 1: What a crash.

Guy 2: Hey! You got political viewpoints in my video game!

Guy 1: You got video games in my political viewpoint!

Both: Eeew.

Really, who cares? Area 51 was about shooting aliens. So the new one is shooting rogue agents. It doesn't matter if it's that or terrorists or what. How many people do you REALLY think this game is going to make stop and think "Wow, our government's actions could have serious implications in the future." It's a simple shoot-em-up. It's not going to happen.

Get over yourself. A shoot-em-up is not a genre that makes getting a viewpoint across easy or natural (like an RPG or even FPS might).

Flashback (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014980)

I for one was hugely offended and disgusted when the mayor told me "My dear Mr. Firefly, we are at war with the SPANISH." [wikipedia.org]

FPS gamers can care less (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015036)

Release the game with state-of-the-art graphics, a few unique gameplay elements, and quality online/multiplayer elements and you will be a success.

99% of the people purchasing this game will not pay attention to (or care about) the politics.

Oh my..! (1)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015076)

Has Slashdot really got to the point where we use that "Wonderfully reliable for accuracy" news network MTV? Give me a break. There doesn't need to be politics in video games unless it has an Adult only ESRB rating. We don't want to be indoctrinating our children with a "reason" to kill. I think killing just for killing is good enough.

Sounds pretty one-sided (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015126)

Yes, even though he claims there are some Republicans around the office, there's no doubt where his sympathies lay.

However, I'd hope that this isn't just a one-sided treatment. It sounds interesting, certainly more thoughtful than killing 1000 more ghosts/vampires/terrorists/bad guys of whatever sort.

His comment "'Wait, what if they are terrorists we helped create? What if the people supporting us in our fight against the terrorists aren't completely clean either? What if they're sending us after them now, but what if 10 years ago it was safe for them to create them?' ... So what we have in 'BlackSite' is a delta-force assassination squad hunting down and killing members of an Army training program."

What one can't see - and what then allows the most ridiculous Monday-morning quarterbacking - what WOULD have happened, if that decision hadn't been made 10 years ago? That's what I'd like to see.

In real life, it's rarely 'good choices' vs 'bad choices' - that's the sort of Manichaean superficial crap that all games are built on. Sometimes it's bad choice vs worse choice, or bad choice now vs bad choice later. In their new game, the first time someone cries "why did they create this unit in the first place?" do you get a flashback of what life would have been like if they hadn't been created? It's conceivable that the unhappy current situation - BlackSite hunting down members of this Army-created team - is still the BEST possible outcome.

How about giving the player other moral/ethical dilemmas - they have to decide if they are going to shoot through a crowd of children to kill the insane guy with an automatic weapon approaching the playground? And then have it turn out that the guy has no more ammunition, so the local police, politicians, and newspeople can second guess the player until he dies?

New Video Game Explores Rich Inner Life of Aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015138)

reminds me of the Onion article entitled "New Archie Graphic Novel Explores Rich Inner Life Of Jughead"

So... (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015200)

So on American soil, Americans are fighting Americans, basically."

Ah. A Civil War sim.

Area 52.... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015232)

the logical sequel, has become yet another game industry conquered by Blizzard...

Everything Old IS new again! (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015328)

Politics and gaming? No, this is more like politics and politics-- the near-forgotten scandals of Reagan's Iran-Contra shenanigans, mated to more recent rumblings about class-based conflicts and paranoid militias. Really, the only thing that this guy's done is replace the usual lousy hodge-podge of space-alien myths with slightly more down-to-earth conspiracy theories.

You're shooting at American soldiers. Ooh, edgy. It's not like we haven't been gunning virtual marines down since Half-Life.

So we have Ex-Mexican soldiers, so what. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015410)

"aliens become poor American citizens put in harm's way."

This is Area 51 people.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015430)

Seiously I found these games mildly entertaining in an arcade somewhere about 7 years ago. Shoot anything that moves except your team members and insert quarters until you beat it. Once your done playing it, I doubt anyone gave it a second thought.

Now that I'm older, storylines mean so much more because now that I'm no longer young enough just to play enything in front of me. HL2 was incredible mainly cause they came up with a great original storyline along with a great play mechanic. I wanted to play cause it was a solid game. I wanted to KEEP playing cause the storyline was great.

Area 51 has had and apparently still has a horrible 1 dimensional storyline. It ranks up there with that horrible Aerosmith Revolution game. Why it ever became a series that needs careful development, I will never know.

'nuff said? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015628)

Is there room for politics in gaming, or do you just want to shoot stuff?
America's Army
'nuff said?

I'm fine with politics. (1)

MaXimillion (856525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016034)

Shooting stuff is fun. If I get to shoot americans, that's even better :p

wasn't all of this done with "destroy all humans"? (2, Informative)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016572)

in the first one you are an alien in the 50's fighting traveling across america fighting police, soldiers, and "men in black" agents called majestic. the game is full of sarcasm about how cold war americans in the "golden age" were all secretly gay, or on drugs, or worse.

in the second one you are an alien in the 60's fighting the KGB for world domination in america, britain, japan, and russia. the game is full of jokes about cultural stereotypes.

in both games, the governments hate you and want to destroy you, but harvest your technology and stuff to use against you and their enemies.

first post!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016820)

first post!!

"what if they are terrorists we helped create?" (1, Flamebait)

Mc_Anthony (181237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017346)

Hasn't Michael Moore been saying that all along? Honestly, this guys sounds like another leftist moonbat to me.

As an admitted Hideo Kojima fanboy... :P (1)

Speck'sBacon (1042490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18017420)

I have to say that political or socially conscious messages in video games aren't new. The whole Metal Gear Solid mythos (and Kojima's other games like Zone of the Enders) deal with everything from the threat of nuclear proliferation, to censorship, to the futility and tragedy of war, to how the allies of today can become the enemies of tomorrow and vice versa. Some of the themes are a bit too blatant for my tastes (though that may be a function of the translation from Japanese to Western culture), but I still think they added depth to the story, and help make MGS a classic. To hear the description of this story idea, I think the writer may be barking up the wrong tree if he's going to take such a blatant "blame America for terrorism" tack. It's one thing to express your opinion in a story, but I tend to prefer art that's left up to interpretation (which I think the MGS games did, even as they made clear Kojima's perspective).

That's great but (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018750)

this plot line has been used so many times it's got stretch marks.

Politics has been in games since at least 1990 (2, Informative)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018962)

Ultima 6 is a prime example. That fictional universe was probably a prime reason in me becoming pro-multicultural at the time. Looking back on it, the propaganda aspects are obvious.

All these Gargoyles have invaded Britannia. You start off killing them, encouraged by your king, Lord British. Of course, part way through you discover that they are only coming through to your world because their world is falling into a void and they need you to rectify it. And they aren't evil, they in fact mean you no harm and are a very cultured and learned race. As an added bonus, you will pick up a gargoyle character who has better stats than anyone in the entire game. And of course, the only way you can finish the game is to help them out. (I'm somewhat surprised that the game didn't have you lobby Lord British to give amnesty for undocumented Gargoyles or go on a quest to get the local bards to put on a Live Aid show.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_6 [wikipedia.org]

As the audience in games has grown larger and recognition has dawned on people that you can buy tens to hundreds of hours of influence with a game compared to 2 hours with a movie, it's no accident that anyone with the desire to manipulate public opinion and the means to create video games decides who is cast as villain or hero in games, what the quests shall be, and what assumptions will be challenged by the protagonist in the game.

Propaganda in art is as old as art itself. I'm not sure why this is news.

all one big excuse... (1)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019552)

"... aliens become poor American citizens put in harm's way."

Is it just me or does this sound like an elaborate excuse?
(Let's skip making aliens and just release another run-of-the-mill fps...humans killing humans, but we'll call it 'Area 51!!!'

"X-Files" should sue (1)

80 85 83 83 89 33 (819873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021082)

and politics in gaming? anyone heard of metal gear solid? sons of liberty?

oh yeah, this guy is breaking new ground. Not.

Just Politics? (1)

Lawn Jocke (1064716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18034852)

Previous posts have mentioned that a political spin on a game can make it a propaganda of sorts, and hence, damages the integrity of gaming. But, moral and ethical choices have appeared in games (KOTOR was used as an example) and those too are propaganda. Just because a game says something doesn't make it evil. Someone said earlier that when the game "asks a question" it retains its integrity, but when it tries to "force an answer," it destroys what it set out to do. If games take a more "applicable to life" stance content-wise with the intent of making people think and confront issues, as opposed to making people take their side, then there is a great potential for success. Its a fine line, yes, but games, like all other forms of media, can be used to open peoples eyes. If gamemakers set out with this purpose, they have my approval.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?