Essay: Video Games: a form of Media or a Liberal Tool?
Video Games: A form of Media, or a Liberal Tool?
An Essay by Mark Andrew Harris MHarris
From its invention, Video Games have been a means in which to entertain people like the Radio and Television before it. From the moment when the first 'beep' and 'boop' came from the televisions of homes everywhere, people have challenged themselves and others in matches of skill and wit. As time passed and the computers powering the games grew more powerful, stories started to get woven into the entertainment as players took up the roles of soldiers, knights, merchants, bards, other people, animals and even gods to fill their time and find entertainment. Though the longer people have played video games (gamed) the more questions raised about the effect on the Gamers in question. Specifically, if the games aren't trying to infuse Liberal ideas into the players. I will be addressing and with any luck, putting those doubts in their place.
- What I want to do before I began is lay out two facts so I won't have to repeat them for each issue.
- They are just games.
- They are works of Fiction.
The first thing I want to address the attacks that because God (specifically the Christian/Jewish God) Is not included in the games, the games are trying to promote Atheism or at least demote Christianity or more so attempting to promote paganism. A lot of games don't include God as a major figure, only have God as a minor figure, or have different gods. This is mainly because God is ether hard to include effectively in the games or because the inclusion of God is not such a need as to warrant it. Looking at the Call of Duty games for one, to have a Chaplin fighting along soldiers is not going to help the player, nor is it true in history that they would be everywhere a soldier is.
In the case of supposedly promoting paganism, the critics point to fantasy games such as Pokémon which have beings that are classified as 'gods'. (There is the evolution issue, but that shall be handled later on) What should be noted is that these 'gods' are capture-able like other Pokémon and also are defeat-able, their godlike status is just because of how powerful they are. Several other games use multilevel gods because of how they can be used to grant different abilities. It is a function of the game, not an attempt to promote paganism.
Another game that raised a lot of questions about Gaming's ideas for or against Christianity and monotheism in general is the game Black & White and others like it were you play as a god. This writer wonders how such a game can do so. The player is a new born god brought to life by a prayer. From then on, they can choose to do good acts or evil ones as guided by their advisers, an old man on a cloud representative of Good, and a nude devil representing Evil. From an outsiders perspective, this might seem like a very anti-God game. A man putting themselves on the same level as God? Preposterous! But players instead find little of putting themselves on the same line as God. They haven't made the people they are guiding, they aren't able to do things just by thinking it, they have to rely on the beings they are guiding to give them power to do anything worthwhile.
I conclude by pointing to many other works of fiction outside of Video Games that don't include God in anyway and a lack of any solid proof that they games directly made people turn away from their beliefs. Video Games are a form of media like computers, television or radio that is used to entertain people and if the developers and producers can see a profit or a good reason to promote Christianity, then they will.
Promoter of Liberalism?
A few relitively new claims that I have been hearing is that Video Games are promoting a Liberal agenda, or at least is anti-Conservative. The bases of these claims are build, rather weakly, on how violent video games have become. With a person being able to chainsaw a monster in half with blood coating the screen, horror games that have detailed death sequences for the characters and more. I can understand were a misunderstanding can come from. But that is exactly what it is, a misunderstanding. The number of games that show these traits are few and far between but it is because we are so fearful of these traits in video games (an conveniently, not in movies or TV) that they get headline news. I will address some of the major players so I can explain them the best I can.
Violence being the main feature in games have raised a lot of eyebrows of parents. Games like Grand Thief Auto were you play as a criminal in some form, Gears of War were as I said above you can chainsaw a beast in half, and Modern Warfare that had a stage that includes gunning down people in an airport to try and pass off as a terrorist had not helped. But with each violent game that exists there is another that is good and clean. To use a classic Conservative phrase: "Don't punish the whole for the failure of the individual." If these games are found troubling to an individual than it is the individuals responsibly to speak against the game individually. Not all games are violent.
Sex in Video Games is no worse than sex in movies, books or TV. The only difference is that, besides that Gaming is a young industry, you actually can control when and if it happens, rather than if you watch or read it. This issue got the limelight with the Hot Coffee Mod first appeared in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The mod opened up a secret, unfinished minigame that was very explicit. Although Rockstar trys to play it off as hackers re-writing some code in the game, when it happened on the PlayStation the excuse lost base. What most likely happened was that during development, the makers were ether having some fun or perhaps it was done without Rockstar's knowledge. Such things are not uncommon but it is when the sex is knowingly applyed in game, such as Mass Effect, that things get a bit harder to explain. Unless you are clear minded enough to see that such a tame sex scene is not even worth noting. You can easily view it on YouTube and it is safe for work in my option. Before people attack video games for being so sexual, maybe they should look at their favorite TV shows and Movies.
Direct Liberalism in this writers option does NOT exist in Video Games, it has never been done before and I doubt it will be done in the future. There is no game were the goal is to get free money to lazy people by taxing hardworking people. There is no game were you free people from the freedom of their republic. There is no game were you destroy an economy, kill an entire race of people, or enslave others and it be a good thing! Excluding of course the games were you play a naturally evil or dark character. Though if an evil character did those thoughts, it wouldn't be supporting Liberalism, would it?
(Next up, games that can teach Conservatism.)