Keep Your Politics Out Of Our Video Games: An Opinion and Discussion Video



game game

Chrono.GG ► https://Chrono.GG/SidAlpha
Ko-Fi ► https://ko-fi.com/sidalpha
Paypal ► https://www.paypal.me/SidAlpha
Twitter ► https://twitter.com/SidAlpha
This is a discussion video focusing on my opinion of the topic “Keep your politics out of our video games” and the common misconceptions that I have seen regarding the topic.

Join the conversation on Discord! https://discord.gg/8rAgQtc
Outro music by Kenneth Hynes. Listen to the full song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjc1tqt8WFY and don’t forget to drop him a comment telling him I sent you and reminding him of his pure unadulterated awesomeness!

SidAlpha Web links:
Steam Curator Page ► http://steamcommunity.com/groups/SidAlpha#curation
Submissions email ► submissions@sidalpha.com
Twitch ► https://twitch.tv/Sid_Alpha
Twitter ► https://twitter.com/SidAlpha
Facebook ► https://facebook.com/IamSidAlpha
Reddit ► https://reddit.com/r/sidalpha
Paypal ► https://www.paypal.me/SidAlpha ID: 9YXAdbrPMmxaxU54bwqhrFHtqt3fAH5T

source

45 Comments
  1. Andrew Moore says

    That tetris game was so frustrating to watch lmao

  2. MyriDog says

    It's real interesting you use Tetris as your argument. Yeah a game from 1984 doesn't have any theming or storytelling, but I originally played it on the Game Boy, as in the original game boy, and they added cutscenes from the Space Race to it, and it culminated in a Buran Shuttle taking off and a bunch of tiny people dancing. Literally as soon as they could add story in they did, and it made what could be read as a political statement. The game box even said "From Russia with Fun!" on it. I remember all this because I was 6, and it was part of what lead to my love of space travel, and also my first talk of politics with my father. I literally asked, "Dad, what is a Soviet?"

    Beyond that, the development, distribution, and rights of the game are deeply entwined with the politics of the age, and I don't think its possible to consider the game's rise in popularity while ignoring the context of it's creation. Your own videos aren't just reviews of actual gameplay. Your videos are commentaries on developers and game development. Isn't it disingenuous of you to ask us to ignore all that for Tetris?

    It's also strange that you go to Mass Effect Andromeda as an example of "Forced Inclusivity." Everything about that game was forced, awkward, and poorly handled. The entire game was unnecessary, and even a cursory viewing of the product could tell you it wasn't handled expertly on any level, technically or narratively. You're making an argument that the one character was bad because of that focus inclusivity, but it was just bad all over. There are dozens and dozens of characters in the Mass Effect franchise who just exist to define some bullet point in the world. In the first game you meet many characters who literally exist for a single quest, or even just a single box of dialogue, and their character is only there to explain one tiny facet of this huge cosmos Bioware created. What's so objectionable about one NPC going "Oh yeah trans people are free to be productive members of this mission"? How is that in some way worse than the Volus Ambassor in the first game was just there to create the message "Non-humans who aren't on the Council don't like how much attention humans get."

    A character is more than their sexuality or sexual identity, but you don't need to write those traits as entirely frivolous for every character in a narrative either. Even a game like Thomas Was Alone assigns genders to its characters, if for no other reason than the English language makes nongendered prose awkward. Why does the arbitrary assignment of gender to a character that is entirely digital only matter when it touches on transgenderism, or when a protagonist is female, or when a series allows a player to choose the gender of their player character?

    The problem is that none of this is really about politics, is it? It's about acceptance. Trying to frame this as a discussion of games pushing political agendas, or of games ruining their enjoyability by not writing certain traits about their characters as entirely mutable and insignificant is dodging the actual issue. Throwing a blanket over any message that promotes inclusivity of minorities of any type and saying "This is the bad political and I don't like it" is a weak excuse for people with their own agenda to make statements without admitting that they feel challenged by seeing those minorities included.

    I usually enjoy your videos but you spent 22 minutes saying nothing.

  3. MicShazam says

    "Keeping politics out of video games" will strongly diminish the argument that video games are art. Surely, it should be a medium where anything can happen. And then there's of course the fact that people who say "keep politics out of video games" never seem to mean their own politics. Maybe "keep explicit, clumsy preaching" out of video games is a better, more constructive idea.

  4. averyn34 says

    If you dont want games with politics in them play animal crossing or the sims or something. Almost all great stories and media forms have heavy political connotations and overtones

  5. Almark says

    When groups of people force a game dev to change something so that it fits their ideals, that's not artistic expression, that's coercion, and thanks to the power of social media, that reality is in our face.

  6. Katherine Goodwin says

    As a Trans women I debated commenting on this for a long time…I feel like your argument about only doing identity politics "if done right" falls short.
    1. I feel any representation of Trans characters is helpful towards normalizing us in gaming. Yes I feel it should be done right, but given they're so little Trans characters in games overall, I find it hard not to feel joy when we are even included. (regardless if it is virtue signaling or not)

    2. Unlike Avery Brooks I don't have the luxury to wake up as myself, I have to make extra effort just to be myself each and every day I wake up. ( Hormones, Make up, Etc..) So being Trans is a major characteristic for me, (Like Hainly Abrams) because I have to fight extra hard for my new identity in order to escape my old one, and I am not alone in this feeling.

    I like your work SidAlpha, you are deep and meticulous in your videos I hope overall you are person not oppressed to Trans identity references or politics in games. I hope, (if not now or already) know that the "If done right" argument limits Trans inclusion in video game spaces if only because its a lot easier just not to put us in games. I doubt you will see this, but I felt it was important to say something.

  7. T Dub says

    Politics in gaming should be simple: If it fits the world, story, and narrative of the game, include it. If it doesn't fit, and it's you shoehorning your personal beliefs into the game, back the fuck up and rethink your decision before making a choice you might regret. Done.

  8. Austin Neff says

    I play games to escape from things like politics please keep them out and stop being so sensitive people geez

  9. BigDog36 says

    Politics is like garlic a very tiny amount can make your dish a lot better, but put too much in and it's garbage. I am fine with small political change, like all of a sudden a game lets you pic an inter racial relationship, or heck same gender relationship or even a non binary gender. But when a company, [Looking at you Bungie] spends 20 minutes of a live stream that is about the future of it's game towards the whole George Floyd debacle, that isn't just using a pinch of garlic. That is using a whole metric ton of it! I don't know about my fellow gamers, but I play video games to escape the bullshit that is going on in this fucked up world! Not to have it shoved down my throat. Now that of course is just the opinion of this poor white male, so take it for what it's worth.

  10. megax5000 says

    i'm so glad you mentioned tetris because it's the perfect game that destroys your core argument of it being possible to have a non-political video game. after all, this was the game that was created in the soviet union, noted rival/enemy of the u.s. during that whole, cold war period.

  11. Jeffrey Warren II says

    (Opinion): Yeah, It seems to be all about the world view each individual live by. If it goes against that individuals world view, it triggers a Fight or Flight response. "Keep politics out my game" is just that response to "political" disagreements in real life. With that said, some major companies are taking advantage in using minorities and LGBT+ community to get dat cash money (Disney, I'm looking at you) and in those cases feel forced on (Example and to stick on Disney really quick: the Little Mermaid being black). For the most part, especially for video games, most instances its just artist/writer/director/etc… choice so really take it or leave it.

  12. Jonny says

    This is a rancid, bad take for a few reasons. When you read a book, watch a tv show, view a painting, etc. do you get a say in what's provided for you to consume? No. No one is "forcing" a player to do anything. This idea that lgbt+ characters should only exist in video games if you deem them interesting enough or "helpful" enough is not about a bunch of men curating their tastes in storytelling. The only reason it's political is because you think it's a political decision if these people/characters should exist. If that is the identity they have been given or someone has chosen, you don't get to decide if it's interesting enough and erase it for them because you don't like it. You can just say you have a huge fundamental issue with people having identities outside of what you think is acceptable and move on. If you want to say you didn't like how a character is written, you can say that, but lets be clear why there's an issue there, it's not politics, it's you. These are not YOUR video games, multiple writers wrote these characters, and entire teams of people made these games. If you don't like it, don't play it, but don't make a 22min of mental gymnastics and contrived attempts to sound logical when the bottom line is that you don't think you should have to "put up with" a world where different kinds of people exist.

  13. DragonAceSg7 says

    This is more eloquent than I've been able to express. Thank you.

  14. Trinal Galaxy says

    I would say that "Keep your politics out of our games/movies" is not covering the whole truth. I would say that it speaks to 3 concepts: Plot Driven Politics, Politics Driven Plot, and Politics for the SAKE of Politics.

    firstly let me start with that last one: politics for the sake of politics. this is pointlessly shoving one's politics into a game for no reason other than to have it there and tends to be what the useless waste of slime that make up the SJWs want to push into mediums they rarely consume.

    Plot driven politics are politics that form around and BECAUSE of the plot. these can be character and player driven, but can be something that happens regardless of what the player does. this type typically works well and is well received even when it is not done well.

    Politics driven plot takes the form of plot as the result of politics. typically this ends up being propaganda, but not always. When done well, this can form a good basis from which a game runs. it does cost player agency, but that cost may be minor depending on the style. I would even say that most games that fall into either plot driven or politics driven tend to do both at various points of the game.

    Take for instance the Arbiter's journey in Halo 2. you have the politics of the covenant COMBINED with the plot of CE that drives Vadamee into becoming the Arbiter. The politics then drive him to hunt the heretic leader (politics driven plot). when Chief kills Regret, this causes Truth to replace the elites as the body guards (combined) and drives the arbiter to find the Index. The politics then cause the Arbiter to be betrayed which causes the elites to incite civil war (plot drives politics drives plot drives politics). the plot sends the Arbiter to stop Delta from firing causes him to work with Johnson (RIP) to defeat Tartarus (…drives politics).

    it also DOESN'T need to be all in one story, for example the Star Wars prequels have politics drive the initial plot before the plot starts driving the politics. at the same time the politics DRIVE the larger plot that leads the the prequels into the original trilogy. in this instance, politics is driven by the plot of the individual movies, but their combined plot is driven by the politics (both caused by the plot AND coming from Lucas).

  15. veilen says

    There is a word for it. Propaganda. We don't want propaganda in games.

  16. Darkfireice says

    Tic tac toe, hide and seek, coin toss, solitaire, thumbs up, the silent game; what is the politics behind these games

  17. Hanki says

    People in the replies must be mentally challenged cuz they heard what they wanted to apparently

  18. Mike The Gamer says

    fuck me, Andromeda's character creator was awful. holy shit.

  19. Sebastian Rod says

    actually i dont give a shit about polotics in games if it have a reason in there soo in that case already we disagree (since your title is saying keep your politics out of our video games) if theres a reason behind it i really dont care to much becomes rather intresting… soo politics can add a bit more to the game…

    however we have to look at the climate of that bs today…. people are tired people are drained of it… i think atm we just whant something we can relax too and just have fun with…

  20. Zustom x says

    There is a thing that's I'm probably going to wrongly quote but, as soon as a media where it's a game, movie, book, art or even song it becomes the viewer how reads into the media, now i personally don't think that's a bad thing it is possible to read into all sorts of games after that is why they are now considered art because of the content. I'm not saying all games are political I'm saying people will read it how they want and that is a good thing. I was inspired to make games because i loved the intricacies of the worlds but the developers of those games never planned for there games to be read that way. Thanks, Sid love your content you make these conversations more civilized.

  21. Maya Doe says

    I mean, we wanna talk politics in video games, let's start with Call of Duty. Who the fuck's talking about the fact that we get, once a year, a video game that uncritically supports American military superiority? What about the politics of Hatred? Isn't that more important than like "weird person of the week wants recognition?" I mean I get it, I'm one of those weird people.

    From my perspective as a Trans/NB person, it feels like any time we're thrown even a small bone by any game, there has to be this big discussion about whether or not all this politics in our games is exclusionary. It's to the point where a trans person having like, two lines about being trans in a Baldur's Gate expansion made people lose their shit. Like…why so much distress lol. Just let us be, share your toys, and move on with your fuckin life

  22. CP Lassen says

    Look man, I watched this vid before and came back to it for a reason. This trend of bitching about what game developers, tv show runners, movie producers and comic book publishers are putting in their products is getting us nowhere. It's raging at the sky, no matter how you do it. The problem, ALL of the problem, is these companies are still making loads of money doing what they are doing. In other words, the consumers buying this crap are responsible for allowing this trend to continue. Entertainment companies will follow the path of least resistance to the most profit. The political harpies create MUCH more resistance than reasonable apolitical people could ever hope to provide in this regard. The only way this will ever change is unprofitability. Convincing normal people who might care about how and where to spend their money seems much more sensible to me than trying to convince profit-motivated corporations to change their tunes. Griping at multi-billion corporations is a colossal waste of time. Stop buying their garbage. That's literally the only way to change this state of affairs.

  23. InsaneFirebat says

    Three minutes in and this has gone nowhere.

  24. Alex Mercer says

    "Go for a walk outside"

    Hell no it's hot as hell outside right now

  25. Vindictator1972 says

    Politics for the games lore is fucking awesome, they can get absolutely as bananas as they want, look at the Just Cause series, or the Fallout Series, and I wanna say the division, though I have not played it so no real knowledge but it’s not rl.

    They work because you’re not fuciing with anything.

    Then look at Battlefield V. They placed real world politics from the current year into WW2, a war that, while it was somewhat current year political issues, sparked A LOT more problems and lost how many money?

    Mass effect also did it well. You could bang ALMOST anyone on your ship, no matter your shepherd. Characters that are political in making, but get fleshed out and are real people instead of just flat out: “my only reason for being is gay.” Kills all characters.

  26. Graeme Richmond says

    Why do game developers need to leave their personal political opinions out of their video games? I am a firm believer that video games are unequivocally a form of art, and as such, the creators of video games need to be able to share their beliefs with the world. Throughout history, there are countless examples of genre defining and culturally impactful masterpieces created from artists’ personal beliefs, such as Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, Picasso’s Massacre in Korea, and Orwell’s novel 1984. Without the artists’ political opinions, those creations, along with many others, would never have been produced, and the world would be a much duller place.

    Even if you don’t agree with the messages that these pieces of art convey, the passion and emotion evoked by each one cannot be surpassed, and they would be a shadow of themselves if the artists behind them did not use their chosen medium to share something that they truly believed in. These opinions need to be expressed, and if we are to consider video games to be more than simply entertainment, we need to welcome and embrace the opinions of those who pour their heart and soul into making video games. Yes, there will be games that push narratives that we are uncomfortable with or even offended by, but there will also be wonderful and beautiful pieces of art created in the medium that we all love, that we all get to experience. I personally think that is an amazing trade-off, and a necessary one for the growth of video games as a whole.

  27. SaltyChocolate says

    Enjoying battletech?

  28. Otaku Sage says

    People who say everything is political are typically pretentious cunts

  29. Winging It With Bleep says

    So basically if its something you agree with it, it's cool. But if you don't agree with it, its Forced Politics/Diversity. Got it.

    The truth of all this bullshit is right in your face. These issues are not new, the issues we are facing today were around before video games, it's amazing to me how "White Dudes" yep that's what you all seem to be, stop calling these idiots gamers, they do not represent the entire community although they think they do. They don't. Gamers are the most Diverse group of people in any community. I digress..
    It's amazing that all the videos made in this style are by the same type of person. An angry right adjacent white dude. This is true. It's a real thing, not just leftist propaganda. Look it up yourself try to find one of these videos by a black person, LGBT or straight woman. I guarantee the ratio is 10:1 white dudes. I know why this is happening too. as a straight black man I'm seeing all these game devs and companies starting to be more inclusive, its awesome for me cause I grew up in a world where every single superhero was white. Every video game lead was a white male. Now that inclusion is actually happening, we are seeing not only my people but LGBT, and Women are also getting more recognition.. this is a great thing, but guess who feels like the world is crashing down on top of em? Who feels like they are the ones that are oppressed now that the world doesn't treat them with the level of importance they think they somehow "deserve", now that the world is different the only people you see upset about the way things are is the white man. Nobody else is upset. Only you guys. Guess what.. nobody gives a fuck. Grow up.

  30. Kader PELEAU says

    Defending the status quo is a political posture. It seems to some there are only whites and "political" on the other side. Excluding minorities and women from your games is a political stance.

  31. fishtripper says

    actually I heard a women protester that said all Tetris players are rapist. Of course that confused me and she told/yelled that there are penis like blocks and you are trying to put it in a empty slot which is obviously a vagina, and the point of the game is to rape (the blocks I guess) for as long as you can. Those type of people can't be talked to, or even expect them to be civil. Btw she later said the creator should be hung for making a rape simulator.

  32. Erwin Murry says

    Civil debate and reasoned discourse…

    Nah man you are just missing the point

    I think you are a very boring guy who escapes into video games for the worst sort of reason, video games are art, not a pacifier. Art can challenge us sometimes and maybe this is by having more minority characters, OR it can be like Tetris simple shapey fun time.

    Your argument is immature and very narrow.

    Gamers rise up.
    One love

  33. sesom07 says

    KEEP YOUR POLIITICS OUT OF OUR:

    MOVIES
    SERIES

    BOOKS
    COMICS
    NEWSPAPERS
    TV
    PARLAMENT

    .
    .

    .
    YOUTUBE VIDEOS

    YOU ARE AN IDIOT

    There is a very simple solution, don't like what you get presented don't buy it. This constant complaining but still buying stuff you hate is IDIOTIC. But I know it's no option for this channel because outrage and hate sells very well, so ignoring that stuff and make it so not meaningfull is not possible.

  34. Namkcaws says

    FINALLY someone breaks this shit down & explains exactly what people mean by keeping it out of games (and it applies to ANY hobby)….of course, some of the loonier types won't even bother to listen anyway, but hopefully some people will actually fucking understand now.

    reads comments

    Or not….. sigh

  35. N.E.S. Merrill says

    "only thing I could find were historical games like civilization" yeah, good work there bud. First thing that popped into my head was modern warfare.

  36. Craig Snead says

    So Hainly Abrams is an example of identity politics because shes trans despite the fact that she begins her whole spiel by providing her background as head of scientific research and you only find out shes trans through a completely optional dialog choice while claiming that the main focal point is "they're trans". despite the fact that the focal point for Abrams is shes head of research for a whole fucking planet. Yet Steve Cortez isnt an example of this because he does other stuff like a supporting character should, as opposed to Hainly Abrams who is literally a one-off character that provides nothing but world building, as well as the fact that upon completion of one of the main missions, going down to the armory has Cortez at his console listening to a recording the player can hear which naturally entices them to see what it is, at which point it's revealed Cortez is gay. Asking a person why they came to a new galaxy and them answering "I wanted a completely new start as a completely new person" vs "This person has a recording that provides exposition that is playing as you enter the room" seems way more natural to me.

    There is so much more wrong with this video, but I'm not writing a fucking novel to explain every logically inconsistency in a 22 minute video

  37. Martijn Steinpatz says

    People who claim that everything is political seem to forget that our political system is an opt in, opt out system. We can choose to vote, to participate in politics or to join an activist group. Furthermore, we can choose to leave the latter two to chase non-political goals, and eventually to join them again. Our ordinary day to day activities are not political, which improves our personal lives because we don't have to walk on eggshells all the time.

    Case in point: The Cultural Revolution. This mass upheaval (caused by a power struggle between Mao Zedong and his political chiefs) was one giant political revival where everything was politically suspect. Every institution was damaged and rendered useless because of it. That created a system where people flocked to a strong man who could and would protect them. This caused a economic and cultural standstill which lasted for a decade and where millions were killed – and even more lives where ruined.

    This an extreme example, but I can easily point to companies (including one where I worked) that were hampered or even went bankrupt over politics. Not to mention freaking Twitter and Youtube these days.

    This is not a point against politics in games, merely a call for moderation. Bioshock thrives because of it's politics, but it puts their characters and humanity first. It doesn't rub your faces in it, insult their players for being a certain sex, race or sexual preference. That is happening too much on the Left these days – and that will backfire with very ugly results.

    (my apologies for the ramble – it's just one of those weeks where I wish everybody would just remain calm)

  38. CapitalDColen says

    Holy shit this video is unironically the "keep politics I don't agree with out, but the ones I like are okay"
    What a fucking meme.
    Gamers are such oversensitive triggered babies.

  39. CapitalDColen says

    Whenever I hear "keep your politics out of my games"
    I hear "keep women and minorities out of my games"

    Everything is political, its ridiculous to say don't have them in games.

  40. bloodymclane says

    Really enjoyed the video, thanks for this!

  41. sterling7 says

    I wasn't frustrated by Far Cry 5's lack of obvious political convictions. I was frustrated by its disregard for player agency with regard to making the player toe the line in following its plot. One might argue that that's what people frustrated with politics in games are actually decrying: games that, without warning, force them to play a part in which they have no say- whether it's a sounding board for dogma, a "hero" whose actiosn the player does not find heroic (even though the game thematically seems to), or the victim caught in a tragedy the player sees ways of avoiding but which the game itself offers them no way to act upon.

  42. Lord LunaEquie is me says

    I somewhat agree with you, but I think you've missed some of the point of the phrases you choose to disassemble.

  43. Athrun82 says

    Since you are playing Battletech let me Quote Victor Steiner-Davion from his diary during the Fed-Com civil war: "When Katherine used military power to quell the unrest we thought she had made the final mistake. But nothing happened. In the end it comes down to the old truth: everything is politics" I think the true art is how the politic is put into the game: if it is woven wihtin the Story like Dragon Age Origins or The Witcher then it fits and no one notices a thing. But shoe horn it into the game and it sticks out like a sore thumb. and it is not only Video games: movies, Comics and what not I often get the Impression that the writer work on a checklist to put some 'diversity' into their work.

  44. Gallen Dugall says

    they can put their politics in the games movies ect – I don't care
    Just don't use it as an excuse for a crap product

  45. Christopher Miller says

    You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    Games have become the biggest medium in the world. If they are an artistic expression due all the rights and freedoms associated with that status, then artists will AND SHOULD use that medium to convey their message. Art is very often a political beast, but only the most extremist voices get up in arms about political messages in books, movies, television, music, theater, or gallery art. It's the quality of the delivery which matters most, either a subtle and thought-provoking delivery or a hamfisted approach.

    Either games are a form of art and come with all that entails, including expression of opinions which you may not agree with, or they aren't art, and therefore are not worthy of legal protection from censorship and regulation of subject matter. There's no middle ground there.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.