Talking About Games: “This Is Not a Political Statement”

Building on the last essay about the role of politics in video games, this essay will engage in a case study of how the idea that a game is not political often falls apart. Instead of trying to build a wall, it is better for us to tear that wall apart to be able to talk more honestly about how art/entertainment and politics are connected.

Talking About Games: Video Games and Politics

Video games have often been the subject of political controversies, and one such controversy is that they should “stay out” of politics entirely. People often want video games to just be about entertainment and nothing more. However, that argument misunderstands how both politics and entertainment work. In this essay I’ll explore the meaning of “politics” and how video games fit into political discussion.

Talking About Games: Categories

One thing we rely on when we talk about games is categories: those little boxes that tell us what genre a game belongs to. And yet, those categories are often vague or messy, and can lead to a lot of (often silly) debates. So in this essay I will propose some broad ideas about what categories are for and how we might rethink our use of them.

The “Choose Your Ending” Problem

Video games often allow you to choose how you want the game to end, often by quite literally asking you which ending you want. But presenting stories in this way is ultimately counterproductive. In this essay, I’ll explore the idea of how asking players to pick the ending they want generally undermines the ultimately purpose of both storytelling and interaction.

Moral Choices: The (Un)Ethics of Crunch

Crunch is an aspect of video game development that has been gaining attention in recent years. And for those who are aware of what it is, it’s horrific to even read about. In this essay I take a deeper dive to examine crunch through the lens of moral philosophy to help put into broader terms just exactly why crunch is wrong.