Rise of Trump, global unrest mean even video games becoming political

(Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

And, he says, it’s about time games took on more political themes. For instance, in Mafia 3, you can assume the identify of an African-American Vietnam veteran who’s forced to confront racism in the course of his missions. Malaise around the globe
But Far Cry 5’s producer, Dan Hay of Toronto, says his game was informed by the recent malaise he was seeing across the globe. One of the biggest surprises so far, he says, is the game he’s playing now: Far Cry 5, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Elise Favis, an associate editor at Game Informer Magazine, says the 2016 U.S. In Trump Simulator VR, you “help Donald get ready for his big day” by doing things like shredding tax returns and feeding his Twitter addiction. In Mr. President Donald Trump in Trump Simulator VR, which allows you to ‘shred tax documents’ and ‘feed Twitter addiction.’ (The Family Collective)

Favis says the explosion of Trump-themed games may have come about because most game developers are fairly liberal. But as she explored this year’s E3 showroom, she noticed a growing number of titles are brushing against the video game industry’s traditional third rail: politics. “Will I buy it?” he asks. We didn’t know it was going to happen but it’s strange sometimes to hear echoing of some of the stuff that we’re talking about in the game happening in the real world.” 

The hero of Mafia 3 is an African-American Vietnam vet who confronts racism. Far Cry 5 is set in the fictional Hope County, Mont., and pits the gamer against a Christian extremist and separatist preacher. “Pretty awesome,” he says before putting his headphones back on and looking for more white separatists to pummel. 
Franklin is among more than 68,000 who attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, North America’s biggest video game showcase. “Maybe the election was also a bit of a wake-up call for some,” Favis says. President, you protect a president named “Ronald Rump” from assassination. He was taken aback by the political tone of the game, which is set in the fictional Hope County, Mont., and pits the gamer against a Christian extremist and separatist preacher. Now, he has surprised himself with how much his game reflects an element of today’s zeitgeist. “Politics have been ingrained in art for a long time, and video games are no different from that. “I’ll probably borrow it from a friend.” “I think it’s actually something that’s needed,” he says. But as a devout Christian, he was a little offended by the religious zealotry of the game’s arch villain. We want people to smile and have fun when they play our game.”

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Are video games the key to world peace? “The result of this election was a lot of people felt like they didn’t have a voice.”

This year, bigger developers are also injecting more reality into their fantasy. Ubisoft Montreal’s Dan Hay, who produced Far Cry 5, says it’s ‘creepy’ how much the game echoes reality. “Nintendo believes in having fun,” says Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. The world, he says, was interesting, the game-play was exciting. President Donald Trump, or, if you prefer, attack him. He died quickly and violently: a shotgun blast at the hands of Christian extremists. But luckily he still had 10 minutes left on his video game demo. (2K Games)

This politically charged content means some video game reviewers like Jesse Hennessey, editor of Engaged Family Gaming, say they’ll have to add a third category to their reviews: sex, violence and now politics. “If people want that politicization of their games, people will vote with their dollars,” Wolfgram says. “That’s spooky,” Hay says. presidential election may have been a turning point for some game developers who felt politically disenfranchised. “We don’t have a crystal ball. Racial divisions and a rise in hate crimes are, to some observers, symbolically reflected in Wolfenstein 2, where the gamer can stop Nazis from collaborating with the Ku Klux Klan to take over the United States. “Watching the language change from ‘us’ being the global village to ‘us and them,’ and watching what happened with Brexit,” Hay says. Most of these new mainstream games were in development several years before the 2016 U.S. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Nintendo, for instance, won’t touch politics with a 10-foot Super Mario hammer. election. “The game might be fantastic but then they’re going to hate it because you put something in there about global warming or some other junk that they don’t agree with,” Hennessey says. “If you have games that are touching on real-life topics, it just brings it back to being relatable and it opens minds and starts conversations.”

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Those conversations have been sorely lacking until now, says Game Informer associate editor and Montreal native Elise Favis. But according to William Wolfgram, a gaming enthusiast who travelled from Minnestota to attend E3, the two need not be mutually exclusive. Jeff Franklin didn’t see it coming. With technology increasingly blurring the line between the virtual and real, it’s not surprising if the games themselves are creating villains and heroes that more directly reflect elements of the current political climate. “Making political statements are for other people to do. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“We’re definitely seeing more of an interest from developers,” she says. “If you come across as basically preaching your political agenda, you’re going to alienate everybody who doesn’t agree with you.”

And that’s what makes politics a dangerous game: big developers have a lot to lose if enough of their audience identifies with the villains. The title of TrumPinata is fairly self-explanatory. 

You can become U.S. So I’m really excited to see a lot more activist and thoughtful games come out.”

There’s a slew of smaller, independent games that allow you to be U.S. On his second time around, he got his revenge using a baseball bat the colour of the American flag. “If something is interesting enough, I’ll give it a look.”
As for Far Cry 5, he’s on the fence.