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KHCast

The “keep politics out of games” complaint

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This honestly seems to be a very common “issue” I see gamers and youtubers bring up in the gaming community lately, and I gotta ask why. The recent topic I saw being discussed was Nintendo removing “trans rights” stages from the stage creator, to the applause of many gamers who found it too “political” and forcing of their political views. 

nintendo-super-smash-bros-ultimate-lgbt-

Whether or not nintendo is in the right to take them off isn’t really the point of discussion, I just thought I’d pull it up for a current example of what I’m talking about. 

Like I already find the complaint about identity politics and the mindset that they shouldn’t be topics of discussion in anything dumb(or that having a character of a minority status included in media automatically makes it a political thing), but politics in general seem to be a touchy subject when it comes to video games, and the line of what’s acceptable and not acceptable seems to be ever changing. One minute metal gear and it’s talk of nuclear war and war in generals effect on the people who are just pawns in the grander game between governments and their corruption is alright with little outcry, but the next, people are throwing fire at mortal Kombat for a ending having a certain character fix a certain historical thing. Let’s also not forget games like Persona which look at society in general and how we function for better or worse, or independent games that occasionally dabble on social issues. Do you think there’s such a thing as “too political” for games? Or should they be free to express and discuss whatever they see fit being an art form? What exactly is “political” in the sense of what people don’t want within games? 

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The only time I'd say a game is too political is when it touches upon a topic that is far too relevant. The best example I could give is a Trump game (you won't find many games about Brexit or whatever). 

Otherwise, it's social commentary, which is in every form of media. Books, movies, games, whatever, there are many stories which involve social commentary, making observations about us humans as a society. Metal Gear is a great example, as it has themes of anti-war that the series bases itself around, and made very shocking observations regarding the human memes. A while ago, I saw someone joke of people saying that Metal Gear would be considered "too political" if it added a female playable character, disregarding the already political nature of the series.

Regarding Smash, for as much as I too support trans rights, these stages do count as "too political" under my classifications.

 

I'm not good at talking about these kinds of things, but I hope I am understood.

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7 minutes ago, Polkadi~♪ said:

The only time I'd say a game is too political is when it touches upon a topic that is far too relevant. 

Hypothetically, does this include if a game narratively includes a trans character and they aren’t forced in? I feel like “it’s a current topic” is a bit too far reaching and broad and could harm certain pieces of work that simply include these characters or topics for the better of the narrative more than “its a current topic that’ll put us in the spotlight”.

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3 minutes ago, KHCast said:

Hypothetically, does this include if a game narratively includes a trans character and they aren’t forced in? I feel like “it’s a current topic” is a bit too far reaching and broad and could harm certain pieces of work that simply include these characters or topics for the better of the narrative more than “its a current topic that’ll put us in the spotlight”.

That does blur for me a little. I think it also depends on the subtlety of it. Like, if a character is trans, and that's it, whatever. If the transgender part is the main focus of the game, then it just depends for me. Most times, 9/10, it's a game that's just boring to play, with shallow gameplay (as games that cover identity politics unfortunately usually are).

It's very difficult to define in my eyes, there's a blurry line I can't make sense of. Maybe even I have made a fault when it comes to this argument, especially since I don't really look for these topics in a game.

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I think one of the major issues regarding Smash is that it's user generated content. Nintendo isn't taking any stance on trans-rights; they're just saying "keep your politics out of our games". I agree with that. The game doesn't have a political message to share, and it's a globally available product wherein the acceptance of and rights for trans people vary a lot. It's a messy situation that Nintendo simply doesn't want to get involved in. Also, I can't understand why people are always so intent on shilling these kinds of politics everywhere. Much as I support trans rights, there's a time and a place for everything. The latest Nintendo  fighting game isn't it. And that should apply to any sort of political or religious movement. Like you're gay? You're trans? You're Christian? I literally don't give a fuck. That has absolutely no bearing in whether or not we should be able to play this game together.

I was going to add more to this post, but wanted to keep it focused on  Smash for now. 

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I agree with the above, but there's something else that's also true: politics is everywhere. Society is inherently political, and it's not really good to avoid it when it's the basis of social and economic growth. However, there is such a thing that's too political or not relevant to the actual game, such as the Custom Stages above.

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Yes, I can agree with Diogenes. It may be the case that this issue arises because people simply don’t want to see certain things that do not fit their worldview. The uproar about women in games make this very apparent. Even I am at fault, for different reasons (games on current government environments drive me up the wall).

For me, the story is the last thing I look for in a game. I am a “gameplay first” kind of person. And from my experience, games that focus on particular parts of our society and centre the game around that topic, don’t make for fun or engaging games. From then on, the game’s story really needs to find a way to keep me hooked, or I drop it.

I realise it’s such a simple way of being, and I’m sorry if it hurts anyone in any way. I do my best to be open to many things, so I wish not to fall deep into this way of thinking. Diogenes is right, it does come down to personal worldview, and what one does and doesn’t want to see. PublicEnemy1 is also right, society is inherently political in it’s nature.

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It's certainly the case that a lot of the "keep politics out of gaming" arguments are made in bad faith, and might be more accurately worded as "keep your politics out of gaming".  I'd also suggest that a lot of what is described in such arguments as "political" only becomes so in the act of opposing it.  Is it political to be trans, gay, black, female?  The really scurrilous ulterior motive of such arguments is to make ordinary people's identities "political," in relation to a constructed "norm" of being male, white, straight, and cis, which is thus positioned as implicitly unpolitical and "safe"; and thus scare people and companies away from acknowledging other identities.

The Smash Bros. user-generated content case is a complex one.  By giving people the ability to freely create and exchange custom stages on a public platform, you can certainly argue that Nintendo's giving implicit permission for people to make any kind of expression that they want; the problem is that there are rules, but they're just as implicit.  In this case - and I am reasonably convinced that the situation would have been the same were it gay rights, black rights, women's rights, or anything else along those lines - there is an argument that the stages in question exist as statements first, and actual levels second.  If that's the case, it's within Nintendo's rights to treat them as such, if it wants its platform to be used as an exchange purely of levels and not of statements and opinions - no matter how much any of us may agree with those statements.  Is that a coherent ideology?  Not at the fringes, and Nintendo should probably have been explicit about it regardless, but for the most part I think there's an implicit understanding between Nintendo and its players of what kind of levels it's looking for - even if by keeping its exact rules and criteria secret, Nintendo is arguably allowing itself to have its cake and eat it.  Conversely, I think quite a few of the stages pictured in the opening post could slip by if they only had different names; present them as levels first, and it's much harder for Nintendo or indeed anyone else to construct an objection.

There's a counter-argument to the effect that Smash Bros. samples material from some highly political video game franchises, like Metal Gear and Persona; and thus the idea that politics can be kept out of Smash Bros. is at best a naive and at worst a disingenuous one.  I think it's a valid point, but I would question whether Smash Bros. is genuinely engaging with those games on a thematic level, or whether it's merely taking them on a surface level and adding toys to its toybox.  If it's the latter - well, you can criticise that approach, certainly, but I don't know if you can claim the game is being inconsistent overall.

Nintendo does by and large want its first-party games to be seen as innocent and uncontroversial escapism, and I don't think they're wrong for wanting to do so; but it's worth remembering that they've run into contested waters for this approach in the past.  When they were widely misinterpreted as having patched same-sex marriage options out of the western release of Tomodachi Life (it was actually a memory leak bug), they responded with an extremely naive statement that the game was not intended as "social commentary", and had to backpedal when people pointed out it was no less a social comment not to have them (more here).  Social norms have changed extremely rapidly in the past couple of decades, and personal identity has become hotly contested territory.  It may not be possible for Nintendo to sit on the fence.

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5 hours ago, Polkadi~♪ said:

The only time I'd say a game is too political is when it touches upon a topic that is far too relevant. The best example I could give is a Trump game (you won't find many games about Brexit or whatever). 

Otherwise, it's social commentary, which is in every form of media. Books, movies, games, whatever, there are many stories which involve social commentary, making observations about us humans as a society. Metal Gear is a great example, as it has themes of anti-war that the series bases itself around, and made very shocking observations regarding the human memes. A while ago, I saw someone joke of people saying that Metal Gear would be considered "too political" if it added a female playable character, disregarding the already political nature of the series.

Regarding Smash, for as much as I too support trans rights, these stages do count as "too political" under my classifications.

 

I'm not good at talking about these kinds of things, but I hope I am understood.

This is also how I feel about the subject.

The only thing I disagree with is the latter part. Being in support of human rights is not a political thing. It's basic human decency.

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I do think Nintendo deleting those stages is a LITTLE thorny.  Like, could you imagine them doing the same for a stage that is a recreation of a country's national flag that someone did out of patriotism?  I mean, Mario himself has a costume inspired by the USA's flag after all.  All the trans rights stages are doing is saying "I am proud of a thing" in the same way.  Politics is a sliding scale, and in the eyes of many, "gender" is more political than something else.  The only issue is that the trans rights thing has sort of become a meme (a positive and good one, but a meme nonetheless), which I think makes it an easier target for dismissal, unfortunately.

Pretty much everything is political at the end of the day anyway.  There are some folks who would argue Smash is political simply on the basis of including so many capable, non-sexualised female playable characters in the game.  Obviously the fact that people in this very thread are citing Smash as a non-political game shows that it doesn't come off as political to them because they agree with such "politics".  Meanwhile other people (and I use "people" generously here since they're actually probably all whiny white manchildren) genuinely complained when Smash for 3DS/Wii U introduced so many female characters (despite male and ambigious characters still greatly outnumbering them). So that does bring us back to "stuff is only too political when you disagree with it".

 

It's a shame that Nintendo IS trying to sweep this content under the rug rather than making a stance, but it's hard to blame them either when it's unclear whether people who claim to boycott companies that don't adhere to their beliefs are just blowing hot air around or not when they complain.  But yeah, a shame considering Nintendo was recently revealed (at least in the US) to have a very positive atmosphere towards inclusiveness, equality and respect for minorities internally for employees. They probably have inclusive values overall, but are still too afraid to put their money where there mouth is on it.

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@FFWF Adding to Nintendo’s history of political controversies there was that whole game & watch thing. Which gamers got pissed at Nintendo for changing for “pandering to sjw’s“

 

heres a fitting Jimquisition regarding the topic. I definitely recommend watching:

it’s become one of the most disliked of his vids oddly enough since I think he makes valid arguments regarding the biases and goal moving nature of the topic. Especially highlighting the pathetic Weasley statements from devs about their games not being political. (Looking Up this video I see a lot of video responses to it calling jim out, calling him a sjw, crybaby liberal wanting politics where there shouldn’t be any, etc. so clearly a large subset of gamers are passionately against Jim’s and many peoples view on the subject.)

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1 hour ago, KHCast said:

heres a fitting Jimquisition regarding the topic 

it’s become one of the most disliked of his vids oddly enough since I think he makes valid arguments regarding the biases and goal moving nature of the topic. (Looking Up this video I see a lot of video responses to it calling jim out, calling him a sjw, crybaby liberal wanting politics where there shouldn’t be any, etc. so clearly a large subset of gamers are passionately against Jim’s and many peoples view on the subject.)

It is with this that I have figured out my thoughts. I am fine with politics in games, because it's pervasive throughout life, it cannot be avoided. Just please never do it to the detriment of the media itself, following my (really naïve and simple-minded) belief that games should be "gameplay first". If the game is fun, make whatever statement you wish.

And regarding community-made content, you're free to still make your political statements, even if they are unnecessary, which is the specific reason why Nintendo is shutting those down. I've seen something similar happen in Splatoon 2, where a lot of people used the posting feature to make a point about their sexuality, and then everyone else got tired of repetitiveness of it and asked them to stop. It's a complicated situation, that one, with both sides having their faults...

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Political messages have always existed in medias and so in games. Square-Enix' veteran writer and director Yasumi Matsuno transformed it into an art, as the games he touches revolve around events parallel to real-world ones and are presented in the most neutral way possible. There are factions, but there is no side to choose, because in the end war sucks and there are no real good and bad guys, simple as that. Random example is Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, that Matsuno stated in interviews is based on the Yugoslav Wars of the '90s (for those who're too young, an extremely messy civil war on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea that after many bloodsheds ended with the state of Yugoslavia fragmenting into several small states) and it shows, but doesn't state "your protagonist is right" or "this faction is clearly evil" bluntly to the player, it lets him or her absorb the world, the characters and the conflicts and then let them take their own conclusions. That's how politics should be done all the time imho, a great way to educate a person without asking him or her to take a specific side unless they want to.
As mentioned, Metal Gear is also very political, albeit in a more direct way than above: MG2 was all about criticizing America's war on arabian countries for the sake of oil, MGS2 has a message about censorship and the internet that was labeled as conspiracy theory back then but nowadays is way too relevant for its own good, MGS3 was all about how the hunger for power led the United States almost to fuck up the Cold War and how the selfishness of a governament can lead to soldiers losing their lives with a lack of purpose, and MGS4 is about how we're too dependant on technology and how if in the wrong hands, our lives can be twisted and crushed without even knowing, again, similar to MGS2.
What do these political things have in common? For the most part they're handled well, they're written well, they're presented in a way that seems that the author wants to tell a story and a game first and add the message later, without taking a side or using the mssage as a publicity stunt.

I think that what people may be against nowadays is the fact that due to how communication expanded thanks to the Internet, most political messages can get rather obnoxious and badly handled for the sake of gaining more publicity, one way or the other.
Here's an example of what i think is a good political theme in a modern day game: in Mortal Kombat 11, one of the pre-battle lines for Shao Khan is that he wants to "make Outworld great again". Is it obnoxious? Maybe a little, but consider that 1)it's a pre-battle quote, therefore doesn't affect the story, the arkade ending or the relationship with other characters, 2)the charater of Shao Khan has always been depicted outside of the tyrannical way as someone who would fit on the right side of the political spectrum, a quote like that makes sense, and 3)most pre-battle quotes are used for comedic effects with jabs, punchlines and black humor, so a line like this clearly is more for satire purposes than making a statement. NRS is not telling that Shao Khan is Trump, but that if he knew about Earthrealm politics he would totally say that, that's it.
Here's instead an example in what i think is a bad political theme in a modern day game: in The Quiet Man, our protagonist Dane, caucasian, spends the entire time beating and killing only puertoricans and african-americans, with only 2 major exceptions during boss fights. The rest of the game also denotes a clearly malicious racist line, with characters using slurs unironically and giving the idea that 1)ghettos in New York are populated only by minorities all intent of making gangs that want to kill each other, and 2)policemen are useless, brutal and racist, and want nothing more than abusing their rights. This is when a racial/political statement is treated with no care or respect, and makes people like David Cage (another person notorious for fucking up statements on politics and ethnicities) Shakespeare in comparison.

The obnoxiousness reguards also the gender argument, something that should be treated with subtlety and care but most of the time is reduced to characters parading "gender x stronk, gender y weak". An example, the E3 2018 presentation of Assassin's Creed Odyssey that literally ends with the female variation of the protagonist using a bludgeoning weapon to crush the crotch of a big brutish white man. These are things that technically could have happened in the time period the game portrays (Sparta was surprisingly fair with women) and it's a situation that can happen in the game, but what was really the reason of presenting that specific moment like that besides appearing good in the eyes of modern day feminists? The trailer right before the gameplay presentation did a way better job in showcasing both the male and female protagonists in a balanced manner, so slipping up after that feels intentional and clumsy.
And the game even provides of a good example at the same time, by having in-game the choice of having a relationship with either opposite or same gender people as the one of your protagonists. This is something that Ancient Greece was ok with, and it's presented in-game in a natural, subtle way rather than the character turning to the camera and say "Boy howdy, it surely would suck if we were not able to do that because of pesky white straight males, amirite?".  It doesn't force you to choose the gender you want your characters to be interested in, but gives the option, would have been so easy for the writers to say "nope, s/he's straight".
An isn't that the whole point of equality? Demonstrating people of different genders, religions and ethnics can coexist in the same habitat without lynching at each other?
Going back briefly to MK11, there's the supposed aforementioned "controversy" people have with Jax' Arkade ending. Having seen that, i would say that once again, it stems from a lack of care in handling the subject: due to how Arkade endings are presented (slightly moving stills with narration), the last image after Jax has managed to rewrite history and nullify slavery showcase only african-american people in the utopistic modern setting. The game is telling a message of equality but the way the still is presented is instead looking like it's saying that changing history made all other ethnicities disappear, and i'm pretty sure that wasn't the intention of the writers.
There's also an entire side argument about changing pre-estabilished characters in long-running franchises to fit better modern day politics, but this post is already long as it is.

Bottomline, the real problem with today's presentations and arguments about politics, genders and rights in games is that writers and fans focus too much on yelling "i'm right, you're wrong" to each other instead of anything else, like it's a competition because it has to be like that. There's no more moderation, centrism or analysis from a neutral point, you have to pick a side or else you're the enemy. Wanting "politics out of games" is an exageration, but as long as they're treated without the care they need i would agree in preferring them absent rather than giving a bad image to the message they want to convey, and i can see why people would start to get annoyed by this whole thing.
It's not the existance of the politics themeselves nor on what they treat that stings, but on how they handle what they want to tell. Get better writers and promoters, people unbiased with their heads on their shoulders, that's all.

As for Smash Ultimate, i'm with Blue Blood. Reguardless of your position on the argument, the stage editor of that game is hardly the best place to present advocation or respite for something the game wasn't made of.

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I'm not good with politics in general. Left wing, right wing, liberal, conservative....I simply don't understand what these phrases imply.

I do prefer my fiction to keep away from real life subject matter, due to my need to escape. But I wont shun anything for bringing in such topics in a story, especially if it's handled with the proper care and not totally in your face.

I look at those Custom Stages and what bugs me the most about them is that they're all basically the same. Though with some of them, it's hard to tell what part of the stages are the bits the characters stand on. They look unique enough from a distance but most are just a horizontal platform. That's not very creative. The fact that such a minor thing would bother me is an unfortunate trait I have which is part of my personality disorder...

I recently completed a game that had a Bi character in it's story. It was handled with the proper care in my opinion. She was a likable character in a game with a large amount of nasty characters in it. (Though you don't learn their true nature until much later in the game.)

But I digress. I don't really want to say too much in a topic that has controversial elements because I have a tendency to accidentally offend people. I wish it wasn't true....

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More often than not, "keep politics out of X" means "keep your liberal politics out of my X." Now I suspect people making "TRANS RIGHTS!" stages in Smash are doing so mostly to rile those "others" up more than anything, but I question in this instance the medium for expressing such a thing even if it was genuine. Nintendo is a famously conservative company, so it's unsurprising that they reacted by culling everything; but at the same time they've always been famously conservative in the "don't rock the boat at all" sense so the tone deaf heavy handedness is therefore unsurprising to the extent that I doubt there was any specific bent behind it.

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5 hours ago, Teoskaven said:

This is something that Ancient Greece was ok with, and it's presented in-game in a natural, subtle way rather than the character turning to the camera and say "Boy howdy, it surely would suck if we were not able to do that because of pesky white straight males, amirite?". 

I don’t think ancient Greeks were open minded to flat out gay romantic relationships.(or at least openly supported them, hence the lack of many figures you could point to in that era that were openly holding their same sex lovers hands in public vs them being secret lovers) I know instances like Spartans having same sex intercourse was a thing that existed, but they also all had wives they’d come back to by the end of the war(who would dress up as the male soldiers to ease them back into women). It was a strategic thing I believe as well a lot of times for them to do so they wouldn’t be horny and distracted during battle(something like that I read)

more to the point, Ubisoft did later get really political on this when that dlc canonized the heterosexual relationship by introducing a child of which the player had. They made a statement with that, and just furthered my issue with how “progressive lgbt inclusion” games typically poorly handle narratively lgbt relationships.

5 hours ago, Teoskaven said:

the last image after Jax has managed to rewrite history and nullify slavery showcase only african-american people in the utopistic modern setting. The game is telling a message of equality but the way the still is presented is instead looking like it's saying that changing history made all other ethnicities disappear,

...uh what no? Weren’t they in a advanced Africa in that scene? Why do they need to shoehorn other races in the images here? He stopped slavery so that his people wouldn’t suffer and thus, no shit it’s gonna give a focus to how this effected blacks in the future. If people’s implication drawn here due to it giving focus to a black community is that all the other races MIGHT be canonically erased in this universe because it isn’t showing them, then holy shit wow. Is Black Panther being racist to whites and Asians because it rarely gives those races much attention compared to blacks in the film?

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49 minutes ago, KHCast said:

 

I don’t think ancient Greeks were open minded to flat out gay romantic relationships.(or at least openly supported them, hence the lack of many figures you could point to in that era that were openly holding their same sex lovers hands in public vs them being secret lovers) I know instances like Spartans having same sex intercourse was a thing that existed, but they also all had wives they’d come back to by the end of the war(who would dress up as the male soldiers to ease them back into women). It was a strategic thing I believe as well a lot of times for them to do so they wouldn’t be horny and distracted during battle(something like that I read)

more to the point, Ubisoft did later get really political on this when that dlc canonized the heterosexual relationship by introducing a child of which the player had. They made a statement with that, and just furthered my issue with how “progressive lgbt inclusion” games typically poorly handle narratively lgbt relationships.

They were, although not completely, it's complicated. The god Dionysus, or Bacchus for the romans, was entirely dedicated to cults of, among other things, drinking and having sex, and everything was fair game for the greeks (to the point where christians in the ages have demonized the god more than Hades/Pluto, even Sam Raimi couldn't resist and made him the demonic lord of a vampiric lesbian cult in the Xena Warrior Princess series; yes, that happened). It starts already in the mythos depicting gods having occasional relationship with humans of the same sex. Aphrodites/Venus, goddes of love is stated clearly in multiple poems and myths that she grants her blessings to anyone.
For some other examples, the naming of the term lesbian stems from the island of Lesbos were women were sent for educational and spirutual purposes but that was only a cover-up for basically a sex cult held by the poet Sappho. Other than that, relationship bewteen women were seen common if they were seen sterile or had, say, remained widowed because they had married a soldier who perished in the war and had already too many children or other complications. Not completely open-minded, i admit, but not to the point of stoning them in the street and exposing their bodies as threats like the hebrews or egyptians would have done.
Spartan soldiers considered cameratism having intercourse with same-sex soldiers of their divisions since they strongly believed it helped reinforce the solidity of their battle formations and tactics, basically a discipline exercise. But it was a common thing keeping a relationship going if it lead to love, Achilles and Patroklos in the Iliad are described basically having one, consequence of the former being the mentor of the latter; it's Patroklos' death that snaps Achilles and puts the tip of balance in the hands of the greeks by having him going on a rampage, because he really loved him, and the other generals like Odysseus do not really see this as something alien or disgusting (mind you, this is not taking into account the debate people have over the veridicity of the poem, a thing that's still going on these days: Homer rather than romanticising something for fiction described what was basically a normal thing at the time).
For a final example, philosophers and arithmeticians had pretty much orgies with their students, most of wich were males.
All of this was usually documented on traditional vases, paintings and scripts, but basically disappeared first gradually with the Alexander the Great conquest, then with the burning of the the library of Alexandria that had stuff taken there, and then with the roman conquest of Greece; some minor cultural snippets like having same-sex slaves were kept (although in that case it's not really anymore an open relationship due to the lack of consent on one part), but some labeled it as "the greek evil", so it wasn't even considered all the time a good thing. And with the rise of christianity during the time of emperor Constantine I, whatever tradition had remained was crushed, barely anything survived and let us know of all i just said.

Didn't knew about the DLC, i guess it had to happen since the games are all about generations of assassins but i was hoping since the characters to choose from were siblings that the one not picked by the player would have become the father/mother.

 

49 minutes ago, KHCast said:

...uh what no? Weren’t they in a advanced Africa in that scene? Why do they need to shoehorn other races in the images here? He stopped slavery so that his people wouldn’t suffer and thus, no shit it’s gonna give a focus to how this effected blacks in the future. If people’s implication drawn here due to it giving focus to a black community is that all the other races MIGHT be canonically erased in this universe because it isn’t showing them, then holy shit wow. Is Black Panther being racist to whites and Asians because it rarely gives those races much attention compared to blacks in the film?

I thought that was supposed to be New York, a changed one due to how different the culture had evolved. And Black Panther did showed pretty much people of all major ethnicities for one reason or the other, so i don't think it's really on the same level.

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15 minutes ago, Teoskaven said:

Achilles and Patroklos in the Iliad are described basically having one, consequence of the former being the mentor of the latter; it's Patroklos' death that snaps Achilles and puts the tip of balance in the hands of the greeks by having him going on a rampage, because he really loved him

Didn’t Achilles have a wife? Actually looking it up 

“When Odysseus, Ajax, and Phoenix visit Achilles to negotiate her return in book 9, Achilles refers to Briseis as his wife or his bride. He professes to have loved her as much as any man loves his wife, at one point using Menelaus and Helen to complain about the injustice of his 'wife' being taken from him.”

So maybe those feelings for Patroklos could be the equivalent of the love one friend has for another. 

15 minutes ago, Teoskaven said:

I thought that was supposed to be New York, a changed one due to how different the culture had evolved

New York has large populated areas of the city dominated by mostly black communities, so even if it was New York, this scene showing only black people shouldn't be a problem to other races feeling “discriminated” and “left out”

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The idea that games shouldn't be political is a hysterical piece of alt-right rhetoric. It's only ever aimed at games which have a liberal, feminist or pro LGBT rights message, and is typically targeted at women. The hysteria over Battlefield 5 is a good example. A lot of the time people go as far as to misinterpret or even lie about the game (Rome 2 Total War recently had outrage over female generals in certain factions, and a heavily edited image went around giving across the idea that the player could only recruit female generals for Egypt). 

It's particularly egregious when the same people who whinge about games being political also prop up games such as Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7 and Bioshock as examples of classic games, but they contain exactly the liberal politics they claim to hate. It's this weird thing where if a game was made before the alt right rhetoric online took over gaming culture then they don't treat it as though it's political in the way which upset them.

The argument they use in response is that past classic games weren't party political. Life is Strange 2 had a direct criticism of Trump's wall, which made everyone go crazy for example. That's argument is bollocks though, because Metal Gear Solid, a game these kind of people love, is very heavy on its anti nuclear weapon message, which was directly relevant to party politics at the time. A lot of the time as well they are mad at there being too many women and black people, which is not strictly party political (although in reality it is). 

Also these same people love games which push the same regressive ideas as before, wanting to keep hypersexualisation and not having too many female protagonists. That in itself is a political message.

In short, the idea that games shouldn't be political is anti-art, treats games as the basest kind of entertainment and is alt right dog-whistling.

 

2 hours ago, KHCast said:

Didn’t Achilles have a wife? Actually looking it up 

“When Odysseus, Ajax, and Phoenix visit Achilles to negotiate her return in book 9, Achilles refers to Briseis as his wife or his bride. He professes to have loved her as much as any man loves his wife, at one point using Menelaus and Helen to complain about the injustice of his 'wife' being taken from him.”

So maybe those feelings for Patroklos could be the equivalent of the love one friend has for another. 

You didn't have to be faithful to your wife in Ancient Greek culture and in fact were not expected to be. The Ancient Greeks had a completely different attitude to sexuality than us and homosexuality was completely accepted as part of society. 

Achilles and Patroclus are probably gay for each other in the Iliad and their relationship is actually made completely explicit in later Greek versions of the myth.

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Hmm. Interesting. Well regardless of historical accuracy, I feel Ubisoft still ended up taking the lazy way to insert lgbt characters (generic optional choose your static character/avatar and romance whoever you want by selecting the right dialogue) to avoid being “political” and taking a narrative and creative stand on their inclusion. There’s no dedicated arcs of worth or actual established lgbt character allowing further delving of them and their relationships and simply “oh you can fuck whoever you want as a optional thing that’s pretty non sequential to the story”. (Oh top of that there was that aforementioned dlc that further ruined the whole point of choosing to do gay stuff only.) It’s boring and attempts to do as little in the way of any creative effort while also expecting the praise of simply having something of gay representation in their game. This is usually how most companies try to include characters like this, especially when they’re playable, and it’s obvious it’s done out of fear of upsetting gamers for “forcing” what they’ll call a “political agenda”. I mean, hell, when last of us established Ellie as a lesbian with her very clear love interest, that was met with lots of outrage. I can’t imagine how hard naughty dog had to fight for her being the main protagonist of the sequel. A story driven action game, that’s also a sequel to a super successful first party title, with a lgbt protagonist? Mad props to them. (And that’s simply just to get a female lgbt character, who are usually the go to in most media when it comes to lgbt representation, some genuine spotlight. How long until we get a AAA styled story driven action game along the lines of a gears of war, uncharted, Final Fantasy, etc. with a gay male main character?) 

Anyway that aside, I certainly agree that it’s kinda ridiculous how we have these companies, quite honestly, doing a disservice to their games by trying to rip out the obvious political nuances in their titles. Detroit being human clearly has parallels to modern discrimination and racism as does Deus Ex with the persecution those with modifications face. Yet these companies and ceos try and write them off as “non-political, and simply trying to get you to think. Oh but our games also don’t take sides just fyi”. It comes off cowardly and definitely like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it. Games are an art medium and as such should inspire these type of discussions and topics within them. We shouldn’t be afraid of making titles that challenge our thoughts and perceptions , or present their own views on the world.

Now obviously we don’t have to respect them all, or even allow them to all to be sold in stores. Companies can certainly take stands on what they morally will accept on their storefronts. A game about killing gay people, or raping someone obviously can easily be hard refused, but don’t try and act like you aren’t taking a political stance regarding your standards when you refuse them(looking at you steam. acting like you aren’t taking a side when taking down rape day is disingenuous.). 

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Games are media, they are art. They have as much right to be as political as they want as any other medium. Movies, TV, books or music.

Now, having a problem with a lack of subtlety? That I get. That's something that persists with political commentary in just about anything, and it's kind of a double-edged sword because you ride the line between being poignant and intelligent and people not actually knowing what you're trying to say. And game writing is generally pretty low-quality, so a game that communicates a political message badly? Yeah, that fucking blooows.

Thing is? That's maybe two percent of games? The issue is, almost always, "too political" from games communities means "has a character from an identity group they hate". None of these people get on Metal Gear's ass for constant commentary on war and terrorism and capitalism, it's the same "forced diversity" argument every time. It's pretending to be politically disengaged to justify the things you don't like getting attention as "too political" rather than "sinful degeneracy". And plenty of them are ready to discuss poor capitalistic practices from EA or Activision, but I guess capitalism isn't political now either.

Trans pride flags are only political in so far as everything is political, like not wanting your country's leader kidnapped or the government trying to use a dangerous biohazard for war and profit despite the damage it could do to regular citizens. There is no justification to removing them other than, inevitably, wanting your game to have such broad marketability that you, even ever-so-slightly, cater to bigots who won't pay for it if that's what's allowed.

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