Hail The Guardian for saying what we're all thinking despite reams of academic data to the contrary. Games are far right tools of indoctrination. Every Head-Crab you crowbarred to death in Half-Life makes The Wall a few inches higher. Do you really think the aliens in that game were called 'Race X' for no reason? Wake up, racist gamers.
"Although affected by context, video games have long focused on the expulsion of “aliens” (Space Invaders to XCOM), fear of impure infection (Half-Life to The Last of Us), border control (Missile Commander to Plants vs Zombies), territory acquisition (Command & Conquer to Splatoon), empire building (Civilization to Tropico), princess recovery (Mario to Zelda), and restoration of natural harmony (Sonic to FarmVille).
Second, video games put the user to work on an instinctual level, making the gamer feel impulsive agreement with these ideologies."
Sonic is a Nazi now. So writes Alfie Bown with a sub-par rehash of Sigmund Freud's most outdated ideas. This piece isn't going to be a slam dunk piece on how stupid that idea is; Twitter has already trampled it into the dust, and I'll splatter a few choice tweets like alien brain matter through this piece for your delectation. I want more to have a look beyond Alfie Bown and his reductive nonsense to the deeper tale. For years now we have talked about a certain pursuit being the Fountain of all Evil, corrupting the young and making the world a degenerate place. Bown is making an ideological argument instead of the intellectual one. There is an argument to be made that the ever-presence of technology as a whole has changed humans. Have you ever found yourself alone at a restaurant table and discovered you were suddenly online? This is followed by the not quite understood social faux-pas of someone returning from the bathroom whilst you are in the midst of tweet composition. Do you delay interaction with someone in the real world while you drop knowledge bombs on anime avatars? This applies to messages, Facebook, and yes mobile games are included. This is a conversation that should about what effect our technology has had on our attention span and our willingness to be alone with ourselves for any fraction of time- not that there are political ideologies being stealthed into our culture through shoot 'em ups that will make you a race realist.
Yes, you read that correctly, XCOM has xenophobic undertones; it doesn’t matter if your squad was a beacon of diversity or that you were defending yourself from a hostile alien force that sought out to violently subjugate humanity, those aliens represent refugees, silly!— Bunty King ♔ (@realbuntyking) March 12, 2018
So, how is it that we still see claims of video games being the root of all evil? Because psychologically we are trapped in a confusing reality of polarized political opinions that are resistant to change. I don't know if any leftists read this magazine, but let me assure you- this isn't an attack on left ideology per se, though I have come to see incredibly dangerous flaws in that thinking. This mental cage we have built for society is not a left or right wing idea, it is a deeper concept, one of a purity test. The Christian Right burnt records by The Beatles, and racists attacked Elvis for bringing the corrupting power of Black music to White audiences. Now we see the Regressive Left building another filter through which to strain the dregs of culture, and this frame is fixated on trying to understand how people come to be woke on ideas like ingroup preference within ethnic groups, replacement migration, the Islamification of Europe and even that it is okay to be White.
The answer when you are viewing the world from a purely ideological perspective is of course that all the evil in the world comes from who you believe are your enemies. Bown believes that what he thinks of as conservative ideas like border control and sexual dimorphism are not just ideas to be contended with and argued against, but examples of impurity in society. As his own subheading states:
"Violent, isolationist and misogynist desires course through games – and push rightwing ideologies on players."
A better statement would be perhaps- violent, isolationist and misogynist experiences course through humanity itself. We might disagree with this and wish to become more than the animal we are, but this hierachy still exists! How we deal with this and reconcile the advanced mind of human beings with the animalistic, tribal desires of the beasts within is important. That might be a good question- instead, Bown projects behavioral traits onto people as a group through their shared activity- the classic GamerGate tactic which the records show doesn't work and makes you look rather silly in the process.
As we know, Fritz Heider (1958) suggested that we have a tendency to give causal explanations for someone’s behavior, often by crediting either the situation or the person’s disposition- this is Attribution Theory. I hold this statement to be true, born out by observing reality as impartially as we can. You are a Nazi because I disagree with you and you are a Nazi because you do this unrelated action that I think made you into even more of a Nazi. This is the argument from the Left today- this is the anti-Gamer Gate argument, this is the argument that led to Martin Sellner, Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern being denied entry to the United Kingdom. It is this attitude that leads to Tommy Robinson being attacked in the street by masked men and the disruption of lectures by Carl Benjamin, Peter Boghossian, Christina Hoff Sommers and Jordan Peterson to name but a few.
Because these people are overtly opposed to broad church Progressivism, they are attributed with the trait of being a known fascist. This perspective is reinforced because they give speeches against Progressivism- that means, against authoritarian states, against neo-Marxism- they take actions that confirms their opinions, they are authentic in this manner, realized. That's the second attribution, now we have a physical and psychological image of who these people are in our minds, we know they are not just in disagreement, they act, and they are acting against us so they must be our enemies too and that is why we have to suppress or stop them. If you are familiar with Jeanette Falarca and her group By Any Means Necessary you will see how far this line of thinking will justify violence and harassment towards people who have been labeled as Nazis.
I was in his lair fighting him on a platform over lava, where the platform kept shifting, trying to throw us both off of it.— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) March 12, 2018
I persevered, and as Iggy was thrown into the lava at the end of our battle, he shouted out, "have you read Mein Kampf?!" before slowly burning to death.
Attacking video games is a method leftists have struck on to try and explain to each other why their enemies exist. This indicates such a paucity of discourse between politically engaged people that we are looking at a discourse-less future of disagreement, and with the effective banning of right-wing opinions in totality in the United Kingdom, this future can only be violent.
Because someone disagrees with you does not make them an enemy that needs to be dehumanized and destroyed. Bown argues that video games can cause violent behavior along ideological lines as the themes in video games are not neo-Marxist. Well, isn't that just an expression that he feels that his ideology is losing in an arms race? I disagree with his premise, but surely his conclusion is the worst form of tribalism also.
"Currently, the new desires incubated by games lean far to the right, and without more progressive games on the market (though some are emerging), the future may be even bleaker than the political present."
The link in that quote is to a Kotaku article about a video game that is about making a socialist society. It is not that Bown cares about the potential of technology (including video games) to alter humanity. He cares that technology is not being used to change humans in the right way according to his ideological beliefs. As a society we have to transcend this partisan thinking or at least find a neutral field in which our polarizing beliefs can engage with each other without descending into demonization.