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Making Video Games Socially, Politically, and Morally Relevant

Video games aren't just mindless entertainment. They're not merely violence-filled bloodbaths either. Many video game designers and developers are including more socially, morally, and politically-relevant content in games that could educate and inform players about the realities and contexts of the games which they play.

Perhaps the most obvious way that developers incorporate these types of content are in the games’ narratives. Developers use space, dialogue, plot, and other narrative tools to deliver games with prominent social, moral, and political dimensions. Some games are fairly explicit in their politics.
Don Daglow’s Utopia (1982) is about being a better political ruler than your opponent—even if that means bankrolling a guerrilla insurgency against them. Other games take a more subtle approach.
In Far Cry II (2008), for instance, the player contracts malaria and their advancement depends on how well they manage the symptoms. The game’s creative director noted that this was intended to make players aware of the perniciousness (and persistence) of the disease in Africa.

(Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash)


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