There is a new gaming website on the horizon with the proclaimed goal of protecting escapism. Quote: “A Place for fans of gaming who are sick of politics forcing its way inside. All games, no politics.” It’s called Exclusively Games and it’s a project conceived by YouTuber, The Quartering. The issue for me here is not the concept itself. From the amount of funds raised on the IndieGogo page, we can see that there is an under-served market. But ever since I heard about it, I have been curious about how it can work.
In case you’re unaware, The Quartering is a YouTube channel that mainly covers the video game industry. Like the planned website, the channel is capitalizing on the current American social climate of politically correct outrage. The channel first came to my attention after the YouTube channel, ReviewTechUSA mentioned how much he was enjoying it.
Perhaps unfortunately, the first video I really saw of him was through ReviewTechUSA commenting on the conflict he had with Youtuber, AngryJoe. I won’t go into detail and lengthen this video but, I say unfortunately because The Quartering said something that made me go: “You’re a YouTuber, how could you not know this?” Regardless, I gave it a pass.
From then on, I’ve watched his videos from time to time, and I’ve heard that some people have branded him as conforming to the ideology of the American Alt-Right movement. Sure, I’ve heard him quote/unquote “talk out of his ass” on things. Say things that are verifiably false, and cover certain occurrences that were completely insignificant and not big deals at all, but for whatever reason, he was upset. Still, Alt-Right? I don’t believe that’s accurate, but as we know, and as we’re about to re-explore, definitions are fickle things.
Due to the aforementioned social climate, a website like Exclusively Games was bound to happen. Even from a business perspective you can say it’s a good concept. But things tend to have it’s pros and cons, and I believe that the concept inherently creates the possibility to be criticized by its detractors and its supporters. The problem lies in the definition of the word “politics” and/or “political”.
On the surface you can kind of say that a “reasonable person” can say: “Oh, I kinda see what they mean by keeping politics out.” But it wouldn’t be baseless to criticize Exclusively Games if they were to ever tread on one person or another’s definition of politics. Almost anything can be argued as being political in some way, and works of art are often easily argued in that direction.
Let’s say the American government passes a law that, say, makes it so all major video game releases must also have a physical option of purchase. It cannot solely be a digital storefront release. Could Exclusively Games publish a story covering this news? If we Google the definition of “political” it says: “Relating to the government or public affairs of a country.”
If you’re familiar with the video game series Deus Ex, then you might know that, especially the first Deus Ex, may very well be the most political game on the planet. Wealth inequality, the military industrial complex, world governance, conspiracies, tax laws, militarized police forces, the pros and cons of communism, the melding of corporations and the government; the amount of political subjects that this game visits goes on and on.
Can Exclusively Games even mention this series? Would it be completely unfounded to criticize them for it if they did? If a new game in the series is released. They can review it. They can talk about the gameplay, the graphics, sound, just like any other review. Discussing the story might get a bit tricky.
I suppose what I’m really wondering is: What is Exclusively Games’ definition of “politics” going to be?
Maybe answering this question will be easier by taking a look at which websites they are trying not to be, and I think we can agree that the primary suspects are Kotaku and Polygon. Two websites that claimed particular notoriety during the GamerGate… incident, let’s say. But the “mainstream” gaming media do seem to be suffering from a PR situation.
Although which publications are considered “mainstream” in the gaming industry remains largely undecided. But I think Kotaku and Polygon can squarely be categorized as such. Perhaps along with, Eurogamer, PCGamer, IGN, Gamespot maybe? I’m not sure, there is no definitive list, and it’s quite possibly completely subjective.
Is it a question of being political, or a question of being too political? If it’s the latter then what’s too much? Is too much trying to link everything as somehow being racist, or sexist, or some form a discriminatory action? Is too much mentioning the name of a political party or the current president of the United States? I’ve seen outrage for both. Maybe this entire discussion is moot, and we’re just dealing with a minority that has the loudest voices on the internet. Yet still, it may be irresponsible to ignore them. It was Deus Ex that made the point of: “Meaning does not exist a priori. It is order imposed by individuals with arsenals of communication devices.”
I don’t know. I’m just asking questions. I just think that in a way, Exclusively Games may be tying their own hands behind their backs. Can’t talk about this, can’t talk about that. There’s politics in virtually everything.
Published a story about Belgium banning loot boxes? How dare you? A Cyberpunk universe where the government is nothing more than an extension of corporate interests? Delete this. This is your favorite character because of this, this, and this, and they just happen to be transsexual? Unsubscribe.
Some might say that last one is an extreme example. Yeah, another loud minority I suspect. I don’t even know if I can really categorize having a trans character as being inherently political. Anyway, like I said, I’m just asking questions. It’s just a thought I had (hence the title).
Tell me in the comments section what your definition of “politics” and/or “being political” is. Does it necessarily have anything to do with a country’s government? Is it wrong for a work of art to contain influences of the artists political leanings? Is the practice just a forced scheme in an attempt to maximize profits? Is this article too political? Should I be tarred and feathered?
Papito Qinn is into the whole YouTube thing, is the winner of the 2016 SpookTAYcular Scary Story Contest, and atwitter incompetent. “I really hope I can get this new project going by the start of next year.”