Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
https://wallpaperscraft.com/image/this_war_of_mine_the_little_ones_survival_stealth_shooter_105983_1280x720.jpg

Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
https://images6.alphacoders.com/740/thumb-1920-740347.jpg

Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
https://images2.alphacoders.com/600/thumb-1920-600255.jpg

So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
http://www.imgbase.info/images/safe-wallpapers/video_games/life_is_strange/58862_life_is_strange.jpg

Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
https://www.bhmpics.com/wallpapers/the_last_of_us_left_behind-1920×1080.jpg

The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Issue with DLC

DLC

I’m not too sure if DLC was a byproduct of consumer’s needs or simply to make money for the studios. I sincerely expect it was the latter, if not simply because that isn’t how consumers think. I guess it’s not too risque of me to say that people are generally unhappy with the idea of DLC. Perhaps not DLC itself, but the idea of forking out extra cash for a few more hours gameplay certainly can’t sit too well with the majority. In fact the entire malcontent with certain kinds of DLC already has a term, and that term is ‘horse armour’. For those who don’t know this originated in the game ‘Oblivion’, the predeccesor to Skyrim. It was the first major DLC of any kind and it did absolutely nothing for the gameplay, nor the story, nor the player. It just made your horse look a bit cooler. Now a hefty majority of DLC seen as useless is given such a nickname.

But people will pay out for extra content if it’s a game they really like, which is absolutely fine. I’m not going to rant about DLC in general, just certain kinds of DLC.

I think DLC falls into two categories. The first, which everybody dislikes, is money-grabbing, the second is decent DLC which compliments the story, but would not have fit into the tale of the original narrative.

Because it’s the first that gets me, let’s talk about the second. The second is the kind of DLC nobody minds because they get to spend that little extra time in their favourite world, or with their favourite characters. The Last of Us’s expansion ‘Left Behind’ is perfect for this. TLOU was a brilliant game, and with an endearing story that really hit the player hard, so it’s natural for people to want more of those characters, and to get to know more about that universe. Because it was such an important part of the story where we find out how Ellie gets bitten, and is mentioned so many times throughout the original game, it was a sensical step for the developers to make. Because it would never really have fit in to the main story of the game, which centered around Joel, and the game couldn’t have a better introduction if it tried, it wouldn’t have made sense to follow Ellie before she met Joel. But the developers gave us that insight anyway. So, that’s the first, and that’s the DLC we really enjoy.

What really annoys me about DLC is when it has obviously been held back from the initial release of the main game, simply to sell as an extra extension. Skyrim’s Hearthfire DLC was one of these. A minor aspect of gameplay that would have added a nice touch to the overall game, but was withheld to sell at a later date. Skyrim’s next two DLC games, however, both of which held their own story line, worked as separate DLC. Another example is having to purchase more cars for racing games, which is an aspect that is really coming to a head. The major sore spot with DLC is having to fork out the full price for a game, and then having to pay more money (it doesn’t matter how little or much) for extra content. But when you buy a racing game, wherein you need cars to race, you expect there to be the full choice of cars with which to play. Or maybe you have to play to unlock the more superior cars, which is much more preferential. In fact that serves the entire purpose of the game, that mode of gameplay does nothing more than justify that initial price you paid to buy the actual game itself.

Another perfect example of serving the game is when a game touts that the only reason to play it is for the multiplayer, and then cut the entire player-base in two; those who have bought the extra maps, and those who haven’t. Indeed, multiplayer first person games are the worst for this, with periodical maps being released, all for that extra bit of cash, and each time a percentage of players don’t buy the latest maps they are essentially cut out of a minority of the maps, when there are more maps released, they’re cut from the majority of the maps, and thefore, the games. Season passes are a minor ease on the consumer’s wallet, but just bring in money sooner.

There’s also that annoying aspect where, rather than play to unlock features, like in the days of yore, you now simply purchase unlockables, requiring no effort on the behalf of the user, and simply a mildly bolstered bank account. But I won’t go into that now.

The worst case of DLC I have ever seen was in the Spyro game Skylanders. Now on principle I would never play this game – I wouldn’t buy a game where the prerequisite was to shell out another hundred pounds to buy the very game characters. But my then 6 year old brother loves it, and has played every sequel to come out since. Now I simply disliked the game because it was a game where the purchases weren’t simply recommended, or were to bolster the end or beginning of a story – they were above necessary. But, when I saw my brother playing it, I noticed that there were locked corridors, and when I asked him, he said he didn’t have the play piece to get through, and when he found a token (or something) the game broke off, and spent three minutes advertising one of the buyable characters. There was an in-game advertisement, during gameplay, that the player had to watch, in the game my brother(‘s mom) had already paid for. That is almost insufferable. So I learnt that not only would you have access to seemingly less than 50% of the game, unless you forked out the extra for the figurines, they were pretty much bombarding you with the characters you had to buy to get the most out of the game. And this isn’t aimed at adults, or people my age, that’s aimed at kids. That’s a whole market of money-grabbing, attempting to extort kids who perhaps don’t quite grasp the implications. Also I just didn’t like the gameplay. Since then I have refused to buy him any of the models, and will discourage him from the game. Thankfully he now just plays Minecraft and doesn’t do much else.

DLC can be decent, it can be a wonderful augmentation to a game you love. Or it can be a badly disguised money grabbing scam.

Naughty Dog details development process of Left Behind, teases new DLC

Naughty Dog

Over the weekend, Naughty Dog released a new documentary on the making of The Last Of Us: Left Behind, detailing the creative process for the much revered expansion.

While this documentary is around the ten minute mark, it is similar to ‘Grounded’, the making of documentary Naughty Dog released with the season pass. It’s also worth noting that the video spoils much of Left Behind and the original game, so watchat your own risk.

What’s more, Naughty Dog also mentioned a new difficulty mode for The Last Of Us and details on the final DLC drop. While no details were mentioned as of yet, I expect that this new difficulty setting will be even more challenging than Survivor mode, which was already brutal to say the least.

“It is chock full of multiplayer goodness with new maps, new weapons, new skills, and also a brand new difficulty mode for the single player campaign.”

The Last Of Us was a very fun and intense multiplayer experience, though it had a few setbacks that took away from any potential longevity it could’ve offered. The game featured only a few weapons, six maps, and two game modes, so it was very easy to get tired of the repetition. Naughty Dog did release a DLC pack containing four new maps and a new game-mode, but we were never offered more weapons or skills, so this should be the DLC we’ve been itching for.