We confront enemies, war, and clones in our discussion of Battlefield 3 maps and screaming in Spaceteam
Built to Play's had a chance to explore the ways games and interactive art can bring us closer together, but like any other medium they also have the power to tears us apart. Not just in the tribal sense either. Conflicts between whether a particular console is better than another are vacuous affairs, and rarely do friendships end over having bought an Xbox One over a Wii U. Multiplayer pits us against each other and while it's usually part of amiable competition, many players don't see it that way. They call the SWAT team on players they dislike. They call other players racial epithets.
But what if a game could make us against a whole region? Since military shooters started taking place in the near future, there's been a big focus on the Middle East and Russia. It's easy to acknowledge that the narratives in these games are frivolous sub-The Expendables attempts at storytelling, but those story maps become multiplayer maps. That's when these games, which have levels in Karachi, Tehran, and various parts of Afghanistan, leave the player to form an opinion about the place they're fighting in.
Sometimes games lead to enemies not because of their content, but because of the people who made them. Cloning someone else's work is an easy way to lose a few friends and end up in court. Or maybe a game never set out to be competitive, but let to screaming matches anyway.
For all of these examples and more, take a listen to the newest episode, which contains the following segments:
- Johan Hoglund of Linnaeus University wrote about the ways in which games can normalize the perception of the Middle East as a place of violence. He recently wrote a book called The American Imperial Gothic: Popular Culture, Empire, Violence. Starts 0:20.
- Daniel Rosen brings us stories from the video game industry, like EA's promise to not buy new companies, Target Australia taking Grand Theft Auto V off their shelves, and our PlayStation memories. Starts 11:50.
- Bob Tarantino and Conrad Lee tell us about the trials and tribulations around game cloning, and how it's changed over the last 30 years. Starts 37:50.
- Henry Smith devised a comedy game that's been giving him strange reviews. "Your game caused me to get a divorce! A++ would buy again." Starts 47:50
Update: Conrad Lee would prefer not to be contacted at the twitter account presented in the show. The link has been corrected to reflect this.