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Discourse about Discourse part. 2 putting politics in the marios

Started by droqen, August 11, 2022, 06:58:56 PM

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Goddamn it I wasn't going to write a post about this but I actually have some thoughts I wanna record so here I go


I agree with most things and disagree with a few. The harshest thought I have is about the ending, and I suppose also the title?

Quotei think it is important to ask the question of whether making a given game or art piece with a political message is the most impactful way one can participate to the struggle, and whether it will effect meaningful change or simply act as a pacifying agent for a privileged class with a guilt complex.
Organize, educate yourself, wage struggle outside of games! Don't shoehorn politics into your marios!! They're marios!!!!

To keep myself from focusing on a strawman I need to include this quote from earlier about pol's position:

QuoteThis isn't to say noone should set out to deliver political teachings through the medium of games - like all media games can be a fertile tool to educate, articulate, mobilize etc. But such political games should generally be political from the get go, with a clear articulation of how the form and the political content respond to each other; and they should also be cognizant of the production and distribution systems they fit into (more on that below). If your motive and expertise lie in 2D platformers with a mechanical gimmick, i think it's good to remain cold-headed about your motivations for that and the scope of your work.

Alright, so in the context of this second (chronologically first) quote I can understand where pol is coming from, specifically marios is referring to 2D platformers with a mechanical gimmick; taken more broadly, marios is referring to the sort of games which I have been internally chafing and railing against lately,  games whose primary focus is... I don't want to say "their gameplay" but for lack of a better term I will say games whose primary focus is their gameplay.


Given this context, I'll translate, para-rephrase, Pol's position for myself:

Don't shoehorn politics into games that are about something else.

It's funny... I think in Cruel World I ended up shoehorning non-politics into a game that was about politics. ("politics".) I learned the lesson the hard way and in reverse. I genuinely regret it. Everyone talked about how the platforming was fun and cool! So I wanted to do it justice. But Cruel World was always about something very specific, and I feel like treating it as my capitalist job wound up undercutting its message.

Quote(in practice, if making games is your capitalist job there is a hard limit to the genuine political material you can communicate through it - and if you do, it'll likely be coopted.)


It's not particularly funny. I regret it. But hey, live and learn. I'm glad I can refer back to that error because if I didn't have this regret I would find it harder to understand this particular problem in the moment, now; ... ... I wanted to write some kind of summary of my regret and the LEssons Learned but I don't think I can.