Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Lesson In Revolutionary Politics From Video Games

I realize something today about revolutionaries, and this realization can be entirely attributed to video games.

I saw trailer of Just Cause 2, and I was thinking how much fun it would be to actually take over a country in a revolutionary action. I mean, I'm in the process of taking over a planet in Red Faction: Guerilla, but I'm not really the leader--more the main ass-kicker, really. So the idea of actually leading a revolution is entirely appealing.

Then I thought about how much fun it would be to lead a revolution in an action game, but then be able to run the country in a real-time strategy game. So you go from Just Cause to Tropico.

It was at that moment that I understood, more fully than ever before, why revolutionaries succeed and then fail. It's because they're switching genres. They take over the country in a third-person (or first person) action game, but then they have to play an RTS to govern the country.

That's an entirely different gaming skill set. It's much easier to wreck than to build, and not only do they have to build, they also have to stop all those first-person action heroes who want to lead their own revolution.

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