With the news of Donald Trump's recent exploits, or the United Kingdom's Brexit, dominating almost every aspect of the media in today's political climate -- and with video games reaching more audiences than ever before -- it shouldn't be surprising that gaming has become a modern day medium for current political comment.
Whether the genre of the Political Sim in videogames is trying to convey a serious message, or if it chooses the satirical route, modern day gaming is the perfect way to give voice to political opinion by using the playful interactivity of gaming to reach a much wider audience.
Without further ado here are three politically motivated videogames that I think stand out on Steam.
Available for purchase on Steam.
Orwell is a 5 part episodic visual adventure game based on the George Orwell novel 1984. Orwell is the name given to a government internet surveillance system and it is your job to analyse the digital footprint of the citizens that "The Party" has labelled a potential threat.
Orwell is a voyeuristic conspiracy thriller where you will watch a group of political activists and determine who is responsible for a bomb attack. It's a unique approach to storytelling that's full of twists and turns as its plot unfolds.
With Edward Snowden leaking classified NSA files on surveillance programs, the UK passing the current "Snoopers Charter" bill, and paranoia at an all time high Orwell is a perfect representation of the current political affairs in our times.
The Political Machine 2016
Available for purchase on Steam
Being a political sim doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Sometimes satire will draw in fans as much as a medium that tries to make a serious statement. A simulation in gaming is a simplification of a far more complex system, and satirical caricatures can be seen as another simplification through the use of irony and sarcasm. Combining the two in gaming can often work brilliantly.
With the publicity fueled media storm that was the US electoral campaign still very fresh in our minds, The Political Machine 2016 is still very relevant with its humorous take on sweet talking, back tracking or paying your way to votes.
Available for purchase on Steam
Papers, Please is a game by indie developer Lucas Pope that will challenge you, not only in video game terms, but morally as a human being too. You'll have to make decisions and cruel judgements based on the fact that you're "just following orders" from your superiors. As a result the tension this game creates is almost overwhelming at times.
With Donald Trump and Britain's leave campaigners ambitions to build walls and ban immigration, the political message in this incredibly bleak and dark game is more relevant than ever.
Gaming as an entertainment medium like any other, is often a reflection of our time. With what seems like every news, entertainment and social media outlet being full of political opinion, we're also starting to see videogames reflect and convey political messages of their own.
Perhaps more than ever, videogames have the ability to speak to a larger and more mainstream audience. Creating videogames has allowed some developers to have a voice in a more unique and creative way. With games like Papers, Please and Orwell being able to force the player to question themselves on an emotional level, it speaks volumes for videogames as an intelligent medium for political thought.
Do you play games that are politically motivated? Let me know in the comments below.