Do we really have a choice?
What is Ideology? According to Merriam Webster dictionary one of the definitions of Ideology is “a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture”. A summation of what an individual being is and believes. We can see that from this definition of Ideology everyone has a specific set of views of the world. History has shown the most well known Ideologies come from people in power which suppress or blind the view of everyone else that is in submission to that power. How does this relate to video games? The essay by Matt Garite “The Ideology of Interactivity” brings to light the issue about how games have choices that have consequences when really, it just feels that way. The player subjects him/herself to the views of the developers that made the game, making the “freedom of choice” an illusion, making the player work for instead of with the game.
“The avatar’s actions are determined by the player to the same extent that the player’s actions are themselves determined by the program.” (Ideology of Interactivity 7) In the game Gods Will Be Watching the player is controlling a character called Sgt. Burden, him and his crew are trapped in a planet that contains a deadly virus. The goal is to repair a radio which is supposed to send a message to the rescue ship in a certain number of days while trying to keep the rest of the crew members alive. Mr. Burdens crew consists of individuals with different expertise like a Doctor or Psychiatrist, this is an example in which Ideologies might be challenged. Someone might argue the need to prioritize the life of the doctor since he is the only one that can make a cure for the deadly virus, someone else might say that the engineer might be the most important crew member since without him repairing the radio is going to be an almost impossible job. What’s really interesting is the question whether if any of what the player thinks even matter.
The games’ foundation and way of unfolding is essentially already done in its code or instructions in which the engine that the game is being played on follows without any exceptions. If everything is set in stone, does the player at any point in time get the chance of interacting with the game the way they want or does the player interact with the game the way the developer wants? This is what Gartie talks about in his analysis of interactivity in video games. “The game is therefore like a virus—it uses players to replicate its code.”(Ideology of Interactivity 10)
Garite, Matt. “The Ideology of Interactivity (or Video Games and Taylorization of Leisure).” Level Up Conference Proceedings, Utrecht: University of Utrecht, November, 2003.
Gods Will Be Watching (Deconstructeam, 2014)
“Ideology.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.