- The Hidden Politics Of Counter-Strike 1.6
- by The Class Conscious Gamer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- "Remember, terrorism is the surgical strike capability of the oppressed. Keep on keepin' on!"
- -Man selling T-shirts, Slacker, 1991
- As an Anarcho-Foyeurist and political radical in general I thoroughly believe politics penetrates every corner of the mind and every facet of society. As such I do not believe
- there to be a single work of art or creation of man untouched by some form of ideology, no matter how small or how big. To this end, today I'll be writing about what I have
- analyzed to be an underlying ideology in the video game "modification" cum retail product Counter-Strike (coloquially referred to among gamers as Counter-Strike 1.6).
- To give a sort of context of the meta-game surrounding the particulars (the scenarios or game avatars players are given to choose from) it seems necessary
- to explain the available modes of play (each revolving around a different facet of terrorism). In the retail version of Counter-Strike 3 different modes are included.
- Demolition scenarios revolve around the "terrorist" side having a bomb that they must plant at 1 of 2 objectives that they then must ensure detonates by protecting them for
- a period of time after they set the bomb to explode. The hostage rescue scenarios require the Counter-Terrorist team to lead non-player controlled hostage characters
- to an "escape" zone after rescuing them from the terrorists to win the round. There is also a rarely played assassination mode which only has one included scenario in unmodified
- Counter-Strike 1.6, the objective of which is for the Counter-Terrorists to lead a player controlled character known as the "VIP" to an escape zone while the terrorists
- attempt to kill him.
- The scenarios that players are allowed to choose from in Counter-Strike (referred to by gamers as "levels" or "maps") include the aforementioned assassination of a VIP
- aboard an oilrig, Counter-Terrorists raiding an airport to rescue hostages aboard a landed jet, terrorists bombing all manner of nondescript buildings, bombing Aztec ruins,
- bombing a tourist attraction, taking hostages in nondescript buildings, and so on. The narrative framing that accompanies SOME of the scenarios (some have no narrative at all!)
- generally paint the terrorist side as comically evil and wanting to destroy things and hurt people for no concrete reason. By juxtaposing a thoroughly childish idea of what
- causes terrorism (if any cause is given at all besides wanton destruction) with the realistic aesthetic (the graphics were decent for the time the game was released) of
- terrorists striking an area and killing people easily reveals the prejudices of the designers. To think an organized group of people would set out to do large amounts of
- material or physical harm for no meaningful reason to a population or government is pure Western fallacy. To craft a work based on these ignorant ideas is tantamount to
- creating propaganda.
- Even more telling than some of these scenarios, and indeed probably the entire game's most tacit approval of racist Western imperialism, are the characters of each team in the
- game (known as "terrorists" and "counter-terrorists"). On the side of the "counter-terrorists" we have the much lauded Seal Team 6, the German GSG-9, the famous British SAS,
- and France's GIGN. These require no real further explanation as you can read about the real-life forces these are based on, and the deeds they have done, and draw your own
- conclusions from there.
- On the all-fictional "terrorist" team you can choose to play as the "Phoenix Connexion" described as operating out of eastern Europe, the "Elite Crew" described by the game as such:
- "Middle Eastern fundamentalist group bent on world domination and various other evil deeds." The "Arctic Avengers" from Sweden, and "Guerilla Warfare" which again I
- will print the in-game description: "A terrorist faction founded in the Middle East, this group has a reputation for ruthlessness. Their disgust for the American
- lifestyle was demonstrated in their 1982 bombing of a school bus full of Rock and Roll musicians."
- Quite telling how the only terrorists from Western areas are completely drawn from the makers imagination and the rest are... from the Middle East. And hate "Freedom" and are
- "Fundamentalists". Combine this with the fact that the terrorists (at least in Counter-Strike's designer's understanding) never strike for any real reason and are just out to
- kill people and blow things up and you start to put together the designer's milquetoast and neoliberal understanding of geopolitics and the oppressed people of the planet.
- Opposite of the terrorist team are Orwell's "rough men who stand ready to fight" and de-facto "good guys", various Western military and police groups.
- Indeed, Counter-Strike even created in the late 90's describes today in 2014 the game industry's general line of politics regarding anything but the latest small surge of
- liberal feminism, with it's tacit and unthinking approval of imperialist force and Liberal approved Bill Maher-style casual racism. What I've written here easily applies
- to many politically generic and mechanically boring shooters that are being designed as we speak or have recently been released, making this not just a "critiqueing nostalgia"
- thinkpiece but also showing that the game industry, though specifically shooters, has barely moved one iota into any critical arena and is still by and large masturbatory military
- pornography and a reflection of the boring ideas of the people who both design and play them.
a guest Apr 17th, 2014 38 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
RAW Paste Data