For the past few years the world of politics and gaming have been in a constant clash, dividing communities among ideologies, sparking small grass-root movements, and alienating fanbases. However, one content creator wants to change all of that. YouTuber Jeremy Hambly, who runs the channels UnsleevedMedia and TheQuartering is launching a new gaming forum with a goal in mind, "no politics only fun."
"Are there any video game or gaming related forums left on the planet that aren't politically charged in one direction or another. Why does it seem that people have to pick a side. I don't understand, when I want to talk about Red Dead Redemption I don't want to talk about how it relates to Trump. I want to talk about the game... If I want to talk about the Warhammer RPG, I want to talk about Skaven, what part of that has to do with Hillary Clinton? I think there's room out there for a forum that just has a simple policy, no politics only fun. You can argue about whatever you want as long as it's on topic and that's it. Period. None. If you want to talk about politics go anywhere else. You want to enjoy your game, you want to enjoy talking about your game, you want to enjoy your hobby, you want to enjoy talking about your hobby. Why isnâ€™t there a place like this?"
- From TheQuartering video "Giant RPG Forum (RPG.net) Bans ALL Pro Trump Talk"
According to Hambly, the forum, exclusivelygames.com, will be officially announced and released to the public on December 1st of this year. Covering a wide range of games from video games, retro games, card games, board games, and more. The website is also set to have a few designated paid writers for generation of non-political gaming content.
The forum's creation comes after the recent news of a large forum, RPG.net, banning any support for the current US Presidential Administration. In an official blog post, which has since been deleted, the website outlined the new policy, stating that, "We are certainly not banning conservative politics, or anything on the spectrum of reasonable political viewpoints." Later warning users that, "...if your profile picture is yourself in a MAGA hat, this might be a good time to change it." An archive of the RPG.net blog post is available here.
When asked if his forum's creation is related to the RPG.net story, Hambly responded with, "This story put the the idea in my head yes, but, overall it's a response to trying to protect escapism."
For this article I also contacted other gaming content creators and developers to see what they feel is the current state of politics in the gaming sphere. Specifically on political groups and ideologies that have been injecting themselves into gaming, if "the current state of politics in the gaming sphere" was too broad.
As of the time of publication only one responded back, SidAlpha, a content creator who provides gaming news, reviews, industry analyses, and first impressions. His full statement is below.
"You see, when it comes to a topic like that it's never really all that simple but ultimately it comes down to the concept of injecting or forcing politics or, to actually refer to the proper term of what people TREAT as politics: Social ideology. The idea of forced inclusivity or the concept of injecting one's own social or political ideology not into a video game itself, but into Gaming as a form of entertainment and of expression. Copyright © 2018 Fotisi. All Rights Reserved.
You see this all too often in recent days with the far left, or what I tend to refer to as the social ideologues. The sort of person that engages in identitarian politics and authoritarianism based on their own ideology.
I think it is important to remember what a video game is, or rather what a video game CAN be. It can be literally anything in the world. A video game itself CAN be political or push a social agenda if the developer of that game so chooses. However, many on the left misconstrue this to mean that ALL games not only can be political or push an agenda, but that they should. More importantly, that it should push THEIR agenda and no one else's. This is something that I am fundamentally against not only as someone who could be politically labeled as center-right, but as an advocate for consumer-first ideals and as a Gamer.
Many identitarians are unhappy due to the lack of inclusion in some areas, like a game MUST have a non-binary gender option or video gaming in general MUST have a specific number of female protagonist characters without really understanding what it is they are talking about.
First of all, I personally don't CARE if there is a gender non-binary option. It takes nothing away from the game and is a simple drop-down menu. Fine. Whatever. I will simply not use that option. And I apologize if I tend to be a bit all over the place here but this is a pretty wide-ranging topic that can't simply be boiled down to a couple of paragraphs for someone like me that loves the sound of his own voice far more than he probably should.
When you look at the concepts of forced inclusion, however, such as their demanding a higher percentage of females be represented in video games, it makes a lot of presuppositions that simply cannot and will not happen. First, that sort of requirement is at the core of leftist identitarianism, which is the idea of equality of outcome vs. equality of opportunity.
I myself am very egalitarian in those ideas where I expect and strive for everyone having the same opportunities as anyone else, but I do not ascribe to the concept of equality of outcome that dictates no matter what 'X' number of video game protagonists should be female, gender nonbinary, people of color, or anything else. I personally feel that it is up to the individual Games Developers to be able to have the freedom to create the characters how they WANT to create them without being forced to make concessions based upon the enforced ideology of an authoritarian group or ideal.
Also, when you look at the concept of enforced outcomes, this would presuppose that all of the different Games Development Studios and Games Publishers out there would deliberately collaborate and share information in order to ensure that magical 'X' number of characters were represented across the spectrum of video games released. This is an impossibility in any form of market where you have more than a single company. There is competition there and differing ideas that should not and cannot be forced into line with the enforcement if identitarianism.
Quite frankly, not only is the notion preposterous, it would be impossible to achieve.
A video game can be anything you want it to be, but Video GAMES in general are already so widely diverse in literally every conceivable aspect that enforced ideology is ultimately a struggle in futility. I think to do so is the epitome of foolishness and would result in such homogenization that there would be a point reached where Gamers would reach a breaking point.
Video games are, ultimately, a form of entertainment that the far left feels SHOULD be weaponized against their social and political opponents, just like they feel everything else should be as well. This is nothing new in the U.S. in particular, but it is something to not only be wary of but be terrified about. They will continue to push because they have become quite accustomed to getting their own way by acting like petulant children and throwing tantrums. I would urge anyone being pressured by such identitarian ideologues to not give them what they want. Games Developers should absolutely be able to retain their creative freedom with the games they design and Gamers should be able to remain free to play the games they want to play without being force-fed a social or political ideology not their own.
To put it into simple terms, Politics has no place in Gaming as a whole and it's continued push by the social crusaders does each and every Gamer AND Developer in the world an extreme disservice."