We can all learn a thing or two about how virtual worlds keep it real.
In recent history and especially in the West, discussions regarding the politics of video games have been wild and widespread — whether it’s LGBT representation in ‘Overwatch’, the portrayal of war in war games, or the debate of defining competitive gameplay as an actual sport. And yet there are some (and by some we mean the misogynist, gatekeeping boys club of modern geek culture) who still refuse to believe that politics (and by extension, social justice) and video games have anything to do with each other.
But this ain’t up for debate guys: insofar as politics concerns itself with how power is acquired, preserved, and distributed, video games are definitely political — certainly as political as other art forms like film and television. It’s so important to acknowledge this that the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery, is holding an interactive art exhibit all about the subject.
Simply titled Games and Politics, the exhibit is set to tomorrow, September 12. It will feature 18 different video games from different consoles, each tackling a certain political issue. A PC game entitled ‘This War of Mine’ drops the player into an urban war zone, playing not a soldier, which is usually the case, but a civilian struggling to survive. Another game called ‘Perfect Woman’ of the Xbox One Kinect has players match poses with the woman on screen. And yes, you as a visitor will get to play these games.
The exhibition also feature lectures and panel discussions. On the 13th, you can attend a panel discussion called The Leisurely Legislation: The Impact of Video Games on Politics, Society, and Culture, which has the honor of including Bam Aquino (who is known to be pretty vocal about video games in Philippine culture) as a speaker. On October 6 and 7, an exhibition side event called Game Jam, an impromptu game development competition, will take place. The grand prize is apparently free trips to Germany, so y’all best register as soon as you can.
Considering how big a part of our lives gaming is today, Games and Politics is bound to resonate with you, whether you’re a casual mobile device gamer or a hardcore competitive button masher. Because the fact is, games aren’t just entertainment, but ways through which we can deepen our understand of the world IRL. Plus this is finally your chance to bring your DotA-playing friends somewhere artsy.
The opening will take place on September 12, 6:00 p.m., and the entire exhibition will take place from September 13 to October 21. You can RSVP for Games and Politics here. The registration period for Game Jam is from September 12 to 22. Registration can be done online here. For more information, send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.