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Behind the Mechanics: the Conveyance of Political Messages Through Video Games
Gotland University, School of Game Design, Technology and Learning Processes.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study is a response to the growing demand for more critical examinations of the video game as a communicative as well as interactive medium of mass culture. It reflects the game in regard to its potentials and abilities conveying a message to its audience and sets it into a broader discourse of mass communication. The analysis focuses on opinion forming games and their agendas whilst scrutinizing the methods through which certain messages are delivered to the player. The study is primarily based on qualitative research and analyzes the mechanisms of manipulation through examples with an emphasis on the mechanics and rules of the game, its visual aesthetics, its narrative structure and the emotional dimensions of the gameplay. The analysis illustrates that games are effectively used to render the image of war and to frame the enemy in a stereotypical manner in order to match certain political interests. They also function as a recruitment tool for the military as well as for political and ethnic fractions. In addition the study demonstrates the positive potentials of the medium by referring to serious games which offer complex perspectives and profound knowledge about certain topics and encourage the player to aim for creative and constructive solutions in order to finish the game successfully.

The results of the study demonstrate that video games can no longer be categorized as a subculture of entertainment for young men. With the growing acceptance of the medium as a part of mass culture its influence especially on young people had been taken into account by certain groups which made use of the video game to convey their messages to an audience. The analysis shows the inner complexity of the medium and gives examples for attempts to use its potentials by concluding that these efforts are far from being utilized fully. In this regard the study offers impulses for further research which should fill the void and explore the possibilities games provide and how we can make good use of them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
Games, Game Design, Political Messages, Propaganda, War, Stereotypes, Stigmas, Entertainment
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1721OAI: diva2:581378
Subject / course
Game Design
Educational program
Game Design and Graphics
Available from: 2013-01-04 Created: 2013-01-01 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Haglund, Vira
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