Tag Archives: Cold War

#304 The Presidential Console Cycle

Boom! It has been a full weekend since Microsoft’s Xbox One went live and both consoles came out of the base swinging with the announcement that the PS4 and XBox One sold a million products within their first 24 hours (I do wonder what is the percent of PS360 players that bought new consoles on day and did the percent increase since last generation).

I was going to do a prediction on who will win but all the research I have done everyone else said the same thing. Unless the XBox One  releases a Deux Machina patch that doubles the resolution of all of their games Sony has secured the upper hand in marketing and multi-platforms titles.

This is the first time I have been following the lead up and launch of new consoles and looking back on the entire saga reminds me a lot of the United States Presidential election cycle. If you follow me on this blog, on Twitter, or in real life it is not hard to notice that I love talking about politics and I have almost no problem connecting everything to politics in one way or another.

 Hey its a way to validate my four years in college to earn my BA in Political Science.

That’s right I’m kicking off this Monday with another political/gaming blog post. But hey it’s a way to validate the four years it took me to earn my degree in Political Science.

Each side, Microsoft and Sony, starts months or years in advance getting to work behind the scenes crafting the concept of their newest candidate that is supposed to appeal to everyone. With the lead up to the official announcement there are some juicy leaks and rumors while everyone and their dog starts throwing around their speculations of the new products and the current base starts getting hyped again for some new blood and innovation and what it means for the future after it is all said and done.

This goes on for a few months, and even if all of our guesses are right we still have to wait until the official ceremony with the press and viewers a like are invited to tune in as the announcement of the new candidate is made.

If you pay attention the PS4/XB1 reveal were almost the same as the democrats and republican nomination ceremony. Picture from The New York Times

If you pay attention the PS4/XB1 reveal were almost the same as the Democrats and Republican nomination ceremony.
Picture from The New York Times

Then in the final stretch to the big day, that will decide who will win, the two sides pulls out the big guns; the major press releases about each one’s policies, the marketing money, and the ad space on the important TV channels and websites all for the one purpose of showing off the product in the best light and swaying the vital few who are on the fence this time around while doing everything in the company’s power to get the third-party companies to support them post launch. All the while the fanboys on both sides tear each other apart on the internet forums with logical fallacies.

Birthers. XBONE. PS4 has no games. seeing Russia from my house. 47%

Birthers. XBONE. PS4 has no games. Seeing Russia from my house. 47% ect.

The main difference between an US political election and the next generation console war is that both parties in the console war gets to have their product win. After the launch both Microsoft and Sony then enter a friendly Cold War while the rest of us comes to terms with the unfilled promises from the campaign.

yeah tell me that they did it for the gamer not for the companies

Tell me with a straight face that they didn’t tweet this for the free PR from the press and not for the other company

P.S Lest I forget in this comparison the Nintendo Wii U is like the winner of the local elections, the only place where real innovation and change happens without the threat of big money and market testers watering it down. And the PC is like the Illuminati as in it is as old as dirt, longest lasting party, and does everything the main two consoles can do but better all the while pulling all the strings in the industry.

Everyone laughed at the Nintendo's past two consoles but who's laughing now? Not the people who now have to hook up their Kinects and out this Fridays buying vistas for their PS4 dual screen mechanics

Everyone laughed at the Nintendo’s past two consoles but who’s laughing now? Not the people who now have to hook up their Kinects to their TVs and going out this Fridays to buy Vitas for their PS4 dual screen gameplay mechanics


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#285 Russia, Videogames, and Propaganda

A blog that I follow, After Dark Gaming, recently brought to my attention a news story reporting that Russia’s government is making plans to create their own state-funded videogame. This includes plans to give government grants to local private companies in order to promote Russian history and patriotism.

This is quite an interesting story for me because being a student of Political Science, one of my favorite aspects of politics and history is government propaganda during the Second World War and the Cold War.

As an New Englander with left-wing tendencies, I respect my government and the programs the government provides (from highways to schools and even Healthcare), but from having studied history and from reading several choice books I am hesitant when it comes to government-funded programs to promote patriotism. This is because I’ve learned that in government, there tends to always be two sides to every story. 

I say this because I have been scorn I too many time by terrible PSA and propaganda clips, here's looking at you Disney

b I say this because I have seen one too many terrible PSAs and propaganda clips, here’s looking at you Disney

 

I do not want to jump the gun with this topic because we currently do not know what kind of game the Russian government is creating. From a pop culture point of view, this is not a completely unexpected response from Russia if you consider the plots of major games American companies have made in recent years. The Russian government has said that the goal of this program is to set the record straight on what exactly the Russian Army did throughout World History. The first state funded videogame will be focused on the birth and development of the Russian army during the first World War and is slated to be ready some time next year.

The big question that I have is what kind of game could it be? While a point and click adventure game seems like the standard choice for delivering a history lesson about Russia, it would not be that popular for young Russian gamers and I do not know how well a First Person Shooter game would be received in the post-Cold War political-correctness world we live in.  Also history does not allow much wiggle room when it comes to player interaction, as an example, no matter how good I am at the game I could (and should) never be able turn the tide at the battle at Bunker Hill during the American Revolution.

History does not allow much wiggle room when it comes to player interaction, so no matter how good I am at the game I could never turn the tide at the battle of Bunker Hill. Although I would gladly pay for a game that lets me play the life and adventures of President Teddy Roosevelt.

Although I would gladly pay for a game that lets me play the life and adventures of President Teddy Roosevelt.

 

Even with that being said I am very interested in following the game’s development, what message it gives the players, and more importantly how well the game actually plays. As intriguing as the game’s story line could be and because historical accuracy needs to be maintained, a  game is only as good as the controls,  gameplay, and delivery of the story.

The more important question is; does this sets a precedent for other Western Superpowers to make their own games to rally their citizen’s patriotism or educate about the nation’s past? I ask this because the Russian government has acknowledged the fact that videogames can be used to teach, educate and entertain citizens. How effective this will be remains to be seen.
Source: “Russian Government to Produce ‘Patriotic’ Video Games


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#183 Can there be peace on Azeroth?

It is Valentine’s Day weekend and as tradition instead of spending the three days alone, locked in my room eating chocolates in my sweatpants. I head down to Boston in my political clothes and participate in Harvard National Model United Nations  (HNMUN) conference.

HNMUN is a huge four-day event that invites Model United Nations clubs from colleges all over the world to professionally dress up and peacefully address the current world problems on the behalf of the country that they were assigned.

 

hnmun2013logo

 

This year I get to represent the nation of Dominica and I am in the committee to find a solution to the issue of aging population in Third World Nations.

As I see people from different parts of the world, coming together to discuss their opinions and concerns of their nation while trying to find a solution that everyone can agree on. I tend to think about the age-old question that everyone has thought about at least one point in their life.

“Can there ever be world peace…on Azeroth?” Yes this question has been pondered -I assume- by most of the player’s  while playing and now that we have an expansion all about the conflict I think now is the appropriate time to talk about it.

I am going to discuss at World of Warcraft’s world peace because this is a World of Warcraft blog and Azerothian politics is much easier to talk about since it only has two factions and both sides admit that they are at war with each other.

Before I begin I would like to say that the short answer is of course, No. This is a videogame that Blizzard wants to people to continue playing and because of that there must always be conflict for the players to be apart of.

I have written before about Warcraft and politics and I also asked what type of war the Horde and Alliance are in, which you can read here in Be MOP #87. In that post I proposed that the current Warcraft conflict can best be compared to our first World War, with the two sides fighting each other for pride and to prevent the other from gathering and resources to gain to upper hand.

There are two common ways to end a war and try to find World Peace after the last cannon was fired. The first solution to end the war and finding world peace is the utter destruction and humiliation of the enemy. I wouldn’t be surprising anyone if I said that this is the option that I see the Horde is trying to achieve.

This was how the Allies of World War I (Britain, France, United States) acted after defeating Germany in the first World War. In the post-war treaties the Allies forced Germany to admit that they were defeated, that they were the bad guys in the war, and forced them to pay for the entire cost of the war for both sides. The treaty completely destroyed Germany’ sending the entire nation into an economical and emotional depression.

The Horde would most likely to use this method after winning the war (with Garrosh’s current outlook on life and the Alliance) They could achieve this type of victory by having Garrosh completely disreguard any bit of conscience he has and utilize another controversial method of getting the upper hand, like finding another Destiny Bell.

 

Garrosh won't be happy until he as Stromwind as his personal summer castle.

Garrosh won’t be happy until he as Stromwind as his personal summer castle.

 

The other, more civil, option that Warcraft’s war could end is to have one side win the war and immediately try to work about a military and economical deal for the future.

The Allies used this method after WWI with invading Berlin, nullifying the threat, and then went straight to work  to get Germany back on its feet and have a propose a trade deal with France. That Coal and Steel trade agreement eventually evolved into the famous, Noble Peace prize-winning, European Union that has successfully prevented any wars to erupt on European soil.

The question of how this would work in Warcraft is by having the Alliance initiate this deal. The best possible time for an economic trade deal to form between the two factions would be right after we invade the Horde capital. Ideally, once the Alliance/raiders defeat Garrosh just like the  Earth’s Allies, the Alliance will need to replace the current leader for someone who is more forgiving more open-minded to the Alliance, that isn’t Thrall.

or atleast serve Garrosh a huge slice of Humble Pie.

or at least serve Garrosh a huge slice of Humble Pie.

Now that the Alliance have knocked down the Horde member’s ego down a peg the important thing to do is to offer a hand to help them back up again. If Blizzard wanted to go down this road they would need to introduce an other greater, absolute, evil that both sides will have to work together to overcome. like another demon based expansion.

 

Just like how the Allies reluctantly worked with West Germany to fight against the invading Communist threat during the Cold War.

 

Will Blizzard’s game developers go with this option? I doubt it, as stated before that taking the WAR out of World of Warcraft would be a terrible option, shooting their cash cow with a critical hit

And Blizzard has stressed that fact that they want to get the game’s focus back on the Human and Orc conflict that the first three Warcraft games. Blizzard also seem to have heard the complaints of the past expansions where the last content patch constantly asked both sides to put their differences aside and join together to defeat Illidan, Arthus or DeathWing.

I don’t think that Blizzard will go back to the big baddie expansion model just after one expansion of forging a new path for the game. But if the Alliance and Horde War ends and peace does emerge you will know that I will be writing about the political importance of the event and drawing more parallel to Earth’s history.

 


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#166 The Tipping Point in the Horde’s war in Pandaria

Over the weekend I decided to reread the Watchmen comic book series and while I was enjoying the epic tale of the politics around a murder mystery in a re-imagined Cold War America with masked vigilantes, my mind wandered towards Warcraft.

Oh....its such a good book

Oh….it’s such a good book

I talked before about the politics of World of Warcraft on this blog multiple times, one of which is figuring out what type of war Azeroth is currently in (Be MOP #87) and while the Horde and Alliance are in an active war the set up and of the two factions have some connections to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Horde and Alliance are  two equal political and military forces trying to build bases and gather resources in a new land while recruiting the natives to fight against each other with the weapons provided by each side (see my post of the Proxy-war in the Jade Forest Be MOP #56)

But as history has taught us, no war can last forever. A war that is constantly forcing each side to gather more and more limited resources while simultaneously asking them to fund the unlimited desire to destroy the enemy is not an ideal political or economical model. Something has to happen, a tipping point, that makes one side start to falter and ends up either losing the war or begin the collapse of their government.

In Watchmen the tipping point of the Cold War was when Dr. Manhattan, The United States’s greatest weapon in the atomic arms race, leaves the planet allowing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan and set up their plans to conquer the rest of Europe.

In real life, the tipping point was when America launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (aka the Star Wars Project) forcing the soviets, who were dealing with a fragile economy, to spend more money on their nuclear weapons in the hopes of winning the arms race, rather than funding programs to feed and educate it’s people.

Politics, World of Warcraft, AND Star Wars? what more could you ask from a blog post?

Politics, World of Warcraft, AND Star Wars? what more could you ask from a blog post?

But in WoW, we do not know what the tipping point is, we know that there is going be one and we do know how the war is going to end thanks to Blizzard. Lets just day we are not expecting the Horde and Alliance to come knocking down the doors of Varian Wrynn’s throne room any time soon. Patch 5.1 has some build up to the tipping point. with Garrosh using the Sha on his own orcs and the scenario surrounding Vol’jin.

My guess is that the tipping point for the Horde will be the penultimate content patch, with a major controversial event approved by Garrosh. This will give the players enough time to get angry at Garrosh and justifying the raid on Orgrimmar, which (I assume) will then change the political structure of the Horde followed by a change in the relationship between the Horde and Alliance which we see develop in WoW’s next expansion.


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Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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