Politics, there’s hardly any other word that can make me sigh more than it. Radio, television, internet; these are all places where politics rears its ugly head and it’s something I get tired of fairly quickly. At least from the mainstream aspect of things.
When I pick up a video game controller, I can be secure in knowing that it’s one place I’ll be safe from political advertising. Or is it? It has been reported that Obama has launched an ad campaign that will see his ads plastered over a slew of EA titles. The most notable is in Burnout Paradise, where Obama’s ad/face will be featured on many of the billboards in the virtual city. This makes me sad personally because I really like Burnout: Paradise, and I don’t want political advertising making its presence known there.
I’ve been against a lot of in-game advertising since its conception. I know some will say it adds to ‘immersiveness’ of the games, but do we really play video games to feel more in the real world? I know that when I put a game disc into my system, I’m doing it to become part of something outside the conventions of the real world. In Burnout: Paradise for example, it’s all about driving cars really fast and in some instances pulling off crazy aerial stunts. So when I’m doing 3 aerial flips with my Ferrari looking sports car, do I really want to see Obama’s face and be reminded of what’s happening in the real world?
In game advertising before this latest example was all about selling products. Now its shifted to getting a political message out to the masses. And I’m not talking about in-game politics, but real life politics. Which to me, there’s nothing more sad and depressing than the current political system.
So, I’ve expressed my general feelings towards Obama’s political advertising. Now where does my frustration and anger need to be directed at? Should I completely blame Obama for wanting to get his message out to gamers? Even though he’s mentioned before that people need to get off their couches and stop playing games. Or is it EA who’s profiting off Obama’s big dollars and they’re the ones to blame?
The truth of the matter is that the problem even goes beyond Obama and EA. But to encompass the overlying problems would require more than just one blog post, so let’s keep the focus just on these two. In this situation both are sharing my anger and frustration equally. My main anger towards Obama is the statements he’s made about video gaming in the past, yet he doesn’t mind trying to score some votes through its advertising. EA gets the brunt of my anger because even though Obama paid for the adspace, there had to be someone else out there that was willing to pay equal to what he was offering. Specifically companies without a political agenda.
People who aren’t into video games will probably say I’m over dramatizing the situation. As a gamer who’s been going strong for about 20+ years, I think I have a cause for anger, and concern. Like I mentioned earlier, video games are one of my great escapes from political agendas, and ideas, and basically everything that sucks about the real world (I’ve overused it haven’t I?). So when a media platform that I love and enjoy starts to adopt this kind of advertising, I can’t rightfully sit by and not voice concern.
Ok, I think I’ve went on a political rant long enough. For those who think I’m trying to pick on Obama please know that if this were McCain I would be writing the same article with a different name at the beginning.