Why You Should Not Trust the Government (In Video Games)

Why You Should Not Trust the Government (In Video Games)

It's easy to see why so many people disapprove of government. It controls things like how much you pay in taxes, the quality of medical coverage grandma gets, and even how much each of your children is worth to the future economy. When you think about it, the government is a scary entity. Plenty of game developers have picked up on this fairly rational fear/hatred of our own government, and it has been exploited as a plot device in many a game. No matter what your political leanings, fictionalized governments are almost always evil. Here are five reasons why you shouldn't trust them.

Historically, They Tend to Favor the Bad Guys

Plenty of games have come out in recent years with a historical backdrop, and in almost all of them, you have to fight against a government that is corrupted by "the bad guys" in some way. A great example of this is Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood, where the mafia-esque Borgia family rules the government and ensures that all their Templar friends get preferential treatment. Our main man Ezio was literally burned out of town when he first arrived in Rome, but through the events of the game he fought back against the government, won the will of the people, and led a ten-year war against the family to help return Rome to its people.

Why You Should Not Trust the Government (In Video Games)

You're Just a Grunt Anyway

Because the government is oh-so-good at surveillance, they have a knack for picking out talented individuals. And no, we're not talking about people who play the trombone exceptionally well. We're talking about people that are easily brainwashed and can be turned from star athlete into fighting machine. Games from the Killzone series as well as Call of Duty show us that just because you are singled out for greatness, it doesn't exactly mean the government's motives are pure. In fact, they probably just want to use up all your "talent" and then throw you back in the pile.

You May Be a Created Experiment

In the original BioShock, underwater mastermind (and certifiable lunatic) Andrew Ryan tells you that you are his genetically modified son and you were raised from infancy (only a few short years ago) to be a slave. Though you weren't technically in service of the government, if Rapture hadn't fallen so magnificently you probably would have been. Add that to the scores of games that feature unknowing clones and androids, and you've got yourself a virtual Blade Runner scenario where nothing is as it seems and your motivations may just be some rogue binary code. It's a scary thought, and one that certainly resounds with gamers as well as the general public. Now go stare in the mirror and assure yourself you are indeed human.

They Need You on Their Side

When you are dealing with a big organization like the government, the needs of the many far outweigh the needs of the few. And if you can accomplish the government's ends, they are more than happy to sacrifice you in the process. Look at the Mass Effect series. Cerberus wasn't exactly made up of the most savory people, but there was a war going on and you had to pick a side. The government needs people to do their dirty work, and when that need is great enough, they say and do just about anything to make it seem worth your while. But don't be fooled, it's probably not.

Why You Should Not Trust the Government (In Video Games)

They Probably Just Want to Kill Everyone Anyway

In what is probably the most famous example of the government's irrational need to cover up bad events by just getting rid of the evidence, the Resident Evil series truly shows how evil the government can be. Though the first two games in the series involve some dirty cops and other miscellaneous people corrupted by Umbrella Corp, it isn't until Resident Evil 3 that we learn that the government has been in bed with Umbrella Corp all along and plans to destroy Raccoon City completely. It's a chilling revelation to be sure, and the fact that the government does succeed in their plot shows us how helpless we all are when faced with an all-powerful, all-knowing centralized government. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you will be wiped out, and there's nothing anyone can do to save you.

Modern politics are more theater than anything else, but I think sometimes it takes a video game to remind us that all may not be as it seems. Of course, I'm not saying Barack Obama is ready to bust down your door and force you to go kill a few nuclear scientists, but what I am saying is that having a little distrust in the government is a good thing. Video games may present some extreme scenarios, but they can also make you think. And that's not a bad thing.

Amanda L. Kondolojy
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: February 10, 2012

*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*

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