Ready to riot?
The political landscape is so often one that can reduce people to feelings of hopelessness. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why, among a myriad of other less palatable reasons, games so often avoid it. But they’re missing a trick. Games are a fantastic medium for release, why on earth shouldn’t they give us some of the agency in politics we often crave? You can also vote in real life too of course, always vote!
As always, indie games are a fantastic ground for experimenting with the issues that are usually kept well away from the arena of games. In September, we saw this perfectly demonstrated with American Election, an interactive narrative that sees you follow the trajectory of an oppressive and manipulative future president. The interactive narrative format makes the game more of an experience of oppression than an attempt to solve or overthrow it.
They Came From a Communist Planet takes a very different approach with a similar topic. The reaction to oppression here is to throw a molotov cocktail at your oppressor. It’s certainly a journey in catharsis. They Came From a Communist Planet describes itself as a “riot game” where you are stuck on an Earth sick with late capitalist hopelessness and greed. But all that changes when aliens from a communist planet arrive to spread the word of socialism, and a better possible life. The game then becomes a riot simulator of sorts, seeing you face up against water cannons, tear gas and riot police. As you protest, you unlock more areas on the city in a Metroidvania-Lite style.
Kate has been gaming since she could control a mouse. In addition to having a penchant for indie games, Kate had a World of Warcraft account when she was far too young, and has a weakness for any game with ‘RPG’ in the description.