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March 6th, 2007, 12:53
Originally Posted by Geist View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree on that point. Allegory has been effectively used in works such as Orwell's 1984, Kafka's The Castle, Pratchett's Discworld series and countless others. Fictional worlds are also an excellent vehicle for satire, provided the reader/player has the requisite knowledge and mental capacity to understand the author's intended meaning. It's not the setting, but the skill of the writer that determines the profundity of the message.
But all these named titels do not deal with political, social or religious topics in depth. Take Orwell's 1984 for example. I think it is safe to say that the novel features some kind of police staate that observes, and wants to controll its citizens. But what the novell does is, it gives us a moral statement, but not an objective representation of given realities. One could say that the message of the book is "Police staates are wrong," and "Watch out, dear reader, in what direction the state is developing that you're living in!" It gives us a moral judgement, which isn't a bad thing, but it is also highly superficial.
In reality, things are much more complex. Some topics are less controversial than others - I guess most people would agree that police states, wars, slavery, etc. are bad things - but even here things are getting more difficult, and complex as soon as you leave that very abstract level. Is war really ALWAYS bad? In how far should a state be allowed to observe its citizens in times of high crime, and terrorism? I don't even want to venture into the field of Religion, because it becomes even much more difficult here.
Novels like 1984 are certainly necessary, but their allegoric (and fictional) level usually brings with it a simplification of things that reduces complex themes to a level that allows moral judgement. You also mentioned the genre of satire. It's the same… it's even more obvious here that satire has at its backbone the intention of criticism, but not of objective representation.

I'm not saying all that is wrong, but I'm saying it is nothing new. If Sawyer were talking about all that, then he would ask for something that is already very much happening. There are quite a few games that feature such problems, but they are also doing it on that very reduced level. I'd say that the tendency to simplify is even stronger here, since games (due to their interactivity) are always slaves to gameplay. That is why "Medal of Honor" is certainly not a treatment of the WW II conflict that can be taken seriously.
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