Friday, June 25, 2010

Everything within the state, nothing without. Also games. Lots of games.

Today's thoughts:

Today has not been a day for independent or original thought, since I have been preparing for my Politics exam. It is very important to me to do well in this exam, and to prove how well I connect a desire to succeed with actual study, here is a list of all the things I did instead of studying:
Played on guitar
- Bassline from The New by Interpol
- Henrietta by the Fratellis
- Thick as Thieves by Kasabian
- British Legion by Kasabian
Played on piano
- The Pink Panther by Henry Mancini
- Easily by Muse
- Hysteria by Muse
- Futurism by Muse
- Kids by MGMT
- Random improv
- Pussy by Rammstein
- Haifisch by Rammstein
Games played
- Oblivion
- Medieval: Total War
- Deus Ex
- Minesweeper (oh god, so much Minesweeper)
- Solitaire
- MS Pinball
- Hearts (these last four were when I almost studied for a bit)

However, some study must have happened because I learned stuff. Totalitarianism differs from authoritarianism in that the latter only seeks or manages to control the government. Totalitarianism seeks to control society, from arts and culture to the hearts of minds of the populace. Furthermore, while Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism are all totalitarian philosophies, the USSR in the post-Stalin era was not totalitarian but simply an "authoritarian bureaucracy".

Elements of a totalitarian regime, according to Friedrich and Brzeznski, are
- single party system, usually with a single leader
- ideology promoting the creation of the "new man"
- terroristic state police
- inwardly directed economy (desire for autarky or self-sufficiency)
- state control of media and aggressive use of propaganda

Deus Ex truly is an excellent game. Despite the archaic graphics, the world it creates manages to be entirely immersive and believable. It is set around 2052 and while democracy still exists it has withered and corrupted; the people are dying of plague; terrorism is rampant and the government's response has eroded individual freedoms. You play as a nanotechnologically-augmented agent, a prototype in a world where mechanically-augmented humans are common but considered freaks. The game questions whether democracy is inherently flawed and corruption inevitable, whether augmented humans are the next evolutionary step or simply the destruction of the individual and whether terrorism can be justified in the pursuit of liberty. I highly recommend it if you can get a copy of it.

Oblivion is excellent also. Truly a beautiful work of art as well as a compelling gaming experience. But goddammit. They introduced a levelling system which had not existed in previous titles, the idea of which was to make enemies and treasure in the game improve as the player improves so that there is always a challenge. However, the result is that there is no tangible improvement in the player, and if you don't work really hard to exploit the game then enemies will soon become far more powerful than you. The levelling of treasure and items ruins any semblance of immersion the game offers, which is kind of the point of it. Bethesda Softworks, lift your game. Also, thankyou for lifting your game in Fallout 3. I'm looking forward to New Vegas.

Did you know, I deliberately have not bought Red Dead Redemption so that I might possibly pass at least one exam (also, it's apparently the most misogynistic game ever) but my capacity (or rather my burning, unremitting desire) to seek constant stimulus means that this was an empty if noble gesture.

That's it for games. Sorry, that's where my thoughts have been.

Oh, Toy Story 3 is great. If children are all as cute as Bonnie I may reconsider my blanket ban on any children within a 20-foot radius of me at any given time...

1 comment:

  1. TOY STORY 3!!!! Also, do more study. Teehee love you. PS I just read the Cracked article ABOUT all the sexism in Red Dead Redemption, and even THAT is sexist. Oh tis *such* an insult to women that all the prostitutes aren't in sexy 2000s underwear. I don't approve of the lame women characters. Sure, women in that era probably didn't have much scope for being awesome and active, but most of the men didn't either, realistically. There should be a female outlaw!