September Roundtable: Politics and Games

September Roundtable: Politics and Games

We talk a lot about politics in games. We’re not of the opinion that anything can be truly apolitical; people create games, and people have beliefs and ideologies that inform what they create. This often causes friction, as sometimes a game we enjoy may rub up uncomfortably against our own beliefs, or a game may attempt itself to brand itself as apolitical when it’s clearly anything but.

But some games embrace politics, leaning hard into exploring a tricky idea, a creator’s identity, or other elements that encourage the player to think more deeply about whatever issue the game is tackling. The Sidequest crew sat down to talk about what these games are doing well, and how games that play with politics can be both interesting and fun. (more…)

Roleplaying Games as Personal, Emotional Challenges

Before I gave them a try, all I knew about roleplaying games (RPGs) was the tropes I saw on TV: a game master (GM) sitting behind a trifold with I-don’t-even-know-what printed on it, players mouth-breathing and rolling twenty-sided dice, Tolkien-esque orcs, machismo-heavy dwarves, sexy elves, and players responding with cheers or groans to tell those watching the cartoon whether the story within a story was going well or poorly. At its best, this was disinteresting; at its worst it was arbitrary (GMs deciding outcomes based on unknown mechanics), crude (killing monsters to level up and get coins), and sexist (damsels in distress within the narrative, and no non-male players).