How Can A Game Be Subversive?

What makes for a subversive game? Borut Pfeifer tackles the question with aplomb over at GameSetWatch, looking at games from Portal to Blacksite: Area 51 to establish the various ways in which games currently convey 'subversive' messages of many stripes:

Is the "insincere choice" (telling the player they have no choice while they actually do) the best means we have to present a subversive message? If we are locked into a rule system by the nature of the game's code we can never change the system, what would be the ultimate extent in this regard? Making a game that allows the players to create their own rules, would almost seem to devolve very quickly into art-piece.

The resulting experience might have something profound to say about the abstract notions of games as a subversive medium, but would it lack enough direction/focus to be captivating in the slightest, and therefore possibly unable to be profound or meaningful to an individual?

I don't really look towards my games for 'subversive' material (having plenty of daring literature bumping around my shelves, sometimes I just want to get away), but Pfeifer provides some food for thought on how a variety games get their point across.

How Can A Game Be Subversive? [GameSetWatch]


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