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"Homefront" Antics At GDC (With Some Thoughts)

homefronu.jpg

HQ has been hard at work raising awareness of Homefront through a couple of adorable of theatrics at GDC, offering a free "Korean taco" for lunch, as well as staging an anti-North Korean "protest" to go along with the game's subject matter: a North Korean invasion of the United States. I find myself rather torn here. On the one hand, my desire to see that clownish little pygmy, Kim Jong-Il, repeatedly crotch-punched until not even the finest minds in science can save his utterly destroyed seed, thus leaving him with only four spawn, at least one of whom (Kim Jong-un) is reported to be "exactly like his father" -- a rather cute way of saying "a catroonishly megalomaniacal psychopath." On the other hand, I don't much care for right-wing propaganda. It's cheap, lazy, simple in a way that dumbs down the collective consciousness, and can be adequately captured by one of those giant foam fingers reading "AMERICA #1!" I've had my share of unpleasant conversations with nationalists -- pretty it up with the word "patriot" all you like -- and they're a rather nasty lot. With all the complicated unpleasantness of international politics, I find it rather vulgar for a game to kowtow to all the mindless chest-thumping and jingoism that once left us the laughing stock of the civilized world. I for one am not eager to return to that, and as a gamer I find it most disappointing THQ has reached for the low-hanging fruit of militarism and xenophobia -- those who have traveled in the weirder circles know that this sort of thing usually boils down to something more than "Mom, pop, and apple pie" -- enlisting the talent of John Millius writer, of Red Dawn (among with many, many other works), to accentuate the ridiculous alarmism.

Hit the jump to read on!

The game was originally set to pit Americans against the invading Chinese army, but switched to the North Koreans because, in part, the Chinese "just aren't that scary." The whole "Run for the hills, they're coming for our American babies!" angle is a tougher sell when the business community is all too eager to give that particular Red Menace a hearty bear hug whenever they want cheap labor. North Korea fills the void rather well, partly because they don't "make all our stuff," but mainly because they still evoke fear in people living in towns in which overalls are considered fashionable and no flag goes unhumped -- i.e., the target market for a story like that in Homefront. That doesn't mean that we have to live in the sump of moral relativism and pretend that North Korea is merely a "different" society, rather than the despicably fascistic police state that it is, but i'd like to see something with a bit less 80's-worthy paranoia.

Ultimately, story may not make the game, and Homefront does look technically impressive, but it's still annoying to see a company pandering to the lowest common denominator.

3 Comments

Wolf said:

Me and my boyfriend have been on a bit of a political flare recently, speculating the fine mechanics of the middle east and such.
So I was pretty amused when I saw the trailer for Homefront in a store recently, projecting political scenarios a good 20 years into the future.
It was very well done, but like you said, very obviously propoganda, dumbed down just enough for your average xbox Live player to feel it was clever, or even that it's a likely scenario.

I was reminded a lot of what Yahtzee said in a review a little while back 'Can someone PLEASE invade America? They're just desperate for a good ol' invading'
I'm not particularly worried. There's an entire sea of games about 'army guys in the future' and they're relying on the patriotism angle here to make the sell. It'd be nice if this was done again, maybe as something more than just army guys in the future, and with a more complex message than "USA IS DOMINATE".

MasterSol said:

A better game would have been about the North Korean people finally standing up against their dictator. But I guess that wouldn't sell in this profit-driven-not-artistic-driven mindset...

tropicofanatic said:

More straight white male fantasy bullshit. The funny thing is that Americans have lost Vietnam and are now about to lose in Iraq and Afghanistan. So much for a viable superpower. I would love to see a game where you're pitted against the Americans on your own Homeland.

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tropicofanatic on "Homefront" Antics At GDC (With Some Thoughts): More straight white male fantasy bullshit. The funny thing is that Americans have lost Vietnam and are now about to...

MasterSol on "Homefront" Antics At GDC (With Some Thoughts): A better game would have been about the North Korean people finally standing up against their dictator. But I guess...

Wolf on "Homefront" Antics At GDC (With Some Thoughts): Me and my boyfriend have been on a bit of a political flare recently, speculating the fine mechanics of the...

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