NPR Posits Nazis Are Recruiting All Of Our Children In Online Games With Very Little Evidence

from the nein dept

At this point, journalistic handwringing over the assumed dangers of video games has moved beyond annoyance levels and into the trope category. Violence, aggression, becoming sedentary, and the erosion of social skills have all been claimed to be outcomes of video games becoming a dominant choice for entertainment among the population that isn’t collecting social security checks, and all typically with little to no evidence backing it up. This has become so routine that one can almost copy and paste past responses into future arguments.

But NPR really went full moral panic mode with a post that essentially claimed the recruitment of children into rightwing and Nazi extremist groups is a full on thing, while an actual analysis of what it relied on to make that claim reveals, well, very little of substance at all.

Yesterday, NPR published an article titled “Right-Wing Hate Groups Are Recruiting Video Gamers.” It’s the latest, most exaggerated version of a gaming-flavored narrative woven by elite media orgs in an apparent attempt to explain the rise of right-wing extremism in America. This article claims that games “have become one avenue for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups”; to support this, the reporter opens her story with a tale of a 15-year-old Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player whose father, John—no last name given—was one day startled to see neo-Nazi propaganda his son had printed out.

Yesterday’s NPR article, which attempted to make this case, was riddled with the sort of factual elisions one would expect out of propaganda journalism. On the basis of one real-life example and three interviews with apparent experts, the writer claims that gamers are getting plucked out of shooty-shooty games and dropped right into neo-Nazi forums. The most basic problem here feels beneath mention: inflating one anonymous father and his anonymous son’s journey through the bad net into an entire movement is preposterous. Had the reporter spoken to even two, three or four kids who had been rescued from the clutches of Fortniteextremists, it still wouldn’t have been enough. “Where,” one would ask, “is the sense of scale?”

And, as Kotaku notes, the problem of the scale in all of this leads one to the next obvious question. If this were really happening at a level that would warrant sounding the parental klaxons, then how has it been missed by gaming journalists, journalists writ large, the federal authorities, and the federal government? Are we really expected to accept, all on the back of one anecdotal story and a couple of experts contacted for comment, that the much wider world has missed Nazi recruitment in online gaming entirely? I don’t know if ya’ll have noticed, but there’s been a bit of a focus on Nazis and white nationalism as of late. This just flew entirely under the radar?

Even the experts cited in the NPR piece leave very much to be desired. Christian Picciolini, who I have heard speak in other forums and who I generally found to be bright and trustworthy, comes off as simply looking foolish when asked to flesh out his concerns as outlined in the NPR post.

Picciolini, who describes himself as a “former white supremacist leader,” came onto Kotaku’s radar in July, when he hosted a Reddit AMA. In it, he claimed that right-wing extremists go into multiplayer games to recruit vulnerable demographics into their cause. Intrigued, my colleague Kashmir Hill and I reached out to Picciolini to hear more. We were curious about the right-wing movers and shakers who could fit an entire political pitch into a Fortnite match.

When we asked Picciolini for evidence of his claim and an interview, he referred us to “the many who have experienced the recruitment” and attached a few screenshots of Nazi imagery in open world games like All Points Bulletin. He also forwarded a screenshot of the game Active Shooter, a school shooting simulator, which was pulled from Steam before its release. Another screenshot was from a YouTube video titled “Fag Jews” in which someone named AuTiSmGaMiNg played Call of Duty. It had 11 views.

If that response is the best that can be mustered, from someone who is supposed to be an expert witness to the core claim that Nazis are recruiting children in online games no less, then this is going to look like ginned up panic-mongering. And that’s a very real problem, given that there are some very serious social issues we’re dealing with in this country right now, including issues that surround xenophobic white nationalist groups. That problem does exist, but when the fight against that sort of thing is carried out by people willing to inflate the concerns on the specifics, it’s easy to see how this can all result in a boy who cried wolf scenario.

Given the large swaths of the population now playing video games on the regular, a post like NPR’s can only serve to damage its reputation for journalism.

When fear-mongering moves into spaces that require rigorous investigative reporting and large-scale interviewing, it stumbles into the danger zone of modern journalism: “This wild, but unlikely thing is happening, widely. Please panic.”

That sort of thing might sell as a story in the short term, but it does long term damage in building trust with the reading audience. That’s far more dangerous, actually, than whatever tiny number of Nazis are actually trying to lure kids into Nazism via the video game vector.

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Comments on “NPR Posits Nazis Are Recruiting All Of Our Children In Online Games With Very Little Evidence”

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David says:

If anybody were serious about combatting extremism

they would reform the polarizing and disenfranchising winner-takes-all system of political representation in the U.S.

But of course giving a voice to more than the ingrained duopoly would be too "radical" to be considered by the incumbent ruling class.

Instead the scapegoat of the day, preferably something they don’t have a clue about and don’t want to get one, is driven through the streets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If anybody were serious about combatting extremism

Not sure it’s because it would be too “radical” it’s because those in power wouldn’t want this to happen.

Republicans and Democrats wouldn’t want to dilute their power. Even though right now if we didn’t have a winner take all system it would look like Dems would completely dominate if we had a more European system of voting… but really it would just be left wing groups dominating. Dems would be the largest most likely, but much smaller than they are now as we have socialist, progressive, blue dog, etc parties.

Republicans sure as hell don’t want a European style system given they are being killed in the total vote counts but still holding onto a huge amount of power while representing far less people (but far more landmass).

While it seems bad, a lot of issues with the US is due to the insane changes from area to area and was the cause of many early colonial issues. Things that make sense for Pennsylvania make no sense for New Jersey, which makes no sense for Tennessee, etc.

So you have a system that was designed takes different land areas into the equation to figure what the representation should be.

Now the House of Representatives need to be allowed to be expanded, while this would give us an absolutely absurd amount of elected officials it would help in getting people more involved and deal with the other side of the coin of giving as much voice as possible to the general population. As it stands now representatives aren’t representing as originally intended.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If anybody were serious about combatting extremism

You are dreaming if you think these two parties aren’t in cahoots. Everything is driven by the new world order. NPR is their bitch now also. Anything coming from the radio waves at that frequency is agenda driven. Its a big show. They love people like you who gobble up the seeming opposition of party politics.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: If anybody were serious about combatting extremism

I believe I mentioned this yesterday: I’m in Arizona, where they’re still counting the votes on a Senate race where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema may have lost by a smaller margin than the number of votes the Green Party candidate got (the Green Party candidate — whose name is Green; you can’t make this shit up — dropped out of the race and endorsed Sinema, but only did so after the ballots were printed and early voting had started).

Now is a very good time to talk about ranked choice voting, especially in Arizona, and I’d really like to see that conversation happen.

The Democratic argument is obvious; even if Sinema winds up winning in the final count, it’s going to be close, and obviously Democrats won’t want that happening again.

The third-party/independent argument is that people will be more comfortable voting third-party or independent, because they won’t feel that those votes are wasted.

The Republican argument is, hey, this may have worked out in your favor this time, but former Republican AG Grant Woods is mulling an independent run for McCain’s Senate seat in 2020, and I expect he’d get a lot more votes than the 2% or so that Green did.

I feel like this would be an ideal topic for a John Oliver deep dive: it’s wonky, it’s boring, most people don’t know about it, but it’s a hugely important issue.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: If anybody were serious about combatting extremism

I’m in Arizona, where they’re still counting the votes on a Senate race where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema may have lost by a smaller margin than the number of votes the Green Party candidate got (the Green Party candidate — whose name is Green; you can’t make this shit up — dropped out of the race and endorsed Sinema, but only did so after the ballots were printed and early voting had started).

How does that even work? ‘You voted for a candidate that dropped out of the race at the last minute, so your votes are trashed’?

That strikes me as a very good justification for letting people who had their votes tossed to re-cast their votes for the actual candidates that ended up on the ballot, as the alternative would seem to punish early voters, not a good option.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

That strikes me as a very good justification for letting people who had their votes tossed to re-cast their votes for the actual candidates that ended up on the ballot

Right — but in order to do that, you need a system that’s compatible with a secret ballot. You can’t keep a record of how everybody voted.

So there are a couple of different ways to handle that. A runoff election is one of them — if no candidate gets a majority, just have another election, with only the top two candidates on the ballot. The downside is that having an entire second election is expensive. I’m also not sure what effect it has on turnout; I would expect runoff elections to have lower turnout than first-ballot elections, but I don’t have numbers to back that up, so I may be mistaken.

Another route is an "instant runoff" or ranked-choice system — instead of having an entire second election to determine the runoff between the top two candidates, let voters cast their "runoff" votes right there on the first ballot. Everybody ranks the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins an outright majority based on first-choice votes, then eliminate the last-place candidate; for any ballot listing the last-place candidate as its first choice, move to the second choice. Repeat until someone passes 50%. (There are variations on the formula but that’s the general gist.)

The main problem with ranked-choice voting is that it’s more complicated than just marking one candidate; a lot of voters find it confusing. I’ve talked to people who live in places that use RCV and they say that every election requires a new round of advertising to explain how it works.

There are different ways of handling votes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of first-past-the-post is that it’s simple and easy to understand. But despite those advantages, it’s a terrible way to run elections; it’s a major reason we’re stuck with a polarized two-party system. We really need to switch to something else. I’d like to see the Sinema/McSally/Green race used as a jumping-off point for a discussion on the subject (at least statewide or, ideally, nationally), but it’s really not a sexy subject; it’s hard to get people interested.

Anonymous Coward says:

I mean, if you do a bare minimum glance at gaming groups you will find more than their fair share led by people that have some extreme right wing views.

That being said I have never seen any actively trying to change anyone’s political and ideological beliefs. Mostly just kids having some crazy views because they are kids and extreme right-wing/Libertarian (capital L for USA brand libertarian that has nothing to do with the text book definition) bumper sticker comments are catchy.

So yea… it looks like the internet is full of nazis… but more often it’s just dumb kids being dumb kids. (source: was dumb kid)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I play a lot of military themed games so maybe my personal experience is biased since I’m playing games that attract typically right wing minded individuals.

Do you have a different experience? which games dominate the gaming groups you have personally gotten to know and do you see any patterns there?

This is going to be anecdotal since you have to take time and make a judgement call on the general standing of the group. You can’t look at gamer groups and rate them a 1 out of 10 in the fascist scale.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Boot up the latest call of duty, or really any popular game with mostly unmoderated text chat and let us know how long until some guy starts spamming “MAGA MAGA GAS THE JEWS”. Now, this isn’t to say this is the Nazi uprising that the NPR piece is claiming, but the edgy spam is pervasive.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

…I also play a number of those games, as well as several others. In exchange, I don’t give a rat’s ass about being “competitive,” just having fun with the friends I’ve made over the years, and the new ones I make over time.

Frankly, I can only stand playing the same game for several days at a time before it starts feeling repetitive. Especially since a large proportion of the MMOs I play have a lot of grind involved. I’m only willing to kill so many horned rabbits to level up and open the next area.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You don’t have to be competitive to play the games. I’ve been a gamer since the 90s but have never played “competitively” unless you are talking the normal competition of just playing the game.

Suggesting that someone is lying about playing a half a dozen games because there is no way they could have enough time to play them all “competitively” is a bunch of elitist nonsense.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:


You mean like Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! now directed to Clinton, Feinstein, Pelosi and Jim Acosta.

Policy for internment is changing from undocumented immigrants toward documented ones, with naturalized citizens in the scope. Yes, we’re only slow-walking towards the work camps and the cattle trains, but our plod in that direction has been steady and unchanging. We’re going to get there unless there is a drastic change of political clime.

(Oh yes, and we’re still interning kids and refugees by the thousands in 110° heat with insufficient food and water. Without actual oversight.)

That will be impossible without massive electoral reform.

And if the democrats continue to stay run by corporatist neocons, we’re going to have another red wave. Only the new guy may know how to use the surveillance state to hunt down and disappear dissenters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Misunderstanding

No, I mean what I said. For clarity, I was speaking about what I’ve heard people say while playing video games. Not in general.

The discussion at hand is how prevalent are extremist Nazi statements in chat in video games. My position, based on my experiences, is that it isn’t very prevalent at all. In fact, I’ve never experienced it.

I’m not sure how that somehow triggered your talk about internment but I hope that clarifies my statement and what this thread was discussing and what I was responding to.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Posting with a 102° temperature.

I caught a bug on Wednesday (I think?) and may not have been right in the head (or rather, more so than usual).

Also, I’m afraid that team-BLU in the US is going to relax too much, and forget the circumstances that got Trump elected in the first place.

Regarding the topic, I’ve been arguing for a while the alt-right seems to be a conglomeration of struggling, sexually frustrated young men. Gaming is just one of those things that people are wont to do, and as such it’s a place where they can express themselves. Saying gaming leads to indoctrination is like saying wearing pants leads to rampage killing.

I encountered plenty of extremes playing Left 4 Dead around 2008. But they weren’t typical and they were often inebriated. But it wouldn’t surprise me that those with like grievances. Most players were just glad to be cleared after getting pinned.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well count yourself fortunate. Just the other day I was playing Black Ops 4 and was blessed to have a few BR matches with those types trolling. In Guild Wars 2 I often see trolls arguing with no one in particular in Lion’s Arch about how Trump is the greatest and will deport all the Mexicans and build the wall.

Outside of the game, look no further than the furor that’s generated any time there’s an LGBT or non-white male lead for something and people come out of the woodwork accusing the devs of pandering, or ‘shoving politics down our throats’.

If after those examples you can still say you’ve never encountered it, then I say to you that I envy your scope of play and wish I could have the same.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

To be fair, I guess, I don’t play Black Ops. Not my style.
So maybe it’s more prevalent there.

I do see people trolling but it’s usually more watered down or pertaining to how much they think you suck at the game. I’ve never heard anyone shout/type anything close to "MAGA! GAS ALL THE PEOPLE I DON’T AGREE WITH!".

Outside of the game

That’s another ball of wax entirely. Yes, I am on the internet, I see all the crap being spewed by people. I just haven’t seen it in the games I play.

I will say this, while I’ve never seen it, I’m sure it’s there somewhere, but not at the level that the OP stated where it’s pervasive among almost all gamer groups. That’s projection and stereotyping (incorrect stereotyping at that) on a massive level.

Lebron Paul 2020 says:

NPR put a pretty terrible article together, but the conclusion isn’t as far-off as it’d suggest.
Fascist Discord chats & various other forums talk about doing exactly this on many occasions (smthn NPR might have wanted to bring up, but who are we kidding, no one at NPR knows what Discord is)
Here’s the thing: when Nazis recruit, they don’t open with “have you heard the good word about Hitler?”. They’re not stupid. Lotta talk of red-pilling & “power levels” when they do discuss the topic among themselves

David says:

Re: Re:

Here’s the thing: when Nazis recruit, they don’t open with "have you heard the good word about Hitler?"

Well, the good word about Hitler is that he’s dead so following him is easier than ever.

The problem is not people running after Hitler (I mean, how else are you going to get your parents’ goats if sticking metal through their flesh is what they do on their own?) but running after the pied piper of the day.

Of which there is no shortage.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…And this is one of the problems with this sort of story.

Gamergate was driven by misogynists, assholes, and idiots, but that doesn’t automatically mean they were Nazis. It doesn’t even mean they were white nationalists. It just means they were misogynists, assholes, and idiots.

Of the tiny, but very vocal, segment of gamers that tried to make Gamergate meaningful, only an even tinier portion were Nazis/skinheads/white nationalists. They may have even tried to recruit using the furor (hah).

But in the end, it was just an angry ex-boyfriend trying to claim his girlfriend was part of a conspiracy. Literally, just a sad, angry, little man. To claim it was more is to give the movement too much credit.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

But in the end, it was just an angry ex-boyfriend trying to claim his girlfriend was part of a conspiracy. Literally, just a sad, angry, little man. To claim it was more is to give the movement too much credit.

Since when was getting too much credit frowned upon? Have you looked at the U.S.’ national debt recently?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not that it has anything to do with this thread (wrong tab?), but I think the reasoning behind that tends to be that the two party system is so entrenched in American politics. Any remotely mainstream third party would probably only cannibalise votes from the party most aligned with their views and cause their usual opponents to easily win.

It would be better for everybody if everybody who refuses to vote or votes for the lesser evil would vote for a party that actually represents their views, but that’s a long time away I think.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I suppose it depends on the issues. But, at least that person is voting for whatever their belief are, no matter what they are. It’s the people who vote for the people who are actively working to make their lives worse because they’re in the “right” party that concern me.

If you go, “I’m voting for Republicans because I agree with what they’re saying”, that’s at least voting on your principles even I think they’re misguided. If you’re say “yeah, Trump’s promised to make life worse for people like me but I’ll vote for him because I always vote Republican”, you’re an idiot. Sadly, the idiots have the same voting rights as the people who vote intelligently.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please don't link non-text NPR pages

When you link to NPR’s main site, some people will get hit with a GDPR redirect that offers to send them to a plaintext site (, but the original URL is lost in the process. I.e., it links to the text-only homepage, not the text-only story, and it’s a pain in the ass to find the story from there unless it’s one of the top 10. Please link directly to the text version.

Anonymous Coward says:

” It’s the latest, most exaggerated version of a gaming-flavored narrative woven by elite media orgs in an apparent attempt to explain the rise of right-wing extremism in America”

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction applies to societies as well as physics. Society has been pushed to far to the left, the inevitable result is the rise of people pushing to the right, it is as simple as that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

When was society “pushed to the left”?

Was that the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863?
Was that the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920?
Was that the Civil Rights Act in 1968?

Ever since then it has been “pushed to the right” and you know it. Today, Ronald Reagan would be considered a lefty and yet you claim the window shifted left – ayfs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

this “we’ve been pushed to the left” is one of those often repeated but have no grounding in reality brainwashing statements that are repeated over and over again in right wing echo chambers.

“Taxation is theft” is another favorite one, but say “fine, lets stop funding the military with tax money and cut taxes accordingly” you are suddenly the worst person ever and how can you say that.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Right; Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannotgonnaworkhereanymoreanyway used G_mergate as an alt-right recruitment tool.

If Kotaku needs evidence of ties between the alt-right and the gaming community, I will direct them to this article from…Kotaku.

That doesn’t mean that this specific story of Nazi recruitment in games is representative. But alt-right toxicity in the gaming community is, sadly, well-documented.

MosesZD (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually not. There are very few ‘alt-right’ people in gaming and those rarities that expose themselves as such get shoved to the side pretty damn quick.

I’m talking years of on-line gaming (nearly two-decades now). UO. EVE. Everquest. DDO. LOTRO. WOW. STO. DCU. GW. GW2. War Thunder. World of Tanks. World of Warships.

The reality is that these on-line gaming communities don’t put up with it. Not sexism. Not homophobia. Not racism. None of that crap.

What they care about is winning. How well you tank. How well you DPS. Can you do your job in a raid, event, etc.

Yet Kotaku, would have you believe it is some toxic troll-paradise.

Phalen says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The reality is that these on-line gaming communities don’t put up with it. Not sexism. Not homophobia. Not racism. None of that crap.

What they care about is winning. How well you tank. How well you DPS. Can you do your job in a raid, event, etc.

These seem to be conflicting statements. In my experience, you’re correct in that most people are only concerned with how well you play, but usually that means people dismiss/put up with bad behavior. I mean, that’s how it works in every industry: the predatory auteur film director who gets away with it because he’s a "genius," or the star athletes who get away with sexual assault because they can throw a football and all the fans/coaches/owners only "care about winning."

The idea that online gaming isn’t rife with shitty teens spewing slurs into headsets is laughable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Milo’s involvement in GamerGate was solely due to him being one of four reporters who didn’t treat gamers as sub-human scum at the start of that whole shitstorm. It was a terrifying time when people were getting SWATed and fired from their jobs left and right for reasons no one quite understood.

For what it’s worth, when Milo’s real colors were later revealed, he was shunned as a pariah.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Excuse me? I spoke as someone who was on Twitter at the time who saw a bunch of terrified and confused people and journalists saying “bring back bullying” or doxing people running pro-feminist charities.

I don’t give a rats ass about “ethics in video game journalism”. I care about a bunch of journalists who are absolute assholes who lit a fire, threw gasoline on it, and tried their damndest to put out the fire they fucking started.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I am not.

The mess at the time was very confused and a lot of different parties got involved in short succession.

The pro-feminist charity I’m referring to is called TFYC or The Fine Young Capitalists. The incident involving them was one of the key events that triggered GamerGate. About a month following the end of TFYC’s involvement, Milo got involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Oh you mean the charity 4chan funded to appear like they were supporting instead of harassing women? Christ you lot are dumber than the average stormtrumper if you expect us to believe that garbage. It’s only confused because you idiots tried to rewrite history about thirty times to cover your asses after it turned out that harassing people as a hobby wasn’t the masterful social coup, you edgelords thought it would be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Milo was always an attention whore first, second, and last. And that was fine when he suited your purposes. The fact that you’re lying about it now just proves that Gamergate was always about providing cover to enable abhorrent behaviour. So makes whatever excuses you want. Just don’t feed that bullshit to us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I spoke from my experiences in the whole event. I don’t know how you have the energy so be so passionately angry so many years later. It was a pretty traumatizing time for me and I stepped out of any involvement in GamerGate after an acquaintance of mine (nice, soft-spoken girl) lost her job due to two anti-GamerGate guys harassing her employer and socially engineering her doctor.

For my safety and well-being, I saw the risks of continued involvement in those discussions as having too high a risk to continue.

Glenn says:

Well, the Republican party is becoming more extremist by the day. The gaming of the video involving Jim Acosta to make it look like he did something he didn’t do but that Trump has actually done (aka assault women) is one current example. The White House as a whole has proven itself to be corrupt and stupid. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see video games for youth groups from the Republican party any day now, along with the brown shirts that such groups have historically preferred.

MosesZD (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s because it’s a fairy tale. Nearly two-decades of on-line gaming and I’ve only run into a tiny handful of those sorts of people and they were quickly turned into pariahs.

Have you ever heard of Volksfront? I ran into one of them once. They’re a bunch of nobodies. Yet the ADL and SPLC act as if they’re some huge threat.

Truth is there was about 50 of them in the US and they were one (at 50 people) of the largest white supremacy groups in America before they went defunct.

Yet those lies are repeated ad nauseum by the likes of the main-stream press, and used as click-bait by the likes of Kotaku, Polygon, etc. which are treated as gospel instead of being laughed at, as they should…

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

COD Ghosts...

…chapter 10 of the Call of Duty franchise clearly had a pro-white-nationalist anti-left slant. But it was really bad. This is despite the couple of levels of playing the attack dog. (No one has, since, followed up with an all-attack-dog game.)

The eponymous Ghosts were a secret, hyper-patriotic society of ninja-soldiers, trained by their own fathers. It was obviously wish fulfillment for guys who secretly wish they were square-jawed Teutonic champions of justice, patriotism and purity.

I remember the early game had the player doing things in rapid succession with little instruction, and if he failed to keep up (id est, don’t let your little brother get too far ahead) he’d get an arbitrary non-standard game over and have restart at a checkpoint. It was kinda like the laser disc coin-ops like Dragon’s Lair in that way, but without a NSGO animation or explanation of why he failed. Most players quit during these sequences.

And the story involves the US launching and building an orbital weapons platform that can bombard a city with tungsten beams.

And somehow it was entirely hand-waved how much of an international incident this would create, because America!

And then it was awful for South American terrorists to hijack it and destroy a few major US cities (who deserved it for for being blue-voting baby-men. Seriously.)

And then the Ghosts took back the weapons platform, at which point the player gets to annihilate a bunch of South American cities…because America? — It’s not explained how Brazilian or Chilean or Venezuelan urbanites are responsible for terror teams training in their nation’s wilds, but the player gets to practice mass murder from space.

To be fair, I didn’t play the game and none of the LPers who did seemed particularly indoctrinated. Rather it commonly felt odd that this US OWP was regarded as a good thing, as was blasting a bunch of cities with it.

Mind you, again this wasn’t some CounterStrike mod, but a chapter of COD. By Activision. This.

So I’d say we definitely have propaganda games. More often unintentional propaganda games. And they tend to be bad. And they tend to be not very good at indoctrinating players.

Anonymous Coward says:

There is a tiny bit of truth to the story. Long ago, gamers endured attacks by self-rightous Christian activist groups, and as a result, turned against the Republican party.

More recently, gamers endured attacks by self-rightous feminist activist groups, and as a result turned against the Democratic party.

As modern (“third wave/intersectional”) feminism supports a host of other minority activist groups, it shouldn’t be surprising that gamers turned against them also. So it wasn’t a hard fit for many gamers to evolve into Trump-supporting Alt-Right/Alt-Light/New-Right neo-fascists who reject both traditional conservatism as well as modern progressivism.

R ogs U Serious? says:

re: Democracy Died Here

Well,as usual, you avoided the elephant in high heels policing: how online IC affiliates and “DHS/etc private contractors” infiltrate video games, andharassand.manipulate gamers, aka #Gamergate

One such case was William Atchison, the New Mexico shooter,whete there is hard evidence that he was bullied,stalked, harassed, and more online, becauseof things he is alleged to have said.

And that hard evidence includes a British MP decrying the words of an American citizen, and also, a creepy CIA-like “gamers forum” wherehe commented shortly before his incident.

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