So now in 1984.
A dispute is raging between Epic Games and the app stores from Apple and Google, which essentially addresses a few interesting points, but feels a bit like two kindergarten children in the sandpit are throwing sand in each other's eyes in order to decide who can now pull the majority of the coal out of their customers' pockets. May be, but this is not the actual topic I am concerned with – for those who want to find out more, I have summarized the background to the dispute in detail.
No, I'm talking about a step that Epic Games took as part of this sticking out tongue competition: A video that satirizes an Apple advertisement from the 1980s, which in turn refers to George Orwell's literary masterpiece "1984" (or the equally masterful one Film adaptation with John Hurt in the lead role).
Both the book and the film are about a dystopian England in the distant future of 1984 (when the story was published in 1949) oppressed residents only have an eternal, grueling presence; whoever does not parry is subjected to a terrible brainwashing procedure and every moment of life is monitored by the gaze of the ominous "Big Brother" staring from screens everywhere.
An extremely dark, extremely depressing, extremely important work. Anyone who has read it and / or seen the film will never forget this experience.
And what did Apple and now Fortnite do with it in the 1980s?
They sell PCs that counter oppression from their evil competitor.
And they bravely defend themselves against the fact that they are not making as much money as they could.
Wow, what courage it takes. And what a stylish, reflective use of a work it is, which more vividly than almost any other shows the dangers of fascism, nationalism, populism and the surveillance state and the incalculable value of freedom.
Even the original Apple advertising is far too seldom viewed with a critical eye; it is considered a cult spot without this capitalist cannibalizing being brought into focus. In the secondary exploitation by Epic it gets even more bizarre, because the origin of the message is finally lost. Not only are they working with a topic that the makers obviously did not understand – or that they are not interested in – there is also a cheap "us against them" woven in, which is hard to beat in terms of cynicism.
Such an approach is not a new phenomenon and is not limited to the games or, in Apple's case, the technology industry. Just think about it Che Guevara's face on pretty much every thingwhich can be used as merchandise; the terrible one "Music" chorus called "One Day" by the Dutch DJ Bakermat, which Martin Luther King's famous speech during the March on Washington violence against the ears in three and a half minutes, clearly without understanding what the value of what is being said is; or who are rightly showered with scorn and ridicule Pepsi Commercial with Kylie Jenner in the lead role, in which the extremely acute problem of police violence is solved with a diet soda.
This problem of appropriation exists, it won't go away, but it is deeply disturbing nonetheless and must not become normal. And in the case of the games industry, it goes particularly against the grain. Because I'm part of it, on the other hand, because that certain ounce of audacity is particularly visible there.
There is nothing the game manufacturers of this world like to assure you more than that their products are TOTALLY UNPOLITICAL. Ubisoft is a pioneer here, which is doubly ironic because on the one hand they conjure up messages of inclusiveness and even put them in the opening credits of the games, but then say a shooter like The Division, which is about the collapse of the global economy and the failure of politics go, don't make a statement; And above all, since, as more and more reports show, an operating structure characterized by sexual assaults through to rape and racist insults was maintained for years, in which people were afraid to come to the office. Of course, the presumption of innocence applies.
Activision Blizzard talks about the importance of the voice of the individual who can express themselves freely, and then bans a professional streamer from Hong Kong who, completely legitimately referring to this message, is demanding freedom from China for his homeland. At the same time, Blizzard does not want to endanger the important market on the Chinese mainland. Companies like Tencent, which have their fingers in many more game studios than many are aware of, have something against this and above all, they do not want to risk the fact that the distribution to shareholders at the end of the fiscal year is below that of the previous year.
But none of this is political! Sure, one can say that capitalism and hasty obedience to dictatorial states are not political. Can you find. Then you are, according to Michael Köhlmeier, stupid or a cynic.
Notice what I did here? I received a lot of attention from Köhlmeier Speech on the commemoration day against violence and racism 2018 on the occasion of the liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp appropriated and used for my purposes, devoid of the original context. No, of course that was by no means tasteless! And if someone should ask, my content quotation was of course by no means meant to be political.
I could of course enumerate dozens of examples in which game manufacturers were not at all political while they were producing and promoting games about war, race rioting, administrative violence and other topics. But that is not the point of this column of mine.
No, I am simply making a demand in the room: Dear game manufacturers, be political and stand by it! You post black thumbnails and rainbow colors when it is of use to your image, only to fly in a soap bubble of self-righteous non-jurisdiction the next day, covering your eyes and ears and shouting "lalala". You use speeches, works, moments that changed the world to sell entertainment, but you are not ready to take responsibility for classifying your behavior and naming the political nature of your actions as such.
Everything is political. Not to take a position when it is urgently needed because they say you are not political, DAMN IT AGAIN POLITICAL. Disguises George Orwell's work beyond recognition if that's a concern of yours, but don't lie to us and serve us with free DLC and half-baked excuses as an excuse. At least just say honestly that it's all about the money. Incidentally, this is also political.
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