Some people may well believe that video games and politics could not be more separate. Gaming can be seen as an escapism from the world of political opinions and debates. Yet many recent video game releases have dived head first into the murky world of politics and have created a form of social commentary. Despite the recent rise in games involving politics, Reggie Fils-Aime has explained that he wants Nintendo games to steer away from the topic.

In a recent interview with CBC, Reggie explained that “making political statements are for other people to do.” Instead Nintendo want their fans to “have fun while they play” and to be able to “smile” as they enjoy the game.

Nintendo have always aimed to create something different. The Switch was not designed to be as powerful as the Xbox 1 or Playstation 4, but to be more innovative. The goal has always been to have fun in a unique and pure way. Breath of the Wild managed to completely immerse the player without being political or reflecting on current social issues. Reggie’s comments indicate that Nintendo intend to continue with this ideology.

However CBC’s news report goes on to argue that games based on real-life topics make the game more “relatable” and “starts conversations.” The report focussed on games such as Far Cry 5, Mafia 3 and Assassin’s Creed as examples on how to engage with political issues. Nintendo’s vision allows their consoles and games to stand out, but Reggie has previously revealed that he wants all quality third-party games on the Switch. Perhaps Nintendo will need to change this stance in order to bring all of the biggest games developers to the Switch.

How do you feel about Nintendo games making a political statement? Get in touch and let us know!

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  • Linebyline

    I think these days there’s a false dichotomy between “No politics in games” and “everything is political” schools of thought.

    It’s true that every work of art (including most if not all video games) is affected in some way by the culture in and for which it was made, and politics is a part of that. However, that doesn’t mean everything is, or should be, making overt political (or moral, religious, etc.) statements.

    And considering what a nightmare political and social discourse has been in recent memory, I think it’s perfectly fair for people to want their entertainment (at least some of it) to offer an escape. I don’t always want my entertainment to tackle head-on, when I’m already being beaten over the head with it in so many other contexts. Sometimes I just want to play a game, you know?

    Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable and perhaps even laudable for games to take up these issues. It shouldn’t be mandatory, and it shouldn’t be forbidden. Just do what’s right for the game you’re making.

  • DimensionalRanger

    Nintendo doesn’t need to get political to send messages through their games. There are lessons hidden in every Zelda game that are simple yet touching. I tip my hat to Majora’s Mask for doing that so well. Thank you, Nintendo, for doing what you do.

  • TheDrTelos

    Hinging your game on a contemporary topic ensures that it’s relevance will be temporary. Timeless games must appeal beyond the times they were made.