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MIM game reviews
February 19, 2005 11:28 AM   Subscribe


 
Bwa ha - I especially love the review of Superpower. It's one of my favorites - too bad they don't know about the infinite resources hack...Though I guess that would only interest a U.$. citizen like myself.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:37 AM on February 19, 2005


Mind numbing, sometimes I wonder if they really are serious when they write this kind of thing. Anyhow, good unintentional comedy.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 11:41 AM on February 19, 2005


"Sim City" has completely bourgeois assumptions, which is why it is not MIM's favorite economic strategy game. ... There is no option to nationalize factories. ... The Sim City economy may go through cycles including crises which reduce the population and destroy city government revenue, but the explanation for that is not Marx's labor theory of value.

I love this.
posted by runkelfinker at 11:51 AM on February 19, 2005


Mind numbing, sometimes I wonder if they really are serious when they write this kind of thing.

Welcome to the World Wide Web where there are actual opinions contrary to standard western capitalistic dogma being published. Just because its not in line with conventional thinking doesn't mean that its satire. Sure its a bit doctrinaire but thats Maoists for you.
posted by pixelgeek at 12:00 PM on February 19, 2005


I found this pretty interesting. Their review of Fallout is exactly why I like the game in the first place. Once you realize the perspective (it's pretty damn obvious), this actually gives some interesting points of view on games. And hey, they complain about the jedi ethos, which I'm always for.
posted by JZig at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2005


pixelgeek:

I think I speak for most American Leftists (and I'm in the big-L Left) when I say, the Maoist International Movement should not be considered a source of quality opinions contrary to standard western capitalistic dogma. They're a small, marginal group that is known for inflamed and often ridiculous rhetoric.
posted by graymouser at 12:06 PM on February 19, 2005


from RedAlert's review:
Women in the game are treated as sex objects. Stalin's intelligence officer is mainly there for her sex appeal. The Allied commando, Tanya, mixes sex and violence for the game's teenage intended-audience.
they may be on to something there


They're a small, marginal group that is known for inflamed and often ridiculous rhetoric.

yes but they key words here are "small" and "marginal". God knows if "inflamed and often ridiculous rhetoric" isn't politically effective these days.
posted by matteo at 12:19 PM on February 19, 2005


Delicious.
There really are some interesting points in here: anyone who played KoToR can't say they didn't find evil, capitalistic, devilry a much easier and more rewarding system than peaceful, generous sainthood.

The review of Fallout 2 just makes me want to go play that game again.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 12:26 PM on February 19, 2005


The white background, default font, fat horizontal rules and haughty tone reminds me of these folks. They should party.
posted by dhoyt at 12:50 PM on February 19, 2005



I think I speak for most American Leftists (and I'm in the big-L Left) when I say, the Maoist International Movement should not be considered a source of quality opinions contrary to standard western capitalistic dogma.


Which would be a brilliant rhetorical reply if I had made that as a point.

So much straw in here that my allegries are acting up
posted by pixelgeek at 12:57 PM on February 19, 2005


I found this interesting, if for no other reason that many games like (and in some cases, more than) novels have an ideological basis which can have a profound effect on the reader/player. How else do I explain that I found Ayn Rand interesting in high school (briefly, briefly) or that I kept wanting to break into cars after playing Grand Theft Auto (not so briefly).

Critical analysis exists in literature, in games it is just starting.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:09 PM on February 19, 2005


See also their movie reviews (discussed here) and music reviews (discussed here).
posted by casu marzu at 2:00 PM on February 19, 2005


Maoists, eh? I wonder how Nazis would review these games. After all, these days both groups are holocaust deniers and apologists. I hope these are just kids playing around, but they sound like they're pretty far gone.

MIM struggles to end the oppression of all groups over other groups; classes, genders, nations. MIM knows this is only possible by building public opinion to seize power through armed struggle.

Revolution is a reality for the United States as the military becomes over-extended in the government's attempts to maintain world hegemony.


Hope they're ready for a stay in a fascist imperialist jail if that's the kind of nonsense they're spewing!
posted by loquax at 2:06 PM on February 19, 2005


Hope they're ready for a stay in a fascist imperialist jail if that's the kind of nonsense they're spewing!

Just trying to work out if you think they deserve jail just for spewing that nonsense, of if you actually believe those pussies would ever try to revolt.
posted by Jimbob at 2:12 PM on February 19, 2005


Just trying to work out if you think they deserve jail just for spewing that nonsense

In most jurisdictions, you absolutely cannot throw out calls to violently overthrow the democratically elected government. It's called treason, among other things. I wouldn't presume to say whether or not jail time would be deserved, or if they would ever be prosecuted for ramblings on a website, but it's against the law. At least, in Canada it is.

of if you actually believe those pussies would ever try to revolt.

I certainly hope not, but it has been done. And there are plenty of Maoist groups all over the world who are doing just that for one reason or another, especially in South Asia, Africa and South America. The more nonsense like this is tolerated and joked about and slapped on t-shirts, the worse off we all are.
posted by loquax at 2:27 PM on February 19, 2005


Regime change = revolution?
posted by tommyc at 2:44 PM on February 19, 2005


tommyc: what do you think?
posted by loquax at 2:50 PM on February 19, 2005


I want to know what you think.
posted by tommyc at 2:53 PM on February 19, 2005


About what? You're going to have to explain your comment a little better. Do you mean to ask if violent international revolution by Maoist groups around the world deposing elected and representative governments and murdering the bourgeoisie is the equivalent of the US invading Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power and instituting a new government? If so, I think that they are not equivalent for many reasons and in many ways, and the comparison is not really relevant to the thread.
posted by loquax at 3:02 PM on February 19, 2005


hmm, the Nazis need to review this one.
posted by wah at 3:12 PM on February 19, 2005


Although the original Europa Universalis was, as they mention, technically full of holes, EU II was better, although still sort of a shoddy product. It was interesting, though, and this crazy Maoist review actually brings up some interesting points about it. I think I might actually try it again.

I love this: "From MIM's point-of-view, we are stuck with games like RoN for now, so we have to give RoN a grudging recommendation. When the proletariat seizes power it will expand on and improve RoN greatly." When the revolution comes... we will improve the video games!

And loquax, I think you meant to link Section 59, Seditious Acts. But I am not too worried about the Maoists. They write video game reviews.
posted by blacklite at 3:16 PM on February 19, 2005


Quoting MIM: "This billboard for a videogame up at Fort Bragg in North Carolina proves MIM's point that video games are not politically neutral. Brainwashed by militarism, bored people take up countless militarist games and real world killing just for excitement. Even pornography video games are not as popular. If people had more social control of their lives instead of just the illusion of "freedom," they would not be playing so many games like this one."

Even Maoists can't be wrong all the time, and this point here is slam-dunk obvious.

Oh and hey loquax, you're frothing. Popcorn, popcorn.
posted by davy at 3:54 PM on February 19, 2005


Throughout the game, choices have to be made, which affect the outcome of the game. Naturally, to a brainwashed child mind, the most exploitative options have been made the simplest, and quickest.

It is far easier to use your powers to steal, than to do charity. The game is far easier if you "go capitalistic," which clearly points to early indoctrination conspiracy by the fascists.


What a preposterous review of Knights of the Old Republic. Of course the Dark Side is easier, faster and more seductive. Yoda said as much. Perhaps these Maoists lack the moral fortitude to make the right decision, despite the immediate inconvenience?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:44 PM on February 19, 2005


Bummer, I was really hoping for a Half-Life2 review. I would guess they probably would be disappointed the Combine didn't win.
posted by internal at 5:46 PM on February 19, 2005


...hey, they review movies and music, too. They really like The Matrix and Korn. Hm...

blacklite: "But I am not too worried about the Maoists. They write video game reviews."


loquax was right: "The more nonsense like this is tolerated and joked about and slapped on t-shirts, the worse off we all are." If there were any justice, Maoism would be seen in the same moral light as Nazism; it is on the same moral level. Unfortunately, there are still kids like these who think Maoism is really cool; that's bad, especially since, unlike Nazism, Maoism is actually still killing people. It's not a joke: Maoism is fucking evil; public school is failing us if there are still people like this out there.
posted by koeselitz at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2005


so koeselitz, where are the Mao-is-cool kids at? you met any?
ok, forget that. (though I'm relly curious)

that's bad, especially since, unlike Nazism, Maoism is actually still killing people

explain how that part (in bold type) got there and why. thanks.
posted by mr.marx at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2005


Do grasp one thing: even people who are "on the same moral level [as Nazis]" can occasionally point out an obvious fact, which remains an obvious fact even afterward. Grass does not cease being green because a Maoist says "grass is green".

In this one instance the ninnies at MIM, perhaps despite their morally reprehensible political ideology, got lucky: they have accurately perceived the nature of these video games.

In this, by the way, MIM echoes the judgments of "Tolstoyan" Christians whose opinions on violent games got much play in the 1970s, albeit in slightly different phraseology. This point is nothing new, though personally I'm surprised MIM caught on.
posted by davy at 10:13 PM on February 19, 2005


From the site's review of Europa Universalis:

Best of all within the religious question, Catholics find themselves urged to convert to Protestantism. This is the subject of an ancient debate between Marxism and idealism. In "EU," if the player survives the wars and instability, Protestantism provides an economic advantage over Catholicism. The idealists stress the power of the Protestant religious ideas themselves and the fact that one converts and then economic advantages start to flow in "EU" would seem to say the "EU" developers support the idealist interpretation.

Feh. In EU, the diplomatic, stability, and religious conversion bonuses of Catholicism far outstrips the comparatively minor economic bonuses of the Protestant and Reform religions (very minor compared to the spoils from conquest/colonization), and the technological bonus that the two post-Reformation religions confer are nullified by culture-group technology sharing within European countries. Reform is actually an interesting religious choice for non-European countries since tech group sharing is fairly irrelevant outside of Europe (and the troop morale bonus from Reform can be a big help against superior-tech European armies and navies), but with so few Reform provinces on the map and with few missionaries for Reform compared to Catholicism, it's very difficult to use Reform as the main state religion unless you're either not very expansionistic, are solely expanding into (or playing as) the easily-converted Native American factions, or reload-and-save your conversion attempts like a little bitch. But going Protestant for the economic bonuses? Terrible, terrible strategy, unless all your provinces have turned Protestant on you during the Reformation anyway (and even then, England/Sweden/Denmark/HRE are better off remaining Catholic if you've conquered a goodly chunk of Catholic-controlled Europe by then, as you should have to slow enemy colonizing). Don't force me to conquer Europe as Tibet and turn the whole damn continent Buddhist again to prove my point, or send the Navaho navy off across the Atlantic to a repeat performance of razing all of Christendom to the ground and installing a Pagan Pope in Rome to demonstrate how to feed one's military with proper economic development. Forget about even beating Europe as a third world country -- their given strategy of "convert to Protestantism for economic bonuses" would run almost any European country into the ground unless those countries had already been set up with massive scripted Protestanism events. These guys obviously don't understand the economics of EU at all, especially how to balance the many factors that contribute to a growing empire's economy -- if they can't even handle the basics of state religion, I'd hate to see, for instance, how they advise me on how to set my government policy sliders or their stance on how to optimize tech research.

Since their gaming theorizing/strategy sucks, I hereby give myself license to employ the same (il)logical devices used by the site and declare that therefore, Maoism also sucks. QED.

blacklite: EU2 is a classic, though obviously the EU franchise isn't for everyone. If you like EU though, EU2 is what EU should've been.
posted by DaShiv at 11:43 PM on February 19, 2005


I don't know, loquax. Mockery is often as effective as anything else. I'm not trying to spread the Maoist word; I don't wear Ché T-shirts.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:12 AM on February 20, 2005


mr. marx: "so koeselitz, where are the Mao-is-cool kids at? you met any? ok, forget that. (though I'm really curious)"

There are a few around here and there. (These kids are one example. Most of them seem to be online.) In addition, communism as a whole doesn't get the consideration it deserves: it's killed a hell of a lot more people over the last century than, say, fascism. I think this is because there are still those in Europe who see the Soviets as having "liberated" them from the Nazis.

I've met kids who thought the "little red book" was really cool. And, sure, Mao's picture itself isn't everywhere, but Che's is, and he's a Maoist thug if there ever was one. There's still a lot of misunderstanding about this.

>>that's bad, especially since, unlike Nazism, Maoism is actually still killing people

"explain how that part (in bold type) got there and why. thanks."


There are a few fascist groups around the world. So far as I can tell, it was on the rise in Russia a few years ago, but I think it's sloping back downwards. However, actual Nazis are, as you know, few and far between, isolated to a few angry kids, at least in the United States. In the western world, and even in the world at large (excepting, I guess, the Arab world, but that's a wholly different problem) Nazism and fascism are so roundly condemned and reviled as to make a relapse of that movement impossible. This is not so with Communism, even if most of the west thinks it is; China is still under a communist regime, North Korea is as well; and, in a dozen nations in Asia, Maoist thugs are a real problem.

davy: "Do grasp one thing: even people who are "on the same moral level [as Nazis]" can occasionally point out an obvious fact, which remains an obvious fact even afterward. Grass does not cease being green because a Maoist says "grass is green."

Sure. However, I don't know much about video games, but their musical taste is lower than low. They called Korn "edgy." Heh heh.
posted by koeselitz at 7:29 AM on February 20, 2005


Tlogmer - I didn't mean to critisize you for posting this. I wasn't responded to anyone directly, just throwing my two cents in. I think you're right to a point about mockery, I'm just not sure everyone takes it the same way.
posted by loquax at 9:30 AM on February 20, 2005


China is a capitalist regime -- I'd say fascist, given its other characteristics -- under a so-called Communist Party. For the past 20 years the Chinese government has been selling its domestic industries, stocked with slave labor, to foreign investors like Wal-Mart, and since Deng the motto has been "It's good to get rich!"; these are not signs of a communist regime. Also, Vladdy Zhrinovksy of Russia calls his fan club the Liberal Democratic Party, and Hitler's bunch was called the National SOCIALIST German WORKERS Party (emphasis mine), and so on.

Secondly, Che was not a Maoist but a Trotskyite.

Third, MIM is a tiny group of aging Boomers from late-1960s - early-1970s radical circles; they're no more "kids" than Mick Jagger. Furthermore they'd have all fit in a phone booth 30 years ago and they've shrunk a bit since; this thread is the most attention they've gotten in 6 or 7 years, when they made a wee splash in crossposted Usenet threads with their "creative" misspellings of common English words and their rabid fulminations against their fellow white people.

People should learn at least a bit about something before they pronounce upon it. In this thread you and loquax have been on the same moral level as babbling idiots.
posted by davy at 10:11 AM on February 20, 2005


As FoB said, the complaint that it's easier to be evil in KOTOR is ludicrous.

even the rabid fans have admitted that it is easier to be evil in this game and that the Jedi Knights are too much more powerful than other characters.
That's just poorly written.

In this game, the player takes a role of one such warrior that calls him/herself a Jedi KNIGHT. The manufacturer doesn't even try to hide the connection to the exploitative feudal system of the Middle Ages.
The manufacturer? It's not like the term Jedi Knight was invented in this game. Haven't these people ever seen Star Wars?

to a brainwashed child mind, the most exploitative options have been made the simplest, and quickest.
No, the most exploitative options ARE the simplest and quickest, in the real world as in video games. If it was simpler and quicker to create a marxist utopia, then we'd have one instead of an exploitative capitalist society. I don't see how this clearly points to early indoctrination conspiracy by the fascists since the whole point of the movies is, you know, to be GOOD, and this game pretty much shows how challenging, yet rewarding, that can be. One can easily argue that this is a positive feature of the game.

In one part of the game, the player fights for money--to the death.
Very deceptive comment. If you've played the game you know that doing this advances you towards the dark side. You don't HAVE to do this. Again, this game gives you the choice to be good or evil, a choice that people have in the real world. One can choose to resist the "capitalist exploitation of the slave class" and not trade life for cash.

blahblahblah mentioned above that such intellectual criticism has been around for a while in other arts, such as literature, but is new when applied to video games. I think that is quite obvious from this review, as you'd be quite unlikely to find such simple-minded, one dimensional, and unimaginative application of marxist principles in any reputable literary journal these days.

BTW: Why do they link to Amazon? Isn't that capitalism in action?
posted by papakwanz at 10:35 AM on February 20, 2005


1. MIM is (or was a few years ago, at least) headquartered in my city, Ann Arbor. It does indeed have some teenagers/college students in it; I've seen them handing out red books at the art fair.

2. China under Mao himself wasn't anything close to "communist" as adherents like to define the term; sure, it's much farther away under Deng, but stressing this seems silly. Authoritarianism is authoritarianism.

3. Ché followed his own brand of ideology. It did draw upon, among other things, Maoism (and his sympathies toward China created tension when Cuba began tightening ties with Moscow).

(Fair enough, Loquax.)
posted by Tlogmer at 10:35 AM on February 20, 2005


In this thread you and loquax have been on the same moral level as babbling idiots.

Davy - relax. If anyone's frothing now it's you. Babbling idiots? Maybe you need to re-read the thread. I haven't even said anything since your last insult. Everything's been pretty civil around here save for your comments.
posted by loquax at 10:49 AM on February 20, 2005


"1. MIM is (or was a few years ago, at least) headquartered in my city, Ann Arbor. It does indeed have some teenagers/college students in it; I've seen them handing out red books at the art fair."

Probably their kids. (It's inconsistent with their Dworkinite views on heterosex, but still possible.) Keyes' liberal lesbian daughter worked in his recent campaign, remember.

2. China under Mao himself wasn't anything close to "communist" as adherents like to define the term; sure, it's much farther away under Deng, but stressing this seems silly. Authoritarianism is authoritarianism.

Marxism-Leninism requires State ownership of the economy. For China's ruling clique to call itself a Communist
Party is like the U.S. Republican Party calling itself an Islamic organization.

3. Ché followed his own brand of ideology. It did draw upon, among other things, Maoism (and his sympathies toward China created tension when Cuba began tightening ties with Moscow).

Fine, Che was "eclectic".

The point is that Koestelitz and loquax think "Maoist" is a such a bad word that they don't have to know what it means, and that as far as they're concerned if somebody called "Maoist" says "grass is green" then anybody who allows that grass might not always be non-green is "on the same moral level as Nazis".
posted by davy at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2005


davy - you're making up nonsense. Your interpretation of my comments is willfully ignorant. It's really annoying.
posted by loquax at 11:28 AM on February 20, 2005


These days, loquax, a "holocaust denier" is someone who claims that the German Nazis did not kill millions of European Jews between June 1941 and May 1945; we'll have to refer to Mao's great crimes by another word than "holocaust" to avoid confusing people. "Genocide" doesn't fit the Maoists' murders of millions either: the elimination of the Han Chinese as a race was not on the Maoists' agenda, unsurprising due to the fact that both Mao and almost 100% of his domestic cronies were themselves Han Chinese. Instead of buzzwords maybe you should try a Powerpoint presentation?
posted by davy at 11:36 AM on February 20, 2005


davy: "In this one instance the ninnies at MIM, perhaps despite their morally reprehensible political ideology".

Agreed, on both counts.

davy: Grass does not cease being green because a Maoist says "grass is green".

Agreed, of course. I never said otherwise.

How about we leave it at that?
posted by loquax at 11:48 AM on February 20, 2005


davy, I honestly don't understand what you're angry about. I'm sorry if I was presumptuous.

If you want, here's an explanation of my position on whether China is "communist." Feel free to ignore it if you find it offensive:


At least since Lenin, and perhaps since Marx, "communism" and "authoritarianism" have been somewhat synonymous. The "dictatorship of the proletariat" leads to a necessary period of authoritarianism; this is the pretense of all major "communist" governments, from Lenin to Castro, including Mao's. To say that this is against "true" communism is confused, since such a thing can hardly exist; Marx's idea was of a continuing process of revolution, not a form of government. As davy points out, foreign investors have begun to salivate as the government has begun to allow certain freedoms in the Chinese economy; as such, a lot of them have been telling us that we should stop worrying about China, and that things will be just fine over there as long as we invest a lot and "help them along."

I don't think that will solve the problem. The government is still authoritarian, even if they do like Wal-Mart; and it takes more than money to change that. The justification for this, to those who support it worldwide, is still "revolution in transition;" and, when the Chinese government cracks down, that will be their stated purpose.

That's how I feel, anyhow. I don't know if it's correct.
posted by koeselitz at 12:00 PM on February 20, 2005


I probably should not be astonished that video game reviews have managed to start a mild political flame war here.

Maoism is not, in the original sense of the word, communism, Nor was Stalinism. Both Maoism and Stalinism are bad. Communism, which is an economic system which can exist either within a completely democratic or completely authoritarian framework, has merits and flaws which are debatable but is not inherently evil. Everybody happy now?

I went to college in Ann Arbor. MIM has nothing to do with real Maoism in the world, whatever they think. They are a laughable organization with laughable delusions, and the best way to deal with them is, well, to laugh at their funniness, as in this post. To do so is not to downplay the real effects of Maoism abroad, because they have less to do with real Maoism than a woman dressed in an SS uniform at a BDSM party has to do with the Nazis, and their chance of ever actually doing anything to bring about the armed revolution they crave is so close to zero as to be mathematically indistinguishable. I doubt any of them owns a gun. They pass out pamphlets and review videogames. What are they going to bring down the government with, papercuts? These are not people who should be jailed. These are people who should be brought to parties hosted by people you don't like so you can laugh hysterically as they eat all the free food before anyone else can get to it while decrying the bourgeois capitalism of "spin the bottle".

On preview: koesolitz, I disagree somewhat with your interpretation of communism, although I agree the definition in America has been changed by many to mean what you say, and I also agree that communism has generally resulted in authoritarianism when implemented on a large scale.
posted by kyrademon at 12:09 PM on February 20, 2005


Thank you kyrademon, now I can shut up and do something else.
posted by davy at 1:01 PM on February 20, 2005


kyrademon: yeah, I should probably be saying "Marxism" instead of "communism." Marxism couldn't really exist within a democratic framework; that's what I meant to say. And Mao's ideals, like Stalin's and Lenin's, seem to me to be based directly upon Marx's.

People mean a lot of things by the word communism, though, like socialization and nationalization of property, governmental control of the economy, et cetera. Some of these things can be good, and some of them can exist in a democratic society. But Marx's system is much more than those things; in fact, it may require the opposites of those things at certain times. That's why the "communist" countries of the past hundred years have been so strikingly non-communal, and that's why people always say "there's never been a real communist country;" because their definition of communism is different from Marx's definition of communism.

As far as jailing them goes:even if you don't like enforcing laws about "treason," where threatening to kill people is concerned, the line between "protected speech" and "unprotected speech" gets a little funny. These people are advocating killing off a whole chunk of people-- the bourgeoisie. They obviously don't mean it, but I'm sure somebody's watching them, and I'm glad. Crackpots often inspire murder.
posted by koeselitz at 1:56 PM on February 20, 2005


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