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Games Progressive In
Form Not Just Content
Welsh Marxist Raymond Williams showed – years after the fact – that the form of the 19th-century novel still supported conservative values, despite containing leftwing content. For Williams, novels such as those of Charles Dickens might sympathise with workers or with revolution – even lionise them – but they could never instigate serious social change, because their political power was limited by the fact that the books were still a commodity to be read after dinner and for pleasure: a kind of storytelling that is easily consumed and doesn’t make the reader confront real politics. The same would apply to many video games today.

These games show potential for a gaming canon that, like modernist literature, is progressive in both form and content. While telling stories about marginalised characters and from liberal perspectives might do some of the work, and commenting on the limitations of existing forms might do some more, gaming is at the kind of crisis point that literature was at in the early 20th century: it needs a structural renovation. Without this, video games might sometimes look leftwing, but they cannot be revolutionary.
Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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