October Roundup: ‘Leadership’

Hello once again and happy fall. Today I’ve got a short and sweet Blogs of the Round Table to share with you. Today I’ll be going over what you all thought about ‘Leadership’:

How do videogames conceptualize leadership? Have you ever found yourself thinking about how a game envisions a leader and emulating it? Or are videogame leaders an oversimplified power fantasy? And let’s not forget that games themselves are often designed by a hierarchized staff. Have you ever found yourself questioning a leader’s ill-formed decisions? Or have you been burdened with that responsibility as a developer, game-master or guild leader? Are there better modes of coordinating people than locating all decision-making in one person or is one expert mentoring a group the best model? Tell us how the idea of leadership influences the way you experiences games.

Gaines Hubbell of Higher Level Gamer starts us off with a piece about how games convey leadership through rhetoric. Hubbell argues that “We can learn leadership through games mimetically—by watching and imitating them—although I’m not sure we should.”

At Not Your Mama’s Gamer, Alisha Karabinus returns to State of Decay, where she’s thrilled to have an elite squad of mostly women in leadership roles. For Karabinus, it never seems important to spread active roles to marginalized figures until she sees it in action:

It’s simple: it matters because we’re so rarely given women in power without other objectifying trappings; it matters because women are rarely just allowed to be people who have things to do. It matters because we so rarely see visible, important female characters who aren’t sidekicks or love interests (or both), and we need to see that, because that’s life, even though a lot of people are convinced it isn’t.

Nick Tomko takes to Hub Pages and argues that Dragon Age Inquisition doesn’t simulate leadership at all.

While Dragon Age Inquisition promises to endow the player with the power “shape the world around you. As a leader, you can deploy followers of the inquisition to act on your behalf…decide the make up of your inquisition forces.” Instead, all the leadership aspects of the game come across as hamfisted diversions into to the typical plucky adventurers save the world formula, creating a degree of dissonance between what the game tells your role in the game is and what your role turns out to be.

Last word this month goes to Leigh Harrison who writes on As Houses that Metal Gear‘s Big Boss is actually not a very good boss at all. In fact, most of Big Boss’s job seems to be wrangling middle-management minutia:

Snake does his sneaking missions and keeps kidnaping soldiers, and they keep instantly joining his cause upon arrival at his in no way moustache-twirlingly evil deep sea fortress

He can also send his boys out on little missions of their own, though only if they’ve been playing nicely while he’s been out doing the proper work. These, though, are about as impersonal as they come, driven, as they are, entirely through the menus on Snake’s chunky ‘80s iPad. He never flies back to Mother Base to see them off with a rousing speech, never salutes them upon their heroic return; he just sits behind his little computer analysing statistical likelihoods of success and pressing buttons like a chump.

I guess The Snake Parable would have been too obvious.

Well, that’s it for October’s theme. If you’d like to share any of the lovely articles above, feel free to add the Link’o’Matic 5000 to your blog with the code below.

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Otherwise, I leave it to Lindsey Joyce to take the helm for November’s theme and introduce a theme fit for a true leader. As for me, leading has been a lot of pressure, so I think I’ll go back to the middle of the pack and to quietly criticising every decision upper management makes.