Play America Great Again. Manifestations of Americanness in Cold War Themed Video Games

Seiwald, Regina (2020) Play America Great Again. Manifestations of Americanness in Cold War Themed Video Games. gamevironments, 13. pp. 223-256. ISSN 2364-382X

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This study analyses mechanisms through which Cold War themed video games played from an American perspective propagate US authoritarianism by reiterating concepts of Americanness generated in popular media during the Cold War era. These video games work with cultural, historical, and social stereotypes to generate a dichotomy between good and evil and they heavily rely on emotions and morality in their portrayal of communist, socialist, and Soviet enemy forces. Popular concepts associated with America are used to propagate democracy and (political) freedom, while simultaneously vilifying their adversaries. Through drawing parallels to American Cold War propaganda and its utilisation of popular media, this paper asks how stereotypical notions of America are generated through symbolism in an engagement with material objects as well as thoughts and beliefs. Topics engaged with are media control, free speech, programming, espionage, intrigues, paranoia, trust, and the morality of the individual in a hyperreal environment. This study is conducted in reference to Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001), Freedom Fighters (2003), Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010), Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction (2010), Homefront (2011), and Alekhine’s Gun (2016). By considering mechanisms of propaganda in these games, it is shown how manifestations of Americanness are generated in them and how they affect friend and foe images.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
19 March 2020Accepted
21 December 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: America, Cold War, Video Games, Propaganda, Democracy, Baudrillard, Hyperreality, American Symbolism, Popular Media, gamevironments
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-03 - politics > CAH15-03-01 - politics
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-01 - information services
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Regina Seiwald
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2020 10:20
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:45

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