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SmashTheState's avatar

Is Skyrim a not-very-subtle metaphor for Amerika?

Asked by SmashTheState (9603 points ) March 26th, 2012

So, I’ve been playing through Skyrim, and I keep dragging my heels on whether to side with the Empire or the Stormcloaks. The Empire are arrogant colonizers, imperialists, and tyrants. The Stormcloak are rabid nationalists, xenophobes, and bloodthirsty killers. Somehow I sincerely doubt I will be offered the option to fuck up everyone on both sides and organize autonomous worker soviets.

I feel like I’m being editorialized by the game designers, and forced to choose between the Talos-thumping, beard-braided rednecks of the Skyrim Tea Party on one side, and the effete, reptilian bankers of the IMF (the Imperial Monetary Fund) and the NWO (Nirn White-Gold Order) on the other.

Does anyone else sense that Skyrim is a ham-fisted attempt to portray a one-sided metaphor for current US politics?

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7 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

Not entirely sure, although I haven’t played it. It’s a fantasy genre, and from what I can gather, it obviously borrows from the generic pool of fantasy. I mean, what about Sauron and his orcs? Just seeing him raise his arms and yell To War!! reminded me of Bush. But I don’t think that’s what I was supposed to think about when watching the flick.
But stuff like that, it’s always strong elements of the fantasy genre. Factions, sides, ideals, conflicts.
I’m reminded of Final Fantasy VII, and how the Shinra corporation seems to be such a stereotypical (although probably frighteningly accurate haha) vision of the common American powerhouse corporation.

I really don’t think that game designers are trying to spread any kinda deep message across though. That could actually be a dangerous move for them. As I say I haven’t played Skyrim, but so many games do what you’re describing, sometimes it’s almost sickening how black and white it gets. But they just use common elements to the genre that are easy to work with and build a universe around. Dude. Does this game have any DLC? They’re just out for the cash. which means you could totally be right

ProTip; this post took an arrow to the knee.

DeanV's avatar

No way. When you find out there isn’t really an ending to either of the quests and nothing changes in the world you’ll rethink the metaphor.

YoKoolAid's avatar

You’re reading too much into it. It’s just a game. Play some civilization.

augustlan's avatar

Isn’t just about every thing in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy realm a metaphor for whatever direction civilization as a whole (not just America) seems to be heading for at the time it comes out?

sinscriven's avatar

You’re not being forced to choose anything, you can play through the entire main story without having to ally with either faction, in fact you probably shouldn’t until the main story line is done because you will otherwise screw yourself out of a significant chunk of story because your allegiance makes it impossible to communicate with some NPCs.

But I don’t think that just because a game has political intrigue in a fantasy universe that it’s meant to imply real life political situations. It’s its own deal.

The_Idler's avatar

It must be. Nothing like that situation has been experienced by anyone, anywhere, ever, in human history, until present day America. Right?

Oh wait, maybe its supposed to be a metaphor for the Roman Empire… or the Ottoman Empire…. or the Austrian Empire…. or the Russian Empire…. or the Chinese Empire… or the British Empire… or the Spanish Empire… or maybe, by taking their precedents from universal human history, they can make a premise and storyline that everyone will be able to understand and relate to.

The_Idler's avatar

I think a jump from tribal feudalism to communism would be pretty implausible, they’re quite clearly pre-modern, besides being pre-industrial-capitalist.

If you want to have your Workers’ Commonwealth (and liberate the rest of the world), try Victoria II.

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