Imperial Gothic Games

A proposal for a conscious and critical ludonarrative response to the mainstream ideological discourses of geopolitical and imperial gothic video games. 


Geopolitical video games is a loose term to describe games that are set in a political (especially military) context within the historical world, albeit often with thinly veiled parody/fictionalisation of names, cultures etc, primarily dealing with relations (violent or diplomatic) between nations, peoples, sects etc

Imperial Gothic video games are games that express imperialist ideology and subliminal anxiety in an allegorical fashion using gothic tropes.


Video games are a lucrative and influential form of modern culture, often regarded as low brow entertainment and their ideological significance overlooked, this is changing however with various critical theorists and internet nerds.

Examples of ideology in narrative and mechanics (gameplay) – 

Narrative: Patriotism, Othering of the Enemy, Become Evil to Stop Evil, Civilising the Frontier, Captivity Narrative

Mechanics: There is No Alternative (Capitalism Always Wins)  

Geopolitical and Imperial Gothic games are targeted primarily at young males, in some cases these games are the primary interpretation of history and contemporary events available to the player. Through their narrative, game mechanics and philosophical core the game is free to indoctrinate the player over long hours of active participation, almost virtually implicating the player in the often violent events of the game, akin to a soft form of grooming (indoctrination of child soldiers through-out time and history). 


The proposal of an alternative ludonarrative: Critical Entertainment, particularly in the form of computer games.

Three Goals of the Critical Entertainment Project:

Revealing truths about history, particularly the history of imperialist violence and its connection to global capital.  

Subverting mainstream violent/patriotic narratives, revealing their hollowness

Proposing alternative solutions to geopolitical problems

Take me away from all this!

%d bloggers like this: