Chaotic Thoughts: The Red Pixels of Communism

Starcraft 2 zerg

I’m one of those people that feel that videogames contain a deeper meaning; of course, I was an English major— we think there’s deeper meaning in a pile of rocks, so take all of this with a grain of salt. So as I click my way through Starcraft 2, my mind starts to wander while the dozens of SCVs scurry about the blue crystals. Call me McCarthy, but I believe that the primary struggle in Starcraft 2 is the battle between communism and capitalism.

McCarthy Red Scare

Joe McCarthy didn't rock the Zerg rush

Think about it: to protect their way of life, humanity (the Terrans) are fighting an alien race (the Zerg) that swarms across the universe. Furthermore, the Zerg are controlled by a collective mind—or at least were, until a new charismatic leader (Kerrigan) rose up to take over the party.

I also present as evidence the character of Jim Raynor and his crew. Each Terran character exhibits strong individual values, but more importantly, Raynor and Tychus are after capital to fund their war. They will do whatever it takes to discover new mineral reserves and fill their coffers, desecrating sacred ground and displacing native populaces. Sound familiar?

Joseph Stalin Kerrigan

Practically cousins

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Tropico 3: Tackling Communism with a big Bear Hug

The SimCity series was one of my favorite series back in the hay day of computer gaming.  The ability to build a sprawling metropolis was awesome, and although my limited knowledge of economics doomed every one of my cities to poverty and red budgets, I nevertheless had fun, particularly destroying my cities with alien invasions, earthquakes, and riots. Tropico 3 is the communist relative of SimCity, and if the game is any indication as to how much fun communism can be, I might become a comrade.

The beauty of Tropico is that you can get as in-depth or hands-off as you want. If you want to stalk every one of your citizens and cater to their every need, you can do that, especially if you’re going for the Big Brother feel. If you just want to make a tropical paradise (or a military stronghold, or industry powerhouse), you can do that, too. It’s a great balance between casual and micro-managing gameplay styles.

This leads me to my next favorite part about the game: there are so many different ways to play it. Hop into the career mode and you’ll find that the game challenges you to rule islands in a variety of different ways. Some missions have you build a tourist island (and I loved the fact that the island itself was in the shape of a foot) and others will have you make a certain amount of money, while other missions will ask you to put down rebellions on your island. The mission objectives are varied and entertaining.

There are no difficulty modes in Tropico 3; rather, you make your own difficulty. If you’re tasked at creating a tropical paradise, it might be harder to do it when your leader (who you can pick at the start of every mission) comes from a military background. For example, I created a custom avatar named Yarg McYargson, who wore an admiral uniform and came from a communist background. This made the missions in which I had to produce a certain amount of product easier, but it made missions where I had to gain the interests of tourists harder. I kept my same avatar throughout the entirety of the campaign, because I’m a lifelong supporter of Yarg McYargson.

Viva Yarg McYargson!

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