Fire Emblem: The Good, The Bad, and the Gray

My two favorite things in the world are politics/social issues and video games for their ability to bring people together in massive shouting matches to determine which side is worse. For my analysis I’ve decided to use a game That I’ve spent around 200 hours playing and that is Fire Emblem: Three Houses! The game takes place in feudal times where 3 territories exist alongside a central church that possesses a lot more power than a church reasonably should. Now the system of nobility is based around who is born to the right families and who is born bearing what is know as a “crest” basically an internal birthmark that dictates how much use you have to your noble family, there’s the race of evil underground villains who wish to eradicate humanity, and finally there’s an invading empire that wishes to reunite the land under its rule. Now the kicker is that the villain of the story changes depending on which character you choose to work with. The game is very gray in its portrayal of it’s characters; the player is able to choose the faction that aligns with their values and the story goes off from there. Do you fight to uphold a system in hope to reform it? Do you commit evil to rid yourself of evil? Do you let the two sides war it out and go after the true villains? And just who ARE the true villains exactly? The correct answer to all these questions is simple: Yes.

The reading makes a fantastic point “Conflict is often seen as a necessary and vitalizing ingredient of games, and in mainstream video games conflict usually takes the form of violence. (Belman and Flanigan). The point of the story boils down to an inevitable when the empire works with the villains to usurp the church and their rotten values, akin to certain real world revolutions, with elements of certain real world interventions as well. Most recently there was a string of riots after the murder of several african american citizens. A good question the game seems to pose is “ is violence the path that we need in order to attain change, even if it means sacrificing innocents lives? Or is it better not to shake up the pot in hopes of eventual internal reform?” It’s a hard question to fathom really and there’s not an option to compromise, it is up to the player what is best. Change is not something that comes by easily and the slow and steady route may take more lives, but forcing a solution can work in the short term yet who knows if it’s a fix or a pathway to another problem. Has every revolution in the world had positive results? Will change truly come about by peacefully and passively protesting? And what happens when you throw evil mole people into the mix? It’s not easy to answer and that’s the beauty of it all.

Gameplay (if you choose to defend the system)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhuqoKCOOBE

Gameplay (if you choose to destroy the system)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd_Ah3X1P3c

Sources:

Belman, Jonathan, and Mary Flanagan. “Exploring the Creative Potential of Values Conscious Game Design: Students’ Experiences with the VAP Curriculum.” Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture, www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/viewArticle/83/156.

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