Video Games and Politics

Video games sometimes contain surprising references to political subjects. Take for example the video game No One Lives Forever from the year 2000, created by an American developer. In this game – in the style of the espionage movies and series of the 1960’s – one plays the role of Cate Archer, a British secret agent.

In this game the player works for an organisation which goal is to protect the world from evil. The name of this organisation is Unity.

A possible interpretation

Where could this word – unity – refer to? It could refer to the UN, an international political organisation. But it could also refer to something else – the unity of the West or the Western world.

The idea that there is some kind of unity in the West is not something random. It goes back to the Western Roman Empire, an important political unity that once existed in Europe and encompassed, among other countries, France and a part of England.

The Western Roman imperium initially lied in the hands of the Roman emperors. But it was being handed over to the king of France when Rome began to become weaker because of the attacks of Germanic tribes.

The idea of the West

Nowadays, the idea of the West as a political unity is not very lively in Europe. It could be argued though that it is an attractive idea. In the first place the idea of the West offers a framework that is not limited to Europe, but also stretches out to the overseas regions, like the US and Canada.

A second attractive aspect of the idea of the West is that it is not just something political or geographical. It is, from the beginning, connected with the ideal of Civilisation.

A dynamical process

The Roman Empire is often being viewed as the result of a one way process, a process whereby the Romans imposed a certain culture on the conquered peoples. But we could also see it as the result of a process that involved both parties – a process of interaction between the Romans on the one hand and, for example, the inhabitants of England and France, on the other hand.

Actual meaning

Formally, the Western Roman Empire doesn’t exist anymore. But it could be argued that the underlying process – which is, in essence, a process of Civilisation – is still actual. We could say that, in the course of time, the focus of this process has shifted. While initially this focus lied on the interaction between Rome and Western Europe it could be said that nowadays it lies in the interaction between Western Europe and North America.


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