Play America Great Again. Manifestations of Americanness in Cold War Themed Video Games

Regina Seiwald

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study analyses mechanisms through which Cold War themed video games played from an American perspective propagate US authoritarianism by reiterating concepts of Americanness generated in popular media during the Cold War era. These video games work with cultural, historical, and social stereotypes to generate a dichotomy between good and evil and they heavily rely on emotions and morality in their portrayal of communist, socialist, and Soviet enemy forces. Popular concepts associated with America are used to propagate democracy and (political) freedom, while simultaneously vilifying their adversaries. Through drawing parallels to American Cold War propaganda and its utilisation of popular media, this paper asks how stereotypical notions of America are generated through symbolism in an engagement with material objects as well as thoughts and beliefs. Topics engaged with are media control, free speech, programming, espionage, intrigues, paranoia, trust, and the morality of the individual in a hyperreal environment. This study is conducted in reference to Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001), Freedom Fighters (2003), Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010), Tom Clancy?s Splinter Cell: Conviction (2010), Homefront (2011), and Alekhine?s Gun (2016). By considering mechanisms of propaganda in these games, it is shown how manifestations of Americanness are generated in them and how they affect friend and foe images.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-256
    Number of pages34
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 21 Dec 2020


    • America
    • Cold War
    • Video Games
    • Propaganda
    • Democracy
    • Baudrillard
    • Hyperreality
    • American Symbolism
    • Popular Media
    • gamevironments


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