Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

Games

Date November 2007 / Category News

The right wing party winning the latest elections in Switzerland communicated their political objectives in an online game. As reported by Ian Bogost on Watercoolergames  the game's hero is a white cartoon goat called Zottel. In "Zottel rescues Switzerland" the user has to solve missions such as kicking out black sheep "representing criminal foreigners", intercepting passports issued to immigrants and shooting "EU tax collectors" for the sake of a "flourishing Switzerland." (see screen shots)

The shocking aspect of the game is its trivialized racism, presented as a playful and harmless game. It would have been impossible for the Swiss People's Party to launch a version of Ethnic Cleansing a racist First Person Shooter developed by Neo-Nazi label Resistance Records. Even right-wing conservatives would have distanced themselves from the obvious endorsement of violence, white power, and racism. But it is actually that very spirit that the Zottel game thrives on.

Xenophobia and racism are wrapped into a cheerful online game promoting the People's Party's concern for safety, order and independence. Employing stereotypes of criminal immigrants, unwilling to adapt to Swiss law and culture, the People's Party promotes nationalism and hatred for foreigners as funny leisure activity. The obvious implication is actually the call for race war and genocide promoted explicitly in Ethnic Cleansing. The campaign represents the recent trend in European politics making nationalism sociable as protectionist conservative policy.

Tags Games Opinion

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