Unmanned Character Analysis

1846 Words8 Pages
Paolo Pedercini uses his video game Unmanned to deliver a social commentary on the normalization of bigotry that is present in the thought processes and behavior patterns of privileged cisgender, heterosexual, white men. The Western market for video games is designed around the concept that video games are for boys. Most games strive to allow the player to immerse themselves in the protagonist- and what better way for a man to immerse himself in a character than if the character displays the same bigoted traits as he does?
In “A Series of Interesting Choices: The Building Blocks of Emotional Design”, Katherine Isbister says “The player moves through the game world taking actions as this person, adopting his or her concerns and struggling
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When Markus arrives at work, Pedercini uses the dual-screen mechanic to force the player to disconnect from Markus and his behavior. In the scenes at work, you’re required to keep following a target with your crosshairs on the right, which drifts off the target whenever you go to click dialogue options on the left. These dialogue options are increasingly problematic as well, beginning with some flirting with the co-pilot Jane. Remember, Markus is married. Csikzentmihalyi, in his book Applications of Flow in Human Development and Education, says that “For a person to experience flow, he or she must be able to recognize opportunities for action in the environment and must have the skills to deal with them.” (Csikzentmihalyi, “Learning, ‘Flow’, and Happiness”, Applications of Flow in Human Development and Education) The dual-screen mechanic is confusing at first and takes multiple playthroughs to fully understand, which means the majority of players will be unable to recognize the opportunities for action, as Csikzentmihalyi puts…show more content…
Pedercini juxtaposes the shaving scene and the drone scenes by juxtaposing the player being forced to read bigoted dialogue versus the player having the option of choosing it themselves. The two situations are similar, but not identical in the way they perpetuate themes of toxic masculinity.
Pedercini uses Unmanned as a way to call out the problematic nature of video games- that their interactivity and immersion almost always exclusively support prejudiced behavior and thoughts. By forcing the player to sit through certain remarks in the shaving scene, Pedercini draws attention to the socialization that normalizes bigotry in men. In the following scenes, Pedercini breaks the player out of their flow channel to draw attention to the fact that Markus’ behavior is not
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