Can games be political? Do conservatives/Republicans and their ilk prefer some types of game - Deer Hunter, for example - and liberals/Democrats others? To be honest, I don't know the answer. But I thought it would be fun to compile a list of free online games with a political edge. We have started with this collection of games we thought would appeal to liberals but over the coming weeks we will also be publishing lists of games for conservatives and socialists.
We should point out, before our inbox is deluged with angry messages, that this is a very tongue in cheek article. We have purposely painted liberals in the most extreme way we could, hopefully for comedic effect, and will treat conservatives and socialists similarly harshly when we come to them. Anyway, regardless of your political affiliations, these games are great fun, so go enjoy.
1 McDonald's Videogame
There is nothing liberals hate more than fast food. If it is not organic, ethically sourced and at least twice the price of what the plebs eat, then it is not worthy of ingestion. And any company that flogs cheap industrially-made food to the masses is particularly deserving of liberal ire, especially when it is McDonald's.
For some reason that I can't quite fathom, McDonald's enrages liberals like no other company. I think it might have something to do with their favourite journalist feeling a tad peaky after over-indulging on McDonald's fare and then making a film about it.
This interesting time-management game by Molle Industria - which highlights some of McDonald's odd production practices - will strengthen liberals' hatred of the fast food giant still further. Play it here.
2 Hemp Tycoon
Liberals tend to be much more relaxed about drug use than conservatives. Their hero - American president Barack Obama - even admitted that he once inhaled on a joint (now he prefers high office to getting high, thankfully).
So while liberals might disapprove of some of the more overtly commercial practices pursued by the protagonist in this fun game, they certainly would not be adverse to trying out some of his ware. Get your fix of Hemp Tycoon here.
3 Third World Farmer
When they are not worrying about which over-priced brand of organic breakfast cereal to eat, liberals are suffering fits of guilt over the plight of impoverished Africans.
Not that they would actually buy any food from African subsistence farmers, of course - “think of the air miles, my dear, and anyway they're all corrupt over there so the money would probably be spent on arms and female circumcision".
Instead, liberals like to donate a few pennies each month to a charity that sponsors an African goat. I am sure the goat would come in very handy for the protagonists in Third World Farmer, a strategy game where you have to help lift a third world farming family out of poverty. The game can be played here.
4 Faith Fighter
Although liberals will always espouse religious tolerance in public (except when it comes to Zionism and the religious right in the US), they secretly hate all religions, yearning for a world in which silly mystical stories about bearded men are replaced with the comforting logic of science.
Their dislike of religions stems to a great extent from their belief that religions foment wars and strife. And, it has to said, they have a certain amount of evidence to back up this view.
This game - another brilliancy from Molle Industria - succinctly sums up the liberal stance on religion: you play the boss of one of the six great religions and, in Street Fighter-style game-play, beat the living daylights out of rival religious figureheads. Play Faith Fighter here.
5 Sock and Awe
Don't, whatever you do, mention the name of former US president George W Bush (whoops, I've just ignored my own warning) in the presence of liberals. They will fly into an irrational and dangerous rage and probably never talk to you again.
Instead, simply direct them to the web address of this game. Here, they can release all their pent-up Bush hatred in a secure environment where no-one can get hurt, except the effigy of Bush in the game, of course.
The aim of the game - inspired by the antics of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi - is to hit bush in the face with a shoe. A nice touch is the cowering figure of Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki. Sock and Awe can be played here.
Nothing is more likely to arouse a liberal's indignation than police brutality against nice middle class people. Just witness the huge support for the Iranian protesters a few months back and the sympathy recently lavished on the student activists in the UK.
The latter protest brought to liberals' attention a new public control technique used by the British police. Nicknamed ‘kettle', it involves surrounding a group of protesters with a wall of armed police and preventing them from moving anywhere.
Kettling - which is the theme of this innovative game by Increpare (play here) - is undoubtedly an unfair and immoral practice but one can't help but wonder if liberals would be so condemnatory of it if those being kettled were right wingers calling for tougher immigration laws, rather than nice middle class kids whinging about having to pay for their education.
7 Climate Challenge
Although global warming is ultimately a non-partisan issue (it will effect both liberals and conservatives alike, and even anarchists won't be entirely immune to its consequences), there is little doubt that liberals have taken up the global warming flag with much more enthusiasm than other political groups.
Indeed, if the amount of coverage given to the issue in liberal-leaning newspapers like The Guardian and The New York Times is anything to go by, it has become something of an obsession. Barely a day passes without yet another strident article demanding that we accept lower living standards in the name of saving the planet.
Liberals will therefore likely enjoy this little gaming number, Climate Challenge, where they get to play the president of the United Nations and tell countries what they should be doing to stave off catastrophic climate change. Oh and the game is from that famously liberal institution, the BBC. What fun. Climate Challenge can be played here.
8 Airport Security
To their credit, liberals have been among the first to condemn the draconian laws that were rushed through in western countries following the 9/11 attacks in the US. Ostensibly created to protect against terrorism, these laws have turned into a major attack on individual freedom.
Liberals however have been noticeably quieter on the ludicrously intrusive measures people have to go through in order to fly to another country. One can't help but think that this is because liberals secretly wish that the dirty masses flew a little less. “Think of the carbon emissions we are saving by putting people off flying, and anyway they're probably only on a stag do to Prague, so the harder we make it for them to fly, the better".
In this game, Airport Security, you play an airport security guard and are tasked with confiscating banned items from passengers. The catch is that - just like in real life - the items that are banned are constantly changing. Play Airport Security here.
9 Queer Power
One thing all liberals (and, to be fair, many conservatives too) agree on these days is that sexuality does not matter. If you fancy people of a different sex, that is cool. If you desire people of the same sex, that is great also. And if you used to lust after people of a different sex, but now have the hots for people of the same sex, that is fine as well (probably best to keep quiet about your ardour for goats, mind you - liberal sexual tolerance does have its limits).
Given their relaxed views on sexuality, this game - which explores a world where people's proclivities are ever changing - should be right up liberals' street. Warning: if you are easily offended or below the age of 18, do not play this game. Play Queer Power here.
If the oil industry's reputation among liberals was not already at rock bottom, it certainly was after the recent Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster caused huge environmental damage and seemed to prove what liberals had been saying for years: oil companies do not care about people or the environment and are only interested in extracting the maximum return.
One might argue that if it wasn't for the oil industry, and the great economic and technological advances it has spawned, we probably would not live in a modern world able to support oil-hating liberals.
But liberals are not interested in such arguments: they simply want to feel very upset and angry. This game - which paints the oil industry in a very dark light - will help them feel that way. Play Oligarchy here.
Can you think of any other games that liberals might like? And while we're at it, are there any games you know that would appeal to conservatives or socialists?