Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

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Review of the game Prey (2017) of the project What is good.

Prey 2017 — is a science-fiction computer game, which has been released on May 5th 2017 by Bethesda Company. The action takes place on an imaginary orbital station “Talos I” in 2035 year, where a player is trying to stay alive and to save the Earth from the danger of taking-over by alien organisms. According to the plot this is the biggest and the most technologically developed station the humanity ever created, best scientists from all over the world work there, –  boot screens obviously tell about it. The goal of the station “Talos I” – are experiments, research and trials with paranormal abilities of alien organisms. But in short order they ran out of control, destroyed almost all station’s personnel, which, eventually, served the plot.

But what about the propaganda? It is the following:

  • Almost every 15 meters one may meets alcohol and tobacco – bottles, wineglasses, curbstones and ash trays.
  • By the most conservative estimate the player faces alcohol or tobacco on average each 2-3 minutes of playing time.
  • The information with drugs propaganda is being spread through all channels of perception: on station’s working computers one may read messages about alcohol, in books and note magazines as well, characters may in words announce the drug theme; there are posters on the walls with cigars or whiskey etc.

In order to understand this article correctly one needs to realize, that alcohol and nicotine – are drugs. And the gist of it does not change because of them being legal; they are no different from the prohibited ones. Just for some reason namely them have become allowable for advertising, production, sale, storage and “taking”.

One also needs to understand, what is propaganda and manipulation of the collective consciousness:

Propaganda — an information dissemination, when one facts are being suppressed or downgraded, and another are being spread, often with exaggeration or creation of false statements at the aim of forming a certain public opinion.

Manipulation of the collective consciousness — a concealed administration, which controls behavior, deprives from free choice through changing perceptions, opinions, motives and goals.

And now, provided with these knowledge, let’s looks at how drugs (alcohol, tobacco) are featuring in the game. In other words, which information do we learn about alcohol influence on a person? In Prey 2017 everything is under laws on propaganda – negative sides are being suppressed or downgraded, and positive are being exaggerated, or even invented.

What the game is going to tell about influence of alcohol on an organism?

Alcohol according to the game developers:

  • Restores health
  • Increases physical strength
  • Releases a character from fear, which decreases combat qualities in the game

But there are also negative sides – it decreases endurance and interrupts motion coordination, and also slightly erodes the picture on the screen.

Health resumption

This effect is totally made up, in reality alcohol damages health. The health benefit in the game one can take from any kind of alcohol products: gin, vodka, wine, beer, bourbon, bathtub gin. The fact of presence of such many types of alcohol products in the game about space is surprising itself, but the task of agitators is to integrate propaganda in any conditions.

In the game alcohol restores 1 unit of health, which is few, because to fully restore heath one will need to drink 100 bottles, but this is enough to suggest players the opinion about alcohol’s benefit, which is the main goal of such layings.

Physical strength increase

This is another imposed lie. In reality alcohol decreases physical strength.

Release from fear and negative effects

In the game alcohol decreases one combat characteristics (endurance and coordination), at that increasing another characteristics of a character, releasing him from the negative game effect “fear”.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 1 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

What Prey 2017 is going to tell you about alcohol harm? Only that in a drunken state your endurance will reduce, your coordination and sight will worsen. That’s all. But this is only about 10% of all harm. The real harm is being hidden, in order to make the player not to think of it, and to make him concentrate on separate outer displays of organism’s intoxication. The real harm – is addiction, hang over, health deterioration, and mainly – lowering the perspective of personal development (drinkers study and move the career ladder slower), but there is nothing about it in the game.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 2 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

On the picture is shown the visual effect of blurred vision of a character in a drunken state

Propaganda of alcohol, as such, technologically is not essentially different from the product placement of certain brands of alcohol products, that’s why knowing technologies of the hidden advertising, one may once again make sure goals and tasks of creators of such games. When reading further examples, pay attention to how the developers, across all laws of the product placement, endowed “the product” by positive qualities, even such, which it does not dispose, and concealed negative sides.

Surrounded by drugs

The information that everybody drinks and smokes, and this is allowable, has a strong effect on a player’s subconsciousness. How is this being denounced? The developers place (just like product placement) alcohol and cigarettes in work-rooms and cabins of the characters.

The space station “Talos I” is being stuffed with bottles, cigars, ash trays, which occur almost each 15 meters. This is a research station, where the best scientists in the world have gathered, but there are so many alcohol and tobacco, that this does not cut in the working atmosphere or intellectual elite. As judged by scattered bottles everyone drinks on the station, and a lot.

Not infrequently bottles occur in private cabins, at that not in closets in storage, but in an easy of approach places, which witnesses – the characters drink often. Alcohol may stand by computers, as working, so private. As an example, let’s look at just one location in detail, it is no different from many other.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 3 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

The game starts with a character’s wake up in his house, and there is a bottle of champagne right away. Therefore, we can conclude, that the character is a drinker.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 4 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

If we get closer to the bottle, nearby we find a note saying “Congratulations”, which surreptitiously impose, that such festal occasions one needs to celebrate with alcohol. By the way, in another location there is a table with alcohol, wineglasses, confetti and a note, congratulating with the b-day as well. All this takes place on a deck-bridge of a space ship (a room for administration, observation and connection), where in theory one needs to work, not to drink alcohol.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 5 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

On the other table by the computer there is another wine bottle, witnessing that the main hero drinks straight in front of the computer. This propaganda trick is going to be used minimum two times by computers of other characters, and even by the working ones. The player is being showed an example to drink in front of the computer, creating an impression, that this does not disturb work, and supposedly many scientists do so.

Somehow our character is not a nondrinker, as well as any other character in the game. Nobody has ever told about nondrinkers in games and movies, it has always a thought being carried out, that everybody drinks, and that this is normal. If you come up with at least one character-nondrinker from movies, than on one nondrinker you would remember dozens of drinkers, and maybe even hundreds.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 6 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

The apartment of the main hero is located in the simulation laboratory, where scientists work. They have simulated him an apartment, secretly making an impression, that he is on Earth, not at the station, but let’s leave the plot’s details. Going out from the apartment to the laboratory, we meet two more wine bottles.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 7 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

And if come closer to them, one may see another three not so far away. Is it truly not a bar’s warehouse, where scientists work? I think this example is enough for understanding the frequency of drugs appearance. There are rooms without them, but alcohol and tobacco occur often.

In Prey 2017 one may get in units for grassroots, and also in working cabinets and living rooms of management, and everywhere bottles and cigars occur equally much. Even though it is known, that nondrinkers have more chances for a successful career, this is not shown anyhow in the game, on the contrary, one gets an impression, that drugs do not block the work of the space station. Our character and his brother – are the main on the station, and both are drinkers.

In total in the game there are many items, connected with drugs: several types of alcohol, a curbstone, a pack of cigars, an ash tray, a cigar butt, wineglasses, and a vessel for mixing alcohol with an ice. In majority of rooms there is at least one item, often many at a time.

Posters

Wall posters – are one of the dissemination channels, indeed one may not only spread alcohol and tobacco throughout the game in the form of items of bottles and cigars, but also draw on the walls.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 8 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

Several times we have met a poster with a commercial of an invented movie, where there is a stylish man with a glass of alcohol. There are also posters with a commercial of an invented cigars’ brand, and also instructions for the personnel with a drawn cigar, allegedly by chance intruded along with other items. In one of the cabins, except for alcohol, there is a picture on the wall with a man with cigar. And we are going to meet a snowman with a cigar instead of a nose.

This is done in order to divide memories about drugs by different channels of perception, so as the player won’t notice, how he is being reminded about same things under different sauces. It seems that the player saw a poster with a movie advertisement, and in fact he has been shown an image of a person with alcohol, to put information that drinking alcohol – is a style of a kick-ass man in our subconscious.

Inventory

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 9 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

Inventory – is another channel of information perception. Each time opening it, the player is going to see bottles with alcohol (even though he may not take them), and he will have to get there often. For 10-20 minutes I have met:

  • A bottle of the table
  • A bottle by the computer
  • A glass on a poster with a movie advertisement
  • Bottles in a store room in a laboratory simulation
  • A table «No smoking»
  • A pack of cigars
  • A curbstone in a trash bin
  • In a description of a curbstone it is mentioned, that it “smells with whiskey”

Food

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 10 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

There are different items in the game: several types of food, green tea, coffee, energetic drink. Any food has the same effect and renovates 5 units of health. There are no regular fruit and vegetables in the game, but only “moony lemon”, “blue pomegranate” and other modified fruit.

There is much coffee. Working and leisure rooms are often equipped with coffee automats and coffee-machines, there also coffee cups and pots. Characters talk about coffee. This is not occasional, in the Fallout 4 (2015) game from the same developers almost every cup was called “Coffee cup”, and this note, resembling about coffee, has often been on the backlight of the screen, since the game is connected with collecting things. Also in the Fallout 4 there have been many coffee automats with coffee pots. In the game Skyrim (2011) from the very same developers almost every cup called “Beer cup”, also in this game wine restored power, and one could find it on each table in every house. There have been much more – the developers from Bethesda have been doing propaganda for a long time.

Smoking

The game often reminds about smoking – in many rooms there are cigar packs, stubs on tables and in trash bins. Time after time ash trays are placed straight under tables “No Smoking” even in working rooms with equipment, which would be illogical to blanket, and even near highly explosive balloons and tubes with gas. There is no reality in it, but only a wish to fill the game with all that connected to smoking. One can pass the game in 10-20 hours, all these time once in several minutes the player meets things, reminding of smoking – hundreds of mentions.

In one of many books, scattered throughout the locations, and which one can easily miss, is written the following: “earlier people were afraid of smoking, but after they developed the opportunity to smoke, not causing lung cancer, smoking had started to be considered no dangerous than drinking soda”. This gimmick allows to justify sway of tobacco in the game, but we understand, that dozens of ash trays, stubs and cigars are added in the game not because there is a book in it.

The deceit of propagandists is much deeper, than you think. I’m sure, many of readers have not even noticed, that in the book it is stated, that if smoking does not cause lung cancer, than it is harmless. The book has been added in the game in order to imply this thought. The player understands that the story is made up only in the part of that smoking stopped causing lung cancer, but he perceives the information, that there are no other reasons not to smoke, except for cancer danger, even though it is a lie. And since cancer emerges far from everybody, there is a logical outcome – there are big chances to smoke, and there will be no harm for one’s health (“no dangerous than soda” © write the developers of Prey 2017 to the players).

Danger or harm from smoking?

The book tells about the danger, not about the harm from smoking. It is often written on cigarettes “smoking is dangerous”, but this is a lie! Smoking is not dangerous for health, but harmful, and this is a big difference. Let’s, firstly, learn why it is harmful:
In reality the main harm from smoking is that a person loses living powers even without any cancer, smoking worsens body health and brain work. A smoker develops slower, studies and achieves goals worse, makes decisions less effective. One may evaluate the development in exact numbers, for example, in salary. If a person has been smoking for 30 years, he caused his development such damage, that he had been moving by career ladder worse, I think at least in 2-3 time cut his salary. I.e. if he had not smoked, he’d placed a higher position and earned more. This is the real harm from smoking – the decrease of development perspective.

And what the danger is? The danger – is a probability to get harm. For example, it is unsafe to walk along roof’s edge – there is a danger to fall and get injured, but one can walk without falling down, then there will be no harm for health. It is impossible with smoking, the harm is guaranteed. The difference between the chance of getting harm, and the guaranteed harm is significant. Nothing is said about addiction from smoking in the game, in the imaginary book too, since this scares people away.

propaganda narkotikov v igre prey 2017 11 Propaganda of drugs in the game «Prey 2017»

The table «No Smoking»

This table appears in the game 15-20 times, but for some reason everybody smokes everywhere. It is unimportant whether it is written “smoking”, or “no smoking”, in any case the player is being reminded of smoking. The tables “No Smoking” are located in the local first-aid station, of course, this does not anyhow influence on availability of ash trays. Even in a separate quarantine station there is an ash tray with stubs, and the local boss has cigars.

The propagandists remind of alcohol and smoking as often as possible, the main thing – not to cause suspicions by obtrusiveness, that’s why they use all channels of perception. For instance, in fitness-hall, there are rules hanged apart from the table “No Smoking”, one of the rules runs “without food and alcohol drinks”. By the way, there have not been found ash trays and bottles, but they are not necessary, since the player has been reminded of drugs through the tables.

Recreation centre

There is a room for recreation in the game. The recreation – is a complex of health precautions done in order to restore normal well-being and working ability of healthy, but tired person. How do you imagine a recreation centre? Maybe one can get a massage there, swim in a pool, try therapeutic muds, have a healthy sleep, maybe there is fresh air?

Everything is on the contrary in the game. The recreation – is alcohol, smoking and computer games, to the developers’ point of view, of course. As soon as we get in the recreation centre, we see a table with cards and ash tray, beer and gin, nearby a TV with games console.

In the game there is also a small room called “rest-room”, there are 3 ash trays and wine bottles. They purposely want to imply, that rest – is alcohol and tobacco, by the way, that’s why one may see ash trays and bottles near separate standing chairs and armchairs.

Counting, that the personnel drinks almost everywhere, it is unclear, why there is a bar on the station? Yes, indeed, you are not mistaken – they added on a scientific space ship a whole separate special room – a real bar! Stands, tables, bottles and taps with alcohol, music, dance-floor. A private company, which owns the station “Talos I” is surprisingly not interested in workforce productivity of their employees, it is more likely, that management wants to make everything, in order the scientists worked as bad as they can.

Outcomes

The plot about space and contradiction to an alien threat is not predisposes to the presence of alcohol and tobacco in the game, but drugs are presented in it in big quantities. And this is the place, where scientists fly to work. It is shown, that best academic minds constantly drink alcohol and smoke, even though it is a lie – they could never become the best, if drank and smoke so much. Positive characteristics of alcohol are made up in the game; the real negative characteristics are being hushed up. Tricks of hidden thought leading, that the main harm of smoking – is cancer, are being used, so there are chances to smoke without harm. There is no word about real harm from smoking.

Along dozens of positive and neutral (which also propagandize) mentions about alcohol, there has been only one case with negative meaning. On one of the computers one can read an email telling that a person went to work in a drunken state, and he might get fired. But this is only for distraction of attention, for the same reason in the game there are side effects of alcohol, an allegedly objective picture is being created, but it is not objective. The main harm is always being hidden, and in the function of the main harm an accidental is being put forward, and also the developers stick and make up out so-called “positive sides”. Trying to create an impression, that alcohol is a life norm, they created another 2 e-mails on other’s characters computers: in one of them they call somebody for a drink, and in another inform, which alcohol product one of the bosses likes.

What is the probability to meet drugs in locations? Different everywhere, for example, in a cargo module of the station I opened 10 containers, in 3 of them was something connected with alcohol and tobacco. Besides, we will meet about a hundred characters (mainly their bones); two of them will have a bottle in his inventory. On the station, where scientists work, 2% of the personnel at the moment of death walked with bottles in their pockets – this is unrealistic. And there are going to be characters, lying near alcohol, in total there are more than 2% of “anesthetized” characters. Drug poisons are added not for the sake of realistic filling with things the surrounding space, for example, in a ventilation system one can find two wineglasses, it seems that a couple hided away, in one of store rooms – a bottle and two wineglasses, in a toilette cabin – 3 cans of beer. These have been added in order to create an impression, that this is normal.

Typical questions and objections

Do you consider that the game is 18+?
This does not affect anything, in Russia every child can download from the Internet, and I doubt that in other countries age rating seriously prevents from playing this game by underage. Besides, propaganda affects everybody, even though more children, than adults. It is illogical to think, that children are not allowed to be propagandized drugs, but adults are.

Maybe this game is just so specific, and in other it is not so?
I have analyzed Fallout 4, Skyrim and GTA 5, the propaganda runs high everywhere, and are used tricks of mind manipulating. The same situation is with Battlefield Hardline and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Even though there are many games without propaganda, the situation gets worse, since games gain popularity – if earlier only teenagers played them, now to play even in 30 and 40 years is considered to be normal. Now games have a significant audience and big influence, and this attracts propagandists.

Maybe all these are accidental?
The propaganda is built across the whole laws of product placement. Do you really think that again and again in many games the scenario, decorations, actions, textures modeling and other performed according to the laws of product placement are accidental?

If this would be true, censorship won’t let it pass.
Let’s look at how laws are being created in a government. There is also a certain censorship there, which task is not to let stupid and harmful laws pass. Say: are you okay with the laws in your country? If you answer, that there are many harmful laws, then I will bring your thesis back to you: had it be true, censorship would not let it pass. One doesn’t need to think, that censors – are people with endless power, whom nothing can influence.

I think all these do not work.
It works and very strongly, you just don’t realize it. One needs to study for a long time to observe one’s thoughts, and also looks carefully on how films and games are made, in order to understand their influence. People move towards it gradually, don’t think, that you will understand everything from one article. A first-grader does not understand the 10th grade algebra at one time, but gradually studies from year to year. Films and games are flooded with tricks of manipulation of your mind. Do you know why you can’t see it? Because manipulation – is hidden management. I don’t call to believe me on the say-so, that you are being manipulated, I appeal to you to make all these clear deeper.

When I played or watched a movie, I have not memorized or noticed anything from you have described, so this does not work.
Some people think that if they have not memorized or payed attention, that there are drugs in movies and games, the propaganda does not work. First of all, one does not necessarily need to notice. To notice (realize) one can only by means of consciousness. And in order a manipulation goes successfully, you don’t need to notice, how it has been done. Your mind about drugs will change independently from the fact whether or not you have caught by your consciousness, if there have been something said about them or not. Second of all, one does not need to memorize. If you can’t even remember, how many “dope” have been shown in a game or a film, these does not anyhow affect the amount of information, which anchored in subconsciousness. Imagine, that you ate something for lunch and forgot about it, will the fact that you have forgotten about the eaten somehow affect the amount of food in your stomach?

If take a deeper look, such propaganda is everywhere.
Not everywhere, but only where it has been placed. By means of films many people have already been convinced, that drugs (alcohol and tobacco) – are essential part of life, that’s why these one way or another appear in any creative work of many authors. But in Prey 2017 drugs appear just about each 15 meters (of course, there is space without them), and appear on the screen in average once in every 3 minutes, and this is by the most conservative estimate. And indeed in the previous game Fallout 4 from the same developers the situation was the same, as well as in Skyrim.

I still have not realized.
One needs to think a lot to realize. For example, such thought: imagine that you develop a game for your child. Will you add in it drugs for “increasing reality” of for the “image”, or conversely will try to integrate healthy meanings? One could create a game about sportsmen with the logic: in order to explore space – one needs to be healthy. And surreptitiously lead thoughts about healthy nutrition, regular exercise and refusal from self-poisoning.

Why games and films do not propagandize the good?
As a rule, films just pretend to propagandize useful, and they do it successfully, since the majority of people are not familiar with propaganda technologies, they are easy to be given one thing for another. And there is no really useful propaganda, because nobody has to pay for such propaganda, since money are being made on poisons’ sale: if a nondrinker will get addicted to cigarettes, alcohol or coffee, this will bring the producer money, and if a person quits poisoning himself, nobody will receive money for that.

Constantine Orlov

Translated by Daria Egorova

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