We’ve recently gone over Tucker Carlson’s “Men in America” series, discussing how men can regain their pride and spirit. One of the big reasons why men are lost is because there’s little to fire their imagination and awaken within them the spirit to be outstanding and triumphant, with the problem being especially severe with the younger generation. More and more of popular culture is whitewashed with political correctness. Exposing yourself to it, let alone boys growing up, isn’t conducive to a strong spirit.
There are still worthy things out there. You just need to know where you can find them. Consider this the start of a series about the things in pop culture which can help inspire men and boys, or at least help them escape the politically correct garbage constantly flooding the airwaves.
Today the topic is video games. I’ve warned about these in the past, but young boys are going to play them. I haven’t paid attention to the industry for a while, so this will deal with classic games. These are timeless, so new generations will enjoy them as much as older ones. The list isn’t any specific order.
4. The Total War Series
The Total War Series, produced by The Creative Assembly (which now operates under Sega’s umbrella) is a combination of careful management and battlefield strategy. When I was 16 and 17, Rome: Total War was a staple of my free time. It was one of the ways I was exposed to Classical learning early on, since the game was full of quotes from the likes of Caesar, Cicero, Homer, Socrates, and so on, which I promptly went on to find out more about. Each unit and building also had an extensive summary of their historical significance, although the game had its share of inaccuracies.
Playing Rome: Total War provided a burst of energy, with commanding forces on the battlefield being a way to build pride (even if fleetingly). The battlefield aspect was balanced with careful management on the campaign map. How much do you tax a settlement? How do you manage the happiness of the population, especially a recently-conquered one? How do you ensure fertility and defend from invasion?
Did any of this help in real life? No. But they were fun questions to think about. The battles provided a rambunctiousness that’s especially lacking today. There are worse diversions for boys than playing the Total War games.
4. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
I’m specifically talking about the computer games here, not the console ones.
Unlike other shooters, the Rainbow Six series wasn’t just about randomly waltzing into different rooms and blasting the first thing that came into focus. I found that out fast when I first started playing Rogue Spear in late 1999. Each course had a delicate situation that needed to be handled with care, like a hostage crisis. You were required to select the right personnel, weapons, and equipment. From there, you needed to formulate a careful tactical plan.
The Rainbow Six series requires players to think tactically and several steps ahead. It’s a fun way to grasp some of the nuances of strategy in general. Though most of that was inevitably lost on me, Rainbow Six is an ideal choice to get boys to think about things in new ways while not feeling like they’re doing any work.
Starcraft was one of the most revolutionary games of all time, perfecting the real time strategy genre. Unlike the Total War series, players don’t command units of troops, but individual ones which can be put into a unit. It’s a less realistic take on warfare, but Starcraft’s greatest strength is that it puts a great emphasis on combined arms strategy.
The units in the game are incredibly well-balanced, forcing players to pick a good strategy to suit their situation instead of simply relying on one class of overpowered unit. The battles force players to think outside the box and get creative, which is not instilled in today’s schools.
Playing video games like Starcraft can never be confused for a proper education, but boys can expect to be kept on their toes, thinking fast. There isn’t enough of that now.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
This could extend to the entire Legend of Zelda series, but Ocarina of Time deserves a special mention, especially since I wrote an entire post about it.
Every boy yearns for adventure. Every man still does. It’s why stories like The Odyssey still captivate the world so many centuries later. This sense of adventure and imagination needs to be explored and most media just doesn’t do it. The Legend of Zelda series gives players so much to do and a vast world to explore.
Adventure fires up imagination, which in turn brings ambition. It gets you in the habit of thinking big, which is always the first step. Repeat thought turns into action. Too much of modern media is cloistered into politically correct tropes. The Legend of Zelda series strips this away and leaves the world free for the player to explore. Not to mention, Ocarina of Time has a great story. The fights and the saving of the damsel in distress provided some of that rambunctious energy I mentioned earlier.
The saving of the damsel part of the story speaks to primal male desires, but this can translate into white knighting which needs to be avoided. Not enough boys are taught about that. I wasn’t.
Nevertheless, boys need room to explore. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time provides it and more, as will the newer Zelda games.