..[V]ideo gaming is about control. Your participation is restricted to steering and maintaining the narrative flow, altering the course of the story, using the environment for your ends, eliminating hindrances (monsters, or human antagonists) and generally being the only significant individual anywhere in the game. You are either the shooter Attila or the society-ruling God, the one-man plague or the orchestrator of a greed-based system.
Absorbing a narrative in a film or on TV or in a stage play involves observation but also an exchange of empathy, anticipation, authorial intent and thematic meaning. Playing a game is more single-minded — you dominate the world, accumulate the goods and safeguard your own ass — one way or another.
In this sense, most video games are infantile in nature, and inherently conservative. Think of them as individuated modes of authority disguised as either an escape from authority (the Tea Party esprit) or as benevolent dictatorship (in Spore, you get to control an organism’s evolution, which isn’t evolution, of course, but deism). At the core of the medium is the lust for and the rewards of unfettered control. These are the primitive precepts of conservatism as it’s practiced in the modern world. Whether they realize it or not, devotees of “the free market” (who now resemble Jehovah’s Witnesses failing to predict the world’s end over and over again) are players of a vast gaming schema — a world that they maintain is “free” yet long to dominate.
The one paradigm that differs from this pattern — the ostensibly egalitarian MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) such as World of Warcraft and Ultima — is just as solipsistic, if impossible for an individual to control. You participate in a vast social web, but only in conflict or in commerce. Apparently, this mechanical Zeitgeist has no room for a democratic idea or a genuine social impulse. Profit and power dominate the players’ modus operandi.