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Star Wars And Subversion

“In short. . .subversion.” Those are the words said by the quest giver in The Old Republic known only as Keeper. He says this in the very beginning of the Imperial Agent’s storyline as he is giving your character her very first mission. Your mission, that you have nothing to really say about choosing, is to convince Nemro the Hutt to join forces with the Empire.

Your first view of Hutta is hardly all that nice. There’s a gang war going on between Nemro and Fathra, and the combatants are busy standing in what looks like toxic waste.

Wait. . .it doesn’t just look like toxic waste- it IS toxic waste.

Right now, there is a lot of people with a bug up their butts over the idea of same-sex characters and marriage being introduced to Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it is also obvious that the people who have been making the complaints have never really played the game. The game is highly subversive.

Let us start on Hutta. You are starting as an Imperial Agent. You have chosen your race, and your race will, actually, determine how you are treated throughout the storyline. If you are human, you will be treated with respect along the way. If you are, say, Chiss or Zabrak, well, you aren’t going to be treated with much respect, even by your fellow Agents. The Empire is a very racist bunch of people. Unless you are Human or Sith Pureblood, it will not matter how far up the ranks you go, someone who is Human or Sith will always be considered better than you. You’ll get a lot of comments about how “amazing” it is to see aliens doing specialty work in the Empire.

So, you get to experience discrimination and racism first hand in the game.

It goes on from there. On Hutta, you get to help out a pair of starving former factory workers who lost their jobs in a hostile take over and are now scrounging parts from junk heaps to sell for food. You have to help Nemro put down a rebellion among the enslaved natives, and even kill their chief- if you’re a Bounty Hunter. All the while, you do this on a world that makes your average toxic swamp look like a pristine beach and fighting monsters that have mutated because of the toxic sludge they live in.

Oh, and then there’s the Czerka Corp executive. . .seems he’s been running around killing native Evocii just because he can. These are a species that, while a bit gullible, can walk, talk and are sentient. As far as he is concerned, they are nothing more than animals. It goes on from there, actually.

If you play a Jedi, you get to go to Coruscant where you find out that the upper classes have been living well while the refugees and lower classes starve and rebel. On Ord Mantell, you get to see a lot of the horrors of war and corruption including soldiers laughing off making refugees run a minefield in order to get food.

It is kind of easy to go after Star Wars: The Old Republic on the grounds of the whole lesbian and gay characters thing, but when you get right down to it, the whole game is subversive. Video games are pretty subversive, when you get right down to it.

And, I, for one, would rather not have it any other way.

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