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The baffling rise of ‘conservative-core’ games, explained.

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The age of Pinterest has seen a number of aesthetic decisions find traction on the internet. Goblincore and cottagecore have risen to become popular design choices but now, a new core has joined the conversation, though it has much less to do with home decoration aesthetics and much more to do with – as baffled Reddit gamers have discovered – gross misunderstanding of video game subtext. The 40-entry long list of “conservative ore” video games ranges from somewhat understandable shooters like Sniper Elite, and Battlefront II, to the head-scratching Bioshock, to Doom, to the completely baffling The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. The list has users wondering how  it’s contributors paid so little attention to the games they’ve been playing, while simultaneously laughing uncontrollably at the many less-than-conservative entries.

What is “conservative-core?”

Screengrab via Reddit

The only “official” entry for conservativecore comes from Urban Dictionary, which describes the practice as being ironic while presenting conservative ideals. While it would make a lot of sense, the list’s original poster doesn’t seem to have the self-awareness required for this level of satire, and with the provided list of examples turning out to be less than helpful we’ve decided to try and define this elusive idea. Like the other “core” aesthetics, conservativecore should be built around the idea of what presenting conservative could be. For example, “goblincore” takes the ugly goblin-like elements of nature – like frogs, snails, and mushrooms – and uses them to represent beauty. Likewise, cottagecore relies on the elements of simple living for its design principles. To that end, conservativecore – though it has yet to get its own Wikipedia page – should take the ideals of conservativism and apply them to make some sort of aesthetic.

We’re going to base this idea on the pillars of conservativism, like limited government, rule of law, individual freedom, reverence of the free market, pro-life sentiment, patriotism, and peace through strength, to name a few. The genre should be gritty, involve a good amount of killing (with guns), avoid commonly liberal topics like LGBTQIA+ and human rights, and finally, have an overwhelming sense of personal and political superiority. If this god forsaken “movement” ever gains traction we’ll be sure to update, but given that the original poster seemed to have little idea of what they were going for, this seems doubtful.

What games are “conservativecore?”


Are video games actually super conservative? We explore the plots to debunk this foolishness. #videogames #gaming #bioshock #silenthill3 #megaman #fallout #zeldaocarinaoftime

♬ original sound – The Serfs

If we apply that John-Wayne-meets-Rush-Limbaugh lovechild to an art direction, you can start to see how some of the listed games might fit in from a cursory glance. Games like Sniper Elite, Doom, Company of Heroes, Perfect Dark, Golden Eye 007, Battlefront II, Metro, and God of War are all visceral games that hammer home the ideas of war, rule of law, or raw strength. They feature hyper-masculine men (except Perfect Dark, which starts a classically feminine woman) and fit the criteria for games one would expect to find in the room of a 14-year-old boy 15 years ago. ­­­­­

But that’s about as far as the conservativecore idea makes it on this list. After that, it seems like the poster lost the plot in his own thread — one has to wonder if they even bothered to read the plot for many of these — and just started picking games that he liked back when life was simple and the crushing weight of his empty “lib-crushing” life hadn’t crumpled his limited self-esteem.

The Metal Gear Solid series is notorious for its anti-military sentiment; creator Hideo Kojima has been openly anti-nuclear since 1998. Revengence may be the least overtly political entry into the series, but there is no denying that its primary antagonist, Stephen Armstrong, is a strong condemnation of the American conservative. The Bioshock series is the antithesis to Ayn Rand’s ideology presented in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, openly critiquing the philosophy of objectivism. Metro is set in a future where greed short sightedness destroyed the surface world, leaving humanity at the mercy of a heartless aristocracy. So many titles on the list show a hilarious misunderstanding of plot. I personally couldn’t help but cackle when I realized Silent Hill 3 was on the list, a game which includes an oral abortion followed by a frenetic sequence of the main character trying to crush a recently expelled demonic fetus.

Before this list is written off as the unfortunate byproduct of rose-tinted glasses and an illiterate mind, it’s important to note that there are modern games included. Proving that the poster and his contributors have little to know ability to read subtext, overt-text, or maybe any text at all, plenty of the modern titles are openly supportive of various ideologies that conservatives are actively trying to shut down. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has plenty of queer representation. Players can romance same sex characters, and even those that can’t be romantically approached are shown to be canonically gay in the game’s various endings. The design for The Legend of Zelda’s playable character, Link, was recently confirmed to be androgynous in design so any player could feel at home in his skin. Even the war machine Master Chief has been revealed to be fully asexual in canon, a status many fans have embraced if the massive backlash Paramount Plus faced for the character getting busy during the live action is any indication.

We fully endorse anyone who wishes to play through every title on this list, and hope the list’s author does the same. Maybe a few hundred hours of game play can pull this fellow’s head from where the sun don’t shine, and just maybe help them figure out what they were even looking for in the first place.

Ash Martinez
About the author

Ash Martinez

Ash has been obsessed with Star Wars and video games since she was old enough to hold a lightsaber. It’s with great delight that she now utilizes this deep lore professionally as a Freelance Writer for We Got This Covered. Leaning on her Game Design degree from Bradley University, she brings a technical edge to her articles on the latest video games. When not writing, she can be found aggressively populating virtual worlds with trees.