Video games are enamored of the “Lone Hero” narrative, which makes sense, given how many of them act as vehicles for wish fulfillment. Many games have the player singlehandedly taking down hordes of enemies and saving the day. But trying that in Tonight We Riot won’t get you far. In this “crowd brawler,” you play not as one character, but as a collective of people working together to upend the system. It’s an imperfectly constructed but extremely fun piece of leftist agitprop.
Tonight We Riot is the first game from Means Media, a new Detroit-based, anti-capitalist media group. It is unabashedly and gleefully partisan, featuring a worker revolution against a sci-fi police state eerily close to our current reality. I played the game and took screenshots before the uprisings across the US over the past weekend, and, well …
The game takes its basic setup from the beat ’em up genre, particularly the likes of River City Ransom and Double Dragon. However, instead of playing a martial arts demigod, the player controls a single, relatively weak revolutionary surrounded by a crowd of comrades. You’ll go down in a few hits from cops, drones, and white supremacist gangs, but as soon as one player character dies, your control switches to another member of the collective. As long as you have your compatriots, you’re still in the fight; the game only ends if every single protester is defeated. The emphasis is not on individual heroism but combined power. As your squad fights its way through the various levels, its ranks are replenished by liberating more workers to join it. You are rewarded for keeping more fighters alive with weapon upgrades.
The game’s spirit is built into its mechanics in other ways. While whatever character you inhabit loosely leads the crowd, every member has its own AI scripts that lead them to act individually. So they will fight enemies or destroy barricades on their own, without the input of the player. You can somewhat direct the group as one (similarly to the Pikmin series), but you can never fully control them. This can be frustrating at times, such as when a bomb is about to blow and you really need everyone to get clear of it, but it’s as much a feature as it is a bug. The game isn’t terribly complex, but in this way, it conveys the idea that you are taking part in a larger movement made up of people with their own agency, rather than simply being surrounded by nonplayable characters.
There’s been a recent push to avoid the stigma of the term “riot” by labeling both contemporary and historical incidences of mass destructive protest as “uprisings” or “rebellions” instead. Tonight We Riot goes in the opposite direction, seeking to reclaim the riot as a force for good. It is uncomplicated and clearheaded in its parameters: the revolution is justified, the capitalist system and its enforcers are bad. The story is as blunt and basic as its format. And right now, given all the hemming and hawing over “violent protest” in the US, that’s quite refreshing.
Tonight We Riot is available on the Nintendo Switch and multiple PC platforms.
Compared to self-identifying liberals, conservatives were more prone to change their views on COVID-19 vaccinations after they were shown disgusting images of the disease’s symptoms.
“Our bodies are not that cheap,” said one Iraqi artist who signed an open letter to the biennale’s curators.
Choose from over 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 for an early bird discount.
Museums will have to install “prominently placed” placards alongside the works, according to a new suite of laws signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Scientists borrowed the ecological “unseen species” model to estimate how many works of medieval European literature have gone extinct.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
As bodily autonomy and workers’ rights remain under constant and often intertwined threat, The Work of Love, the Queer of Labor reminds us of what is still at stake.
The emphasis in Semmel’s retrospective Skin in the Game is on the various points of view she has taken on herself — and, briefly, on others too.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
The artist and former SWAIA chief operating officer and executive director has found a stable of dedicated collectors and a close-knit community at Santa Fe Indian Market.
Each voice in This Long Thread intersects to reveal the collective chronicles, struggles, and triumphs of women of color in today’s craft landscape.
Works by the Abeyta family of artists encourage thinking beyond activism and legislation as a means for political progress.