The concept of Nationalism tied to sports really does, ultimately, prove that Sports are essentially small-scale wars. I think it also creates a question of who is “playing” the game: the players, or the people with investment who watch? The way sports/body-culture have shaped propaganda and vice versa brings to question the sorts of motivations behind the cultural trends surrounding sports today.
For the most part, I like to think that Sports as a spectator experience complicates the relationship between players and game. As stakes rise and more than just winning or losing comes into play (Nationalism, perhaps, as one of these stakes), the closer the game gets to transcending the players and the rules of the game and becoming a more symbolic action.
While Brownell’s experience is in itself a sort of incredibly symbolic, somewhat ironic circumstance, it solidly demonstrates the kinds of moral struggles players must deal with when games become “more than just games.”
As for my final essay topic, I think I’ll be writing about Atlus’s tenuous relationship with sexual minorities in their games. At least, that’s the idea I’ve had. I plan on talking about how games depict and represent certain “ideals” and how participation in these fantasies has lead to the misrepresentation of many Queer characters. I want to discuss the underlying Lacanian themes that consistently “other” sexual minorities in Japanese games specifically.