It’s probably too much to argue that video games offer players freedom from the iron grip of the author—after all, games still have designers, and the old stories weren’t exactly forced upon their readers. But the rise of video games as a popular art form is surely a sign of the way that the broad universalized stories of yesterday have fractured into an array of niche narratives, each designed to serve an individualized interest.
That makes video games of special concern to libertarians interested in the way the combination of technology, political freedom, and evolving social attitudes has resulted in an explosion of subcultures and alternative modes of entertainment. So it’s not particularly surprising, then, to find that a number of video games have built in ideas and concepts that resonate with libertarians—sometimes positively, sometimes critically. As the current generation of game systems begins its final year, Senior Editor Peter Suderman looks back at six games of particular interest to those who like their minds and their markets to be free.