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Why You Should Buy Manor Lords

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Disclaimer: This article is not a game review!

Gaming is one of the most important battlegrounds of our modern culture war, certainly more than film and music at this point. The gaming industry is now bigger than the movie and music industries combined, and has almost totally supplanted them. Unlike film and music, gaming is a space where White heterosexual males still have some power and influence. White males still make up a significant amount of the important player bases and development teams, especially for games of specific genres, like strategy games. Therefore, to ignore gaming is to remove your finger from the pulse of culture. Whether you play computer games or not, whether you think gaming is a waste of time or not, I’m going to explain why you should consider taking your hard earned money and purchasing the new Medieval strategy game Manor Lords, thereby placing your thumb on the scale.

The gaming industry today appears to be in a bubble reminiscent of the internet’s dot-com era in the early 2000s. From my perspective, it was only after that bubble burst—trimming the excess—that we saw the emergence of a vastly improved internet. Reflecting on the early internet days, few would genuinely long for the era of dial-up modems and rudimentary websites. Similarly, in gaming, despite what enthusiasts of retro games and nostalgia-dorks might claim, today’s good games are objectively superior to the good games of the past. However, the industry now also produces a higher volume of poorly executed games, which, despite their lack of quality, receive substantial funding and aggressive marketing from very large corporations within the industry. This has led to an increase in both mediocre and generic offerings, each backed by significantly larger advertising budgets than seen in the past.

Inspecting my troops, making sure there’s no chinks… in their armor.

While it may seem that today’s games are inferior to those of the past, this perception often arises from focusing solely on blockbuster AAA titles like “Call of Duty” or releases from Bethesda. Unfortunately, the most vocal critics often overlook games not backed by major publishers. This is similar to the music industry: there’s still excellent music being made, but it’s not what you’ll hear on mainstream radio or see topping the charts—it’s underground, and you have to actively search for it. Despite the current boom in the gaming industry, this growth is accompanied by increased greed and the dominance of mega-corporations more focused on profit than on crafting outstanding games. This results in a proliferation of generic games designed to minimize risk.

An additional consequence of the gaming industry being dominated by large corporations has been a significant push over the past decade to impose diversity.

Gaming journalists and “critics”: Exhibit A.

This effort to impose diversity is evident both within the virtual worlds of modern video games, particularly through more diverse characters, and in the real world, in the staff composition at large corporate gaming studios that develop many of modern AAA titles. The end result has been mediocre games with increasingly more black, brown, gay and “strong female” characters in places and roles where they otherwise wouldn’t typically exist. Even in games set in medieval-European themed worlds, large corporate gaming studios will add “strong female” and black characters, despite such inclusions breaking the immersion and believability of the medieval setting. This imposed diversity is further promoted by gaming journalists (often social justice warriors pretending to be gamers) that criticize games they deem as insufficiently diverse and too “Eurocentric.”

Daniel Vavra, the creative director of Kingdom Come Deliverance, being sarcastic for all the game journalists criticizing his game for being too White.

Manor Lords stands out in the modern gaming landscape, not only because it’s a great game that doesn’t bend the knee to diversity, but also because it’s an innovative game made by a solo developer from Poland that just wanted to make a great game. Manor Lords is a medieval city building strategy-simulator crossed with Total War style combat, but it’s done in a way that is seamless: your soldiers are your villagers, and if they die your city loses working members of its population. This sort of genre crossing gameplay offers a level of immersion and depth that is so refreshing in an industry where most developers play it safe by staying within the confines of one specific genre, rehashing the same shallow gameplay over and over; for example, first person shooters being just first person shooters or real time strategy games just being real time strategy games.

While Manor Lords may not be the only notable game released in 2024, nor the sole impressive effort from a solo developer this year, it has quickly become one of the most popular and intriguing games on Steam. The achievement of one solo developer from Poland, working with a modest indie game budget, is remarkable. This effort surpasses what many major AAA studios have accomplished, despite their vast resources and large teams. This marks a significant milestone in gaming history, challenging the status quo of the industry’s major players, who often prioritize profit over innovation. By purchasing Manor Lords, players not only support this message but also set a higher standard for what we expect from games—demanding innovation and better gameplay over repetitive and uninspired creations.

The main reason to consider purchasing Manor Lords is that it genuinely promotes and celebrates Western culture in an important cultural space.

Manor Lords is a serious and mature portrayal of medieval Europe that doesn’t infantilize you with goofy cartoonish graphics or “strong female” NPCs. For example, when you create a militia, it’s only the men that grab weapons, armor and the fights feel more real — there are no strong shield maidens that can knock down several men with some magic weapon or super power. Despite the developer shying away from describing his game as historically accurate, the commitment to historical realism enhances the immersion and experience of being a lord in medieval Europe. This game stands in contrast to the many games being made today that are cartoonish and goofy, that infantilize you with graphics and gameplay that looks like it was designed for small children. Buying Manor Lords further pushes the message to the gaming industry that we want more games that take us seriously as adults, and we want more games that take Western culture seriously.

In Manor Lords, each Manor feels like its own ethnostate

Last but not least, Manor Lords is a game that’s unapologetically free of “people of color” or any LGBTQ+ characters. As a game, it stands alongside other giant successes, like Kingdom Come Deliverance — another Medieval themed game from an Eastern European developer — that stands against forced diversity. All the characters and NPCs in Manor Lords are White, as it should be in a game set in medieval Europe. That is the final reason why you should buy Manor Lords.

If you want to see what Manor Lords is like, you can sometimes catch me live streaming it on my YouTube channel, which is now dedicated to livestreaming games.

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I knew nothing about Manor Lords and you’ve sold me on it. It sounds like the game is very punishing: After much effort, your manor begins to prosper, but then you have a few Pyrrhic victories on the battlefield and suddenly you’re facing near-certain defeat. As I get older and more gristled, I appreciate games which punish all but the best performances. It feels more like real life. XCOM 2 has an “Iron Man” mode which prevents save-scumming. You’ll develop an excellent crew of 10 aryan supermen, and deploy 5 onto a normal-seeming mission. Due to either carelessness or insufficient speed, two of them are overwhelmed and die, which panics two more of them, and now you face deadly enemies with only one or two soldiers capable of receiving orders. You’ll lose the mission, all deployed soldiers will be brutally murdered, your available soldiers are halved, and your 10+ hour investment into that XCOM 2 campaign is nigh unwinnable.

Last edited 2 months ago by William
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