Bias and stereotyping can strongly influence a game, from concept to completion; this is evident in the 2005 Gamecube game Battalion Wars, which demonstrated a strong cultural, sexual, and racial bias. In Battalion Wars, the player is a field officer participating in what begins as a battle between the Western Frontier and the Tundran Territories. As a member of the Western Frontier, the player is briefed by the stout General Herman and petite Brigadier Betty before each battle with the Tundran Territories. However, both sides soon are compelled to join together as a much more dangerous foe appears, the Xylvanians, led by Kaiser Vlad and the traitorous Tsar Gorgi, who was originally on the side of the Tundran Territories. The battle escalates into a full-blown war as drama ensues among the leaders of the three armies.
While this seems like a load of gibberish, it is actually a load of gibberish sprinkled with historical commentary and filled with plenty of cultural stereotype bits. The battles, countries, and even characters of Battalion Wars, despite the goofy names, are based on counterparts in “the real world.” The Western Frontier is the United States of America, complete with easily-angered, overweight Texans (such as General Herman) and skinny, blond-haired babes (Brigadier Betty). The other nations were not as obvious stereotypes, as their characters' archetypes were extreme. The Tundran Territories were the game's stand-in for the Soviet Union, even going as far as using weapons and vehicles famous to Americans as pure Soviet engineering (such as AK-47's). Tsar Gorgi, the previous leader of the Territories, possesses a heavy Russian accent and an exaggerated belief in family honor and leadership. Xylvania becomes the most twisted representation of the three. Roughly based on the German Empire around the 1915's (World War I), it is shown as a country unlike a cartoon version of Transylvania, complete with vampire citizens. Vlad has the German title “Kaiser” (Emperor) and is shown as a ruthless (albeit clumsy and foolish) vampire ruler, while his army's uniforms and vehicles mimic that of the Imperial and Nazi Germany eras. Even many of the battles of the game mimic real-life events; Mission Twelve is named “X-Day,” modeled after the invasion of Normandy (D-Day).
Battalion Wars is a prime example of a game that uses stereotypes and cultural bias as part of the gameplay and representation. While they are amusing, some of the stereotypes can push things a bit far; mimicking the past can be a bit dangerous, and if some were to make the connection they could turn it into one of the “stories of our [time] that pose [a great threat] to our children and our future” by putting a bias on what happened. (Utopian Entrepreneur, pg. 65) Meanwhile, the creators of the game could not escape classic marketing research, aiming for the male players with the Barbie-bodied Betty, continuing the game practice of being “alienating to women.” (The Hegemony of Play, pg. 3) Betty will even, and often, flirt with other officers, as well as the player (doing a part to label the player as a male “character”). Thus, Battalion Wars falls to the “Hegemony of Play,” connecting with biases of modern cultural stereotypes despite being a strong game.