As a kid, one of my favorite games was Contra for the original Nintendo NES. As an adult, I now know this game was a propaganda effort to raise support for the reactionary Contras in Nicaragua fighting against the Sandinista government.
- The ending theme of the original game was titled “Sandinista” (サンディニスタ?).
- You’re known as a “Contra” and you fight against evil aliens called “Red Falcon.”
- The two main characters were modeled after reactionary action actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
- They are on a mission from the U.S. imperialists to kill all Red Falcons that are planning “an invasion” of Earth (the U.S.).
- To make matters worse, in the Japanese version you fight on the fictional Oceania archipelago of “Galuga.”
- The American NES version takes place in the present (1980’s at the release of the game), in South America. Yes, they were that ballsy.
“Contra” literally meant counterrevolutionary for those in Nicaragua. They were fighting against the democratic socialist Sandinistas with help from Ronald Reagan’s cronies. Congress was so horrified by the Contras they even cut off funding in 1985, which led Reagan and the CIA to start covert illegal funding, ergo, the Iran-Contra Affair.
The Contras committed atrocities:
“But despite the efforts of the White House PR machine, the Contras increasingly appeared to be a particularly ruthless and bloodthirsty bunch. Stories of atrocities against civilian noncombatants certainly didn’t help. In the words of human rights group Americas Watch, ‘the Contras systematically engage in violent abuses … so prevalent that these may be said to be their principle means of waging war.’ Another NGO compiled a year’s worth of Contra atrocities, which included murder, rape, torture, maiming children, cutting off arms, cutting out tongues, gouging out eyes, castration, bayoneting pregnant women in the stomach, and amputating genitals.”
Good stuff, eh?
Imagine all the people who donated 53¢ to see people…kill people. For democracy.
President Ronald Reagan explains who is fighting to overthrow the current Nicaraguan regime:
“Thousands who fought with the Sandinistas have taken up arms against them and are now called the Contras. They are freedom fighters.”
President Ronald Reagan attempts to drum up public support for the Contras:
“They are our brothers, these freedom fighters, and we owe them our help. I’ve spoken recently of the freedom fighters of Nicaragua. You know the truth about them. You know who they’re fighting and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance.”
Try saying video games are “class neutral” now, liberals.