PBS Website Features Immigration-themed Games

October 15, 2007 -
There are few issues in American politics these days more divisive than immigration.

For those who wish to pursue a hands-on look at the controversy, a PBS website maintains a collection of games dealing with immigration. P.O.V.'s Borders is a web-only examination of the debate. Nearly two dozen games and interactive segments are available from the site.

These include The Maria Sisters, a game about conditions faced by immigrants in chip manufacturing plants in Silicon Valley. In Your Decision the player assumes the role of an INS agent who must decide whether or not to grant a request for political asylum in the United States.

GP: Also worth a read concerning the intersection of video game tech with the immigration debate: Pixels, Politics & Play: Digital Video Games as Social Commentary.

Comments

WOW. What will they think of next?

Maria Sisters...heh, nice. I'm generally neutral on immigration, as long as it's legal.

Love the picture. A straight rip off of Mario Brothers.

I do like the topic of games focusing on immigration. It seems that most want people to think about the conditions and process of immigration. I hope that they do well.

No Border Patrol?

I'm shocked.


Andrew Eisen

It's good to see a collection of immigration-themed games that aren't racist or stupid. It seemed for a while there that the only ones we heard about were the childish "let's offend everyone" games...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

I just relearned something today. WTO is a profit pig with no morals!

Aww, no immigration themed Frogger ripoff? Lame.

Yup, I can totally see these type of games replacing ordinary news.

Are these aimed at children, or adults who wouldn't take their political/ social commentary any other way?

[...] Social Media, Web 2.0: A blog analysis « Krazy Kiwis and Their Kash Konverting! Digital Games as Social Commentary on Migration October 19th, 2007 Gamepolitics brought my attention to this interesting PBS website maintaininga collection of games dealing with immigration. I think games are the perfect medium to explore this issue due to the similarities between playing a game and negotiating one’s way in a new, alien society: In both cases it’s about trying to figure out the rules and stick to them in order to succeed. If you fail you won’t be able to finish or enjoy the game respectively slip into the role of a social outcast – with the difference that games will in most cases give you another chance. An arcade game in this connection can even serve as a metaphor for bribery or the fact that money helps to gain social acceptance: As long as you feed the machine with quarters you’re allowed to stay.Not only offer games therefore – due to their simulational nature and their reliance on rules as their core mechanic and defining criterion – fascinating possibilities for cross cultural training but they can also serve to highlight the prejudices migrants or minorities feel in a new environment. Let’s say statistics found that the chances of dark skinned emigrants finding a job are 40% lower compared to white people despite them having the same qualifications. This result now could be included as a arbitrary rule in a game dealing with finding a job in their new environment. Arbitrary because not only because it would reflect the different real-life attitudes of people living in this society (prejudiced/ not prejudiced/ not too sure etc.) but also because it can help to built up the frustration a migrant might feel while on the job hunt.Also it made me think about the assumption that we won’t play a game differently just because the tokens changed. Take chess for example, you can play it with the figurines of king and queens but you might as well just play it with different piles of mud. Will this change your overall goal or your style of play? Probably not. But imagine a game of Space Invaders where you as some border patrol officer have to shoot illegal immigrants instead of aliens. Due to the meta-text and intertextuality of the game and the representations in it you might more consciously think about your style of playing (meta-text and intertetuality = the marketing, box art, references to other media, the way the player’s character and NPCs are presented and what that entitles etc. – it basically it means games don’t exist in a vacuum but within discursive formations of the society they’re played in). This of course always depends on your political believes and attitudes. Do you see these migrants as intruders who just want your piece of the cake or poor, disadvantaged people who contribute valuable services to society by doing the jobs no one wants to?-Jens [...]
 
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E. Zachary KnightPHX, thanks. I fixed it.04/28/2015 - 9:14am
PHX CorpThere is a typo in the Gamestop raising 500K article, it should be 2015 not 210504/28/2015 - 8:36am
MattsworknameThis is the world now Colin, either get with the times, or get left behind. Your choice.04/28/2015 - 8:14am
Mattsworknamehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/08/24/league-of-legends-finals-sells-out-las-staples-center-in-an-hour/04/28/2015 - 8:14am
Mattsworknamehttp://www.polygon.com/2014/7/29/5949773/dota-2-the-international-tournament-20-million-viewers04/28/2015 - 8:13am
Mattsworknamehe's not needed, not in the modern world, not in a world where more people attend the LOL finals for 5 million, then attend your average sports event.04/28/2015 - 8:12am
MattsworknameFunny that Colin Cowherd is so out of the times, he had to try multiple times to get the names of the games right. People like him are anachronisms.04/28/2015 - 8:10am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/halo-mcc-esports-event-canceled-because-the-game-would-1700543158 Halo: MCC eSports Event Canceled Because The Game Wouldn't Work04/27/2015 - 10:15pm
Matthew Wilson@AE I know I was just stating where I stand on issues like that in general04/27/2015 - 8:12pm
Andrew EisenWho, Colin Cowherd? No one's suggesting he should be forced out. Or that he should commentate on video games.04/27/2015 - 8:10pm
Matthew Wilson@AE I do not think he should be forced ou though. he has his right to his opinion and shouldnt be forced out because people disagree with it.04/27/2015 - 8:07pm
ZippyDSMleeJim suggjested a pay what you want setup like humble bundel.04/27/2015 - 7:49pm
MontePerhaps they should just add a donation system for creators like the monthly pateron model. Only those who regularly make quality content can get compensated while those who would abuse the system are ignored04/27/2015 - 7:46pm
MontePaid mods is not a bad idea; i mean its only fair that makers be compensated and even better if they can do it full time. UNfortunatly there is too much that can go wrong and room for abuse04/27/2015 - 7:44pm
Andrew EisenYeah, working on that story now. Or rather, I'm working on finding time to write up that story.04/27/2015 - 7:40pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dll8eMJnTEE this crap is why sports fans and gamers dont get along. for love of god did I get sent back to 1995.04/27/2015 - 7:37pm
Matthew WilsonI do not think it will be the last time we see this. btw I am ok with paid mods.04/27/2015 - 7:10pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-removed-paid-mods-functionality-from-steam-workshop/ 0_o04/27/2015 - 6:37pm
ZippyDSMleeMatthew Wilson:Humor and sarcasm sir.04/27/2015 - 6:36pm
Matthew Wilson@zippy there is no way they are going to merge with capcom becouse both companies are not in good shape. sony, Nintendo, and square are the only companies with enough money to pull it off in japan.04/27/2015 - 4:27pm
 

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