Ian Bogost Talks Games and Politics at Harvard

Gene Koo of Valuable Games live-blogs an appearance by serious games guru Ian Bogost (left) at a Harvard study group led by Nicco Mele:

Video games [serve] as a centrifying values issue, making it very cheap [for politicians] to decry video games. Ian mentions the ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association), and the idea of a union of video game players, or a common identity among gamers, “weirds” him out.

Gamer demographics — if there are political games, whom will they reach?: There’s a lot of bad data, but… see the Entertainment Software Association. The better question is to break them down by style/type. Ian’s own games — TSA game since 2006 has approached 50M plays. (< $10K to build).

An Obama game could really sell. Who wouldn’t buy an Obama game? Well…

So what about an abortion game that attempts to help each side understand the perspective of the other side of the debate? …

Nicco mentions that the [Howard] Dean [2004] campaign’s game did inspire people to donate, get involved. Ian wonders if this idea will “peak” (novelty factor).

The problem is that the vast majority of these [political] games are meaningless tripe. See Ian’s discussion of Pork Invaders, in the Gamasutra article, and also the contrast with Tax Invaders as a rhetorical device.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. 0
    elal says:

    Not a good idea. When you try to insert a message or an extended metaphor(I mean, a really extended political/social metaphor) in a  book or movie, what happens when it fails?

    It will probably look like you’re cashing in on the politics of the moment. The story usually ends up looking bloated and pretentious.


  2. 0
    Doomsong says:

    Why do people keep suggesting games based on current political hot buttons?

    Do they not remember the 80’s? That game about the seven or so camp counselors who try to fight off the deranged maniac with the machete… or the one about the little alien who just wanted to go home? Games ripped from the headlines never live up to the origional story… and are usually rushed, with little consideration for anything but making a few dollars off of the media hype.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  3. 0
    Aliasalpha says:

    How about a combination of his major ideas, an obama game ABOUT abortion! It could be an "It’s a wonderful life" like examination of what would have happened to the world if he was aborted. Either that or Super Obama brothers where Barack and his little known brother Luigi jump on the heads of foetuses…

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