Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial Cartoons?

December 19, 2008 -

On Sunday, an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at President Bush during a press conference.

Within days, nearly a half-dozen Flash games lampooning the incident appeared on the web (you'll find all of them linked here on GamePolitics).

Given the speed and reach of the web, the Amazon Game Room Blog wonders whether browser games have replaced the role of the political cartoon in modern society:

Web-based flash games continue to take over the satirical role that political cartoons once filled... Our country has a rich and scathing history of political satire in cartoon form in newspapers and magazines and anyone who noticed how fast the [various Bush/shoe games] popped up on the Web after the footwear was flung... should be able to acknowledge the potential for this in flash technology.

 

The games are certainly is no works of art, but they were not designed to be awe inspiring. They were instead designed to capture the moment, and immortalize it from a particular point of view that people in this particular time can appreciate, or at least recognize. In a hundred years... these snippets of code will offer a window into the past... it is all just part of a media continuum that stretches forward and back further than we know.


Comments

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

The front page of a recent Chicago newspaper shows a large cartoon Rod Blagojevich on the podium, getting attacked by a barrage of shoes. I think it shows a good example of two recent political memes colliding.

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

I'd say the likelyhood of mini-games overtaking political cartoon as a form of satire are pretty high. Not because the mini-games themselves are better, but because the primary format for the political cartoon - the newspaper - is a dying breed.

The Honest Game - http://www.thehonestgame.org

The Honest Game - http://www.thehonestgame.org

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

Political cartoons are dieing as big media weeds them out due to nto wanting to offend anyone..namely thier backers...
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Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

These flash games have some potential, but we should wait until that potential either falls flat or is fully realized before pitting a flash game against a well-done political cartoon.

Anyway, I think there will always be room for politicial cartoons. Flash games may not be meant to be an intelligent commentary. I think that they fill another need: the need to sometimes laugh at something ridiculous or trivialize something serious. The event falls into the former category. Or just the need to have a distraction from the normally pessimistic and dramatic news, but in a way that everyone can get the message. I think that final point is the appeal of flash games, to be honest.

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

Zachary Knight has it right. Political cartoons are critical, clever, and comment on the situations they depict. 

These games instead should be called tabloid games. They simply point to an event to exploit it. It's a valid, if all to common, mode of discourse in today's culture. There is nothing "rich and scathing" about the pointless shoe throwing games we've seen in the past week, nor many other examples I've tracked over the past few years (Zidane head butt, Paris Hilton in jail, etc.)

Incidentally, Gonzalo Frasca and myself have been carrying the torch of games as political cartoons for years now; the challenge of making rapid, meaningful games that get published in a news context is rough going.

Ian Bogost 

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

While the current crop of flash game is not quite ready to replace the role of political cartoon, I think at in a decade or two, they will. For one, news outlets are increasingly moving online where these games have a home. More news outlets will recognize that the rising generation will be more motivated to come to the site by games than a comic. Two, the people designing these games will become more mature and better able to convey the message they want in the game. These games have the possibility to be more expressive than their passive single frame counterpart.

So far in this instance the only one I can think of that actually has a message of sorts is the one where you play a Secret Service agent trying to stop shoes. The message wasn't very good or clear, but it was the only one that had a syblance of a mesage.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
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Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

These flash games may parallel political cartoons in that they capture a moment of public attention in a preservable format, but I'm not seeing any "satire" in the shoe games I've seen thus far. The only message evident is "lol throw a shoe at Bush." Cartoons offer (some of them anyway) a measure of actual commentary on what we're talking about, not just a snapshot of what we were forwarding to our friends.

Do Not Talk About Feitclub http://www.feitclub.com

Do Not Talk About Feitclub http://www.feitclub.com

Re: Have Browser Games Taken Over the Role of Politicial

Join political cartoons in satire?  Maybe.  Replace them?  God, I hope not.  Most flash games are pretty lame and aren't particularlly witty or deep.  On the other hand, the genre of political comics has become something artful, and are even sometimes profound.  I mean, it'd be one thing if the flash games included satirical dialog of some sort about issues and relevances.  As it is, they're just shoes flying across the screen at a dopey looking target.

 
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Wonderkarphttp://kotaku.com/smash-bros-gamecube-adapters-sold-out-online-prices-g-1662162871 Smash Bros Gamecube adapter sold out, online prices go nuts11/22/2014 - 6:50pm
Andrew EisenI bet there's a lovely comedy of errors surrounding that list's journey to the IGDA's page!11/22/2014 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenAnd the fact that it was curated by some random person on Twitter should have been another.11/22/2014 - 6:48pm
Andrew EisenYep, it's pretty clear that whoever at the IGDA grabbed that list, didn't look at it first. I think the fact that there's over 10,000 names on it should have been a bit of a red flag.11/22/2014 - 6:44pm
Wonderkarppenguin books is on the list. wow.11/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Wonderkarpthats better, though I'd prefer something a little more than a simple tweet, I'll take it.11/22/2014 - 6:37pm
Andrew EisenKate Edwards' Twitter: "like people, tools are imperfect; we've removed it for now."11/22/2014 - 6:35pm
Andrew EisenHard to say with any certainty but it appears it at least understands the tool didn't do what it thought it did.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
WonderkarpI've yet to find the IGDA responding too the situation other than deleting a link.11/22/2014 - 6:34pm
Matthew WilsonI hope the IGDA understands why its a mistake, that's all I want.11/22/2014 - 6:33pm
Andrew EisenHeh, lawyering up would be grossly overracting! And really silly. Well, if what the IGDA did say was not enough for you, try contacting them and letting them know how you feel.11/22/2014 - 6:31pm
Wonderkarpall I want is an apology from the IGDA. nothing fancy, not even addressed to me. Just something that says, "We messed up. We're Sorry" thats it. Not exactly those words except Sorry. If I was overreacting, I'd be lawyering up.11/22/2014 - 6:29pm
Andrew EisenI get it, I just think you're taking it the wrong way and overreacting.11/22/2014 - 6:27pm
Wonderkarpatleast Matthew understands why I am miffed at that list11/22/2014 - 6:26pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - That I agree with. Linking to that list was silly. Hopefully IGDA will more carefully vet the resources it links to make sure they do what they're supposed to.11/22/2014 - 6:25pm
Andrew EisenNope. No insults.11/22/2014 - 6:21pm
WonderkarpAnd here come the insults. Wanna throw some more?11/22/2014 - 6:18pm
Andrew EisenYou're an English major? Wow.11/22/2014 - 6:16pm
Matthew Wilsonno I am glad they did, but I want this talked about so it does not happen again.11/22/2014 - 6:15pm
Wonderkarpdude, I'm an english major. It means everybody on that list is a harasser but they couldnt get all the harassers in the list.11/22/2014 - 6:14pm
 

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