1) Get facts. 2) Place in game. 3) ???? 4) PROPHET
The most common form of "serious game" remains the fact-game. The most block-headed forms of this, of course, are quiz-games, and quiz-integrated-games. Vote For Bush: the game, is a terrible, neo-liberal version, and a reminder of all the heavy-handed crappiness that fact-games can lead to. No matter how fun the old Carmen Sandiego games occasionally were, facts are dull, even if we need them badly. And we don't need to hit potential activists over the head with dull things.
Somewhat more interesting are games that use the facts they hope to spread to build a world that illustrates them. Religious games sometimes do this in ways worth noting (and sometimes in ways worth nothing). The Left Behind Game (there is only one, released three times), made by and for Evangelical Christians convinced they are being persecuted, breaks up informative splash screens with a game in which players can enjoy a simulation of persecution. At one point you spend four levels nurturing a new minister only to have him unavoidably attacked by Antichristians who look like UN Peacekeepers: "IT WAS AN AMBUSH!" A little more interesting than quiz games, but still heavy handed, boring and only personally reorienting.
Recent years have seen some wonderful anti-corporate and labor-positive messages integrated into indie-games and art-games. Stacking, for instance, made a struggle against child labor in the 1920s into a hillarious and beautiful romp. World of Goo, mostly remembered for its gorgeous art and ambitious two-man dev team, included a surprising critique of environmental degradation by corporations, and the physics fun [SPOILER?] ends up being a hillarious story of hacktivism.
Fact-games are a great place to begin thinking about how the games of the 99% might look. For instance, the series of 41 charts released by Business Insider recently, or the simple evocative infographics that Occupy George is getting onto dollar bills, both explaining the state of wealth inequality in the US, contain information that needs to circulate widely, and if a game could get people talking about these facts that would be a great help. But learning facts is not enough. It is also possible that any fact-game will leave people smugly informed, content to sit at home, now better informed about the state of things. How can we mobilize facts toward mobilizing gamers?
Pages in category "Fact Based Training"
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