Have games ever told you to do this?
The good times are over. Capitalism has torn open the floodgates of economic chaos. Governments waterboard their people with austerity as tribute to unseen market demons. And just wars have never looked more unjust. Maybe the world is angry enough to craft games hewn from disaffection and fire. Are there any examples?
Jonas Kyratzes offered the reserved and text-heavy The Infinite Ocean, a room escape game arguably containing a political message. Originally released in 2003, The Infinite Ocean was recently refurbished and polished for a more receptive 2010 audience. It's perhaps not as understated as I might like, but it is there and the game is better for it. Kyratzes has recently moved onto the Wikileaks Stories project with Gnome's Lair, "where independent game designers use their artform in the service of freedom and democracy, transforming the information revealed by Wikileaks into computer games."
Using the late JG Ballard's Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagan as its touchstone, the game targets celebrity politics where democracy is transformed into the worship of personality. The website hides a collection of documents purported to be from the future, containing bizarre gems such as: "In the 9th Year of his presidency, President Barack Hussein Obama attempted to inspire the remains of the nation by developing the ability to detach his head from his body." I haven't seen the game (although PlayThisThing did see an alpha build) so I'm yet to be convinced it will actually work.
But looking over this body of material, there's a sense of a burgeoning Angry Young Game movement where games are the new protest. I don't know whether any of these projects will change the world. But at least someone is trying.
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