Saturday, September 02, 2006

MIT PressLog on Serious Games

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

When we think of video games, we usually think of the world of fantasy and fiction. But with everything that is going on in the world, serious times call for serious games. Many game creators have been working on developing a new generation of games which will allow players to immerse themselves into the real world - political, social, and environmental crises and all.

Professor Bogost has put that theory in action. In 2003 the Howard Dean campaign hired his company, Persuasive Games, to make a game that showed volunteers how the Iowa primary work was organized -- The Howard Dean For Iowa Game

Then the Illinois Republicans paid him to devise four games illustrating their major election planks. In one, you have to ferry sick patients through city streets to hospitals until you discover that the hospitals have become overcrowded. The only way to free more money and space is, hilariously, to enact anti-malpractice-suit legislation. In essence the game takes a cherished bit of Republican ideology and renders it into gameplay.

Bogost wil publish a book on serious games this spring (stay tuned for more news on this). In the mean time, check out his recent book, Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism