Obviously it's wonderful to see indie developers who haven't engaged with the genre in the past sticking their toes in the water (or their necks on the block), but it's impossible to ignore that the most timely and nuanced entry in the series thus far has come from Paolo Pedercini, a grizzled veteran. That boy has had to roll his eyes through enough of my insufferable critiques in the past, so we'll only be looking at the latter two this week and next. If you're unfamiliar with the project, Joel Goodwin's blog Electron Dance is a great place to start for links to all the games, brief analysis and comparison, and a lengthy interview with Jonas Kyratzes (one of the two Wikileaks Stories project coordinators).
Damian Connolly's Wikileakers is the most recent of the three currently-extant Wikileaks Stories games. It's clearly the most accessible, and it has, perhaps, been written off as overly simplistic. And we can see why: it's more cartoonish than the previous Wikileaks Stories games, it uses Internet slang ("pron"), marijuana jokes, and cheap one-offs at the President, and it hinges on a somewhat conservative score-chasing goal structure. There's no gray area here: Assange is our hero (as pointed out by Goodwin, it's the only game that features him as the player character), and the "propaganda model" media is trying to keep him down.
Players control a pixellated Assange as he runs back and forth in what appears to be an FBI lobby, dodging lasers and bombs. The former represent corrupt media sources, while the bombs drop from a crane ominously labeled "PR" (the bombs themselves alternately accusing the man of being a terrorist and sexual deviant). Lasers constantly track Assange, stopping briefly to intermittently fire. Players can mouse-click to place single a block labelled "free press" that will obstruct exactly one laser shot before disappearing. While the first two media lasers bear American flags, Swedish and Australian media sources are added as the player's score increases.
Zangief Kid - The Game is a fairly sophisticated work of tabloid game flame-bait, reasonably well-integrated into Twitter and Facebook and sporting its own rankings board. Built in Unity, presumably because the subject demands a schlocky presentation in low-poly 3D, the game presents players with a short stretch of recycled school hallway and a horde of scrawny bullies to wade through. It's not an accurate spatial recreation of the outdoor area where the confrontation took place, and it ignores the important contextual detail of fellow students walking by to witness the event. It's side-scrolling brawler boilerplate.
And this certainly isn't the first time we've seen school violence captured in videogame form. As in the case of Super Columbine Massacre RPG's derivatives, we can't deny the "commentary" or satire that's at least nominally intended by its creators. And their right to creation is equally undeniable, even if, as Gonzalo Frasca has written before, we must always interrogate our decision to make a game about an event such as this one. It also makes sense to view Zangief Kid - The Game as a conceptual polar opposite of Jordan Magnuson's recent notgame Loneliness, which deals directly (if weakly) with the general social alienation that we can assume to be much more prominent in Casey's life than momentary episodes of bullying.
On a surface level, the game's procedural rhetoric is clearly stated on its title screen "warning" label: "You can only hit after you get hit. That's the bullying retribution rule." The Zangief Kid can only attack once his "health bar" is depleted by three punches from a bully, at which point the space bar will execute a signature pile-driver. When players reach an arbitrary end to the school hallway zone, they are lauded for "crush(ing) the bullies with a sense of vengeance." If this were the game's sole rhetorical move, as the game's creators seem to believe, then we could safely file this newsgame away as teaching us nothing new about the genre.
The game begins by tasking the player with 32 objectives, which serve a tutorial function. The completion of each task earns free money, with the tasks ranging from "Use WASD to move the camera" to "Add a new elevator" or "Build 15 floors." These training objectives seem neutral enough, except to note that they impose massive growth - it's not really an option for the player to run a tiny 4-8 person start-up, or a smaller mom and pop shop, without giving up a ton of free money and being continually pestered to advance in the objectives.
The business simulation is fairly straightforward. Hire workers to increase cash flow, hire supervisors to increase worker efficiency, and hire janitors/IT to maintain the building. Additional roles such as researcher (decreases wait time before gaining access to new promotional ranks), HR worker (improves happiness, keeping workers in the office longer hours), and Accountant (increases financial value of every worker) give the office more diversity. But, without time pressure, these merely become a way to slightly optimize how quickly the player progresses towards an unclear, undefined goal.
Video games on the topic to date have underscored this: the most popular game, Wikileaks: The Game, simply depicts Julian Assange stealing documents from President Obama, without any apparent interest what those documents contain. It's a tabloid game, focused entirely on the colorful personalities involved (in this case, a shadowy Assange and a Barack Obama literally sleeping on the job).
Wikileaks Stories, a new initiative from the gaming blog Gnome's Lair and indie designer Jonas Kyratzes, proposes to change this. The main site touts itself as a place "where independent game designers use their artform in the service of freedom and democracy, transforming the information revealed by Wikileaks into computer games." It's a powerful idea, and one that could potentially demonstrate some of the unique capabilities of newsgames.
Unfortunately, video games take a long time to make, so we're unlikely to see much quality content before several months (editor's note: excepting Leaky World). Luckily, Wikileaks seems poised to remain relevant in the news for some time, not least because only a small fraction of its roughly 250,000 diplomatic cables have been released. At least a handful of games for the initiative appear to be under development, at least one of which will be interactive fiction, but we'll have to wait to see the full extent of Wikileaks Stories.
In the meantime, I'd like to propose a couple of ideas for future games based on Wikileaks' revelations. These ideas range in genre and scope, but they're all primarily designed to get players thinking about the actual facts that Wikileaks has uncovered, and not simply the controversy that surrounds the organization. Given a little imagination, virtually any one of the leaks can be turned into a meaningful newsgame, and with any luck we'll be seeing more indie developers working with the Wikileaks Stories initiative in months to come.
Chicago Public Radio's weekly quiz game Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! combines the famously calming voices of NPR with short answer news trivia. The result is an entertaining way for listeners to keep up with current events. What effects do the show's qualities as a game have on its delivery of news content?
Online sources indicate that the birth of the newspaper comic was the result of a culture of experimentation in the newspaper industry -- a culture that has since been lost. Indeed, the rise of the newspaper comic strip seems inevitable in retrospect; precursors to the comic strip appear to have arisen independently in several newspapers during the 1890s. The early history of the form is ambiguous, however, and a number of cartoons claim to be the first newspaper comic. I will discuss two such strips, The Yellow Kid and Little Bears, both because they have the most legitimate claims and because they illustrate a larger point about the newspaper industry of the time.
The Yellow Kid, the strip most commonly referred to as the first newspaper comic, was created by R.F. Outcault in the mid-1890s. Outcault was working as an illustrator for Electrical World magazine, and, during 1894 and 1895, occasionally published cartoons for a weekly humor magazine called Truth.He also worked as a technical illustrator for the Sunday edition of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, then the paper with the highest circulation in the nation. On at least one occasion, the World published a humorous cartoon from Outcault, and in early 1895, it republished one of his cartoons from Truth magazine.
The thirty-three workers trapped in a Chilean coal mine for 70 days were rescued in a painstaking two-day effort on October 13th and 14th. This high profile story seemed ripe for a newsgame and a quick Google search proved this hunch.
A number of parameters made the topic appropriate for a newsgame. The event took place within a limited spatial domain that was easy to recreate as a game space. The rescue itself involved an elevator lowered down through a narrow mineshaft. Rescuers pulled up the miners one by one in a process that took around a half hour per person. Each miner was greeted with rousing cheers and teary eyes, and, because they resurfaced one-by-one, news organizations were able to profile each individually. This in mind, let's look at the kind of works produced in response to this event.
Newsgames have often been described as the videogame counterparts to editorial cartoons. Both forms aim to present thought-provoking opinions on current events in way that is diverting, brief and easily understood. While newsgames have enjoyed increasing popularity throughout the past decade however, the political cartooning industry has experienced a steady and serious state of decline. In 2004, the number of professional political cartoonists in the United States had dropped from nearly 200 to just over 90. Today, political cartoonist Jack Ohman of The Oregonian estimates that number has dropped to 58.
This may seem to be an unsurprising symptom of the ailing newspaper industry or even a simple matter of downsizing in a tough economy. Any professional cartoonist will tell you the problem is more complicated than that, and that more than their livelihood is at stake. In his article, "The Fixable Decline of Editorial Cartooning," Chris Lamb describes how political cartooning changed after 9/11.
Most political cartoonists felt it was unpatriotic to criticize government leaders immediately following the terrorist attacks, and they modified their cartoons accordingly. Lamb states that several cartoonists continued to act as government propagandists following the crisis however, and those cartoonists who did return to satirizing and scrutinizing the government were accused of being unpatriotic. This rocky political climate helped lead editors to adopt a more conservative stance, which was later exacerbated by the present economic crisis.
- No showing nudity
- No depicting violence
- No discussing religion
- No making a statement
Switzerland is pumping out more than just high quality chocolates and super-secret bank accounts these days. The resolutely independent central European nation has also stepped up its production of religious intolerance as evidenced by a recent national referendum banning the construction of minarets throughout the country. Similar to the hide-and-go-seek racism employed by the hijab haters of the French Republic, members of the Swiss People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union whipped up anti-muslim sentiment in November by claiming that the offending architecture, which is only the most visible part of a larger mosque structure, was just the tip of the Islamic iceberg. Left unchecked, supporters claimed, Islam would loom as large on the political landscape as the Matterhorn over the Alps.
Into this hotbed of Alpine arrogance, Minarett Attack [sic] emerged online as a game firmly in support of the ban and its underlying logic of cultural overwhelm. The game comprises a single scene: a quaint mountain village that, based on the monuments depicted, is at least part Zurich and part Geneva. A small Swiss flag flies atop a distant mountain peak. The light oom-pah-pah of accordion music fills the air, while the entire scene is bathed in the soothing glow of an alpine sunrise.
(This post was prepared by Tanyoung Kim and Bobby Schweizer)
The iPhone has proven itself a viable platform for small game producers. Its technical capabilities serve most non-3D needs, it isn't overly complicated to develop for, and there is a plan for monetization that does not need to rely on the promises of advertising dollars. It should come as no surprise, then, that the kinds of Flash games we're all familiar with have moved onto a handheld device. This includes those that touch on hot-button issues and current events.
As one of the biggest events in the country in the couple of years, the government's bailout of the financial industry has made its way into ten iPhone games. There's Bailout Bandits, in which you play as the police capturing bankers floating down from a high rise with their golden parachutes. There's Bailout!, a spreadsheet-like financial simulation game. Bailout Ben has you piloting a helicopter, dropping money on bar charts to aid corporations in need. Bailout America is a Lemmings-style game. Bailout Bonanza is basically Activision's classic Kaboom.
Two games in particular, though, embrace a similar cartoon aesthetic whose roots can be traced back to the editorial cartoon.
The vast majority of the Gazette's digital work, especially from the earlier years, is in quiz form. This article is only going to look at the games they made, a virtual Voting Arcade from September 2004 and two interactive mazes from 2009.
For a few hours on Thursday October 15th, the news was enraptured by a single story: a hot air balloon carrying a six-year-old boy had become untethered and was floating over Colorado. It had all the elements of a human interest story: a child in peril, a grief-stricken family, a catchy name. Falcon Heene, better known as "Balloon Boy" was the single subject of cable news, news websites, and the Twitter trending topic list. It was the "Baby Jessica" of 2009. Some held their breath, praying for the safe landing of the airborn kid, while others joked at the seemingly improbable situation. As it played out, those who laughed first indeed laughed last.
It is not surprisingly that two games quickly appeared related to Balloon Boy's story. But to understand the shape they have taken, it is worth recounting how the event unfolded in the media.
The July issue of Wired magazine featured an article titled "Cutthroat Capitalism: An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model" (pdf available), in which they attribute the rise in piracy on the Somali coast to economic factors. The print article features eight pages of text, infographics, and illustrations which have a distinctly game-like aesthetic. The article graphics are colorful and use rounded-edged pixel art to abstract the images of boats, people, and maps. It is divided into section, the different steps of an attack, and each of these sections is supported by some sort of infographic and text description.
The infographics in the article take the forms of fever charts, bar graphs, pie charts, organization charts, and a full-page map. The article also uses an unusually high number of fonts, generally to the effect of punctuating the different "economic" formulas laid out in the article, creating the illusion of action and dynamism.
This illusion of an on-going process is important to the article because it's supposed to convey the timeline of a highjacking and ransom attack. It calculates the value propositions of each of the steps of the attack (from the pirate, crew, and naval point of view as appropriate) and serves to explain the low-cost, low-risk, high-reward system of ransom based piracy.
It, of course, is no accident that the aesthetic of the article is game-like. The article is paired with a web-based component--a Flash game with the same name, which Ian briefly wrote about when it was released. Not only does the game use many of the same assets, but it operates under the mathematic logic of the article to support the conclusions of the piece. It takes the rhetorical stance of facts-in-action, creating a capture and negotiation simulation. Perhaps simulation is too strong of a word, as many of the concepts have been abstracted for emphasis, but it does operate under the same assumptions of the article about the piracy process.
Parents need to know that this third-person action game tackles the difficult subject of wartime insurgency and terrorism. Players take on the role of a reluctant freedom fighter who uses his expertise in demolitions to help defeat a corrupt, militaristic occupational force. The violence, while more or less constant, is often directed at buildings rather than people, and players are encouraged to avoid hurting civilians whenever possible.Many enthusiast reviews of the game conclude that any possible connection to the actual conflict in Iraq is most certainly in bad taste. This is an unfortunate misstep for those reviewers; the recent controversy and subsequent discourse surrounding the failed IP Six Days in Fallujah shows that many are ready for games that explicitly tackle contemporary tragedies such as the Iraq insurgency. Critical gamers welcome the chance to experience and interrogate the anti-American mindset through gameplay. Should your 12-year old play this game? Probably not. Should you support Volition with a purchase, then carefully analyze the game's construction while you play? Most definitely. Read our analysis of how Red Faction: Guerrilla proceduralizes insurgency after the jump.
Wired Magazine has published a game about the business of Somali pirating. The game, called Cutthroat Capitalism, accompanies an article published in Wired, An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model. Here's a description:
You are a pirate commander staked with $50,000 from local tribal leaders and other investors. Your job is to guide your pirate crew through raids in and around the Gulf of Aden, attack and capture a ship, and successfully negotiate a ransom.
Continuing the thread on editorial games from my history, part one.
Author's note: While I was finishing up this piece, Ian forwarded me an upcoming DiGRA paper by Michael Mateas and Mike Treanor of UC Santa Cruz on *roughly* the same subject (though they focus much more on further defining the shared qualities of both genres). It thus became difficult to round off the article without seeing almost every claim as an argument made against their position. I'm not going to reply directly to any of their assertions, nor am I going to include any further insights into the subject that I may have gleaned from reading their piece. When their paper is presented at DiGRA, I hope you'll take the opportunity to contrast my definitional stance with theirs. We will be incorporating and replying to their article directly, and in long form, much later on down the road. Thanks for reading!
The line between "newsgame" and "editorial game" is fuzzy no matter how you slice it. Basically, our suggestion is that most games called "newsgames" don't have the same intentions or goals as traditional reporting, or "the news," but rather those of the op-ed piece: to persuade; therefore, we should label these digital opinion pieces as "editorial" rather than "news." Most people are probably inclined to ignore the possible distinction, because there doesn't seem to be enough proof that we need one in the first place (we can't exactly place a finger on what a "properly journalistic" newsgame would look like, as Paolo Pedercini has pointed out to us before). By the end we will (hopefully) have a slightly better understanding of the relationship between editorial and newsmaking, as well as a firmer grasp on how procedural rhetoric is used in editorial games.
The history of the editorial game began not with a bang, but with three. The first (the Big Bang of editorial games, as well as a couple other genres, so to speak) was the wide adoption of Flash in the creation of casual webgames. We can date this as sometime around August 2000, when Macromedia released Flash 5 with ActionScript 1.0, XML functionality, and SmartClips (an early form of components). Flash 5 and Flash MX were instrumental in the popularization of gaming portals such as AddictingGames.com (which we will return to near the end) in late 2001.
The second bang occurred on September 11th, 2001. Al-Qaeda's attack on American soil plunged the country into what seems today to be a perpetual war, becoming the most visible public issue (until, perhaps, our most recent economic downturn) both in the United States and abroad. The war on terror is a polarizing issue, leading to an explosion of opinion-based publishing on the Internet. Opinions are cheap, and we're quick to form them. Flash isn't incredibly cheap unless you're a student, but it is relatively easy to quickly make a game with it if you have any knowledge of keyframe animation or basic object-oriented programming.
Finally, the prior currents converge in late September of 2003 (I'm now finished with the "bang" metaphor): Gonzalo Frasca launches newsgaming.com with a controversial "toy world" entitled September 12th. Frasca had casually created a political game called Kabul Kaboom during a transcontinental flight at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, and the game's unexpected viral popularity led him to develop September 12th--an elegantly simple game about the dangerous assumptions of tactical missile strikes on terrorist pockets--over the course of the next few months. It employs an early example of what Ian Bogost calls "the rhetoric of failure"--a game that can only be "won" by not playing it at all. September 12th became wildly popular, gaining mainstream media attention and inspiring almost a decade of political Flash games (recently winning the Knight Foundation's Lifetime Achievement award for newsgames at this year's Games for Change).
If it's true that there's a disconnect between these games and their players, then either the shortcoming is in the games or in the public (likely, it's both). It doesn't make much sense to demand outright that the players adjust themselves to the games. The standard indie developer response of, "Who the hell cares if they like the game?" doesn't carry over here (if this is your attitude, then there's probably no reason for you to read this). If you're making newsgames, its likely that you have some passing interest in raising awareness or influencing public opinion. Playing devil's advocate and assuming that it's the newsgames that need an attitude adjustment, we can tackle the problem from three angles provided by the Elements: significance, relevance, and interest. I recognize that this is not a completely accurate parsing of the element, but I'm using it as a working model.
The day after Chesley Sullenberger miraculously landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson, Ian wrote about the BBC News simulation of the emergency water landing using Flight Simulator X. The main criticism of this was that they used a game to make a video, as opposed to something playable by the reader. It didn't take too long for US Air Flight 1549 games to appear, however. Hero on the Hudson, Double Bird Strike, and the French game Hudson's Crash are all Flash games about landing a plane on the river.
I believe these games follow the trend of the news media's coverage of the event: because a disastrous situation was averted, we don't have to exhibit the reverence and mourning of a tragedy. In terms of media coverage, this means focusing on the feat that was landing a plane with no engines safely in a river along the largest city in the United States. While some attention has been given to why the flight went down (discussions of migratory patterns of Canadian geese), the story that most people have taken away was that "Sully" miraculously landed an airplane and everybody was okay.
On the one hand, given the attention that is usually given to tragedy in the news (the old 'if it bleeds it leads' mentality), this was a welcome change of pace. However, the situation was complicated by the Continental Airways flight that crashed outside of Buffalo, NY a mere month after a major disaster was averted. These two events, when compared, illustrate major differences in reporting. They also reveal some of the difficulties of creating games about current events and suggest the possible journalistic roles of a game. Putting these events in game form forces us to ask questions that aren't the heart of the traditional media's story.
After almost 100 years later, with its many layers, the recognition or denial of the events of 1915 as genocide is one of the controversial issues of the history and politics. In Turkey the issue evokes distrust and anger especially among nationalists. The ethnical nature of the conflict and Turkey's recent terror problems with ethnical routes also solidify these feelings.
One of the discussions we had during project studio led us to ask a question about modeling three-dimensional game spaces in which journalism could take place. In his article "What Should You Show in a Graphic?" Alberto Cairo discusses the depiction of 3D space in the flat graphics of print or the computer screen. One of the difficulties of this space, he points out, is that news editors often want them to be dressed up to have more visual appeal. The problem is that this often means making up details of a scene that might be inaccurate or at least irrelevant. What I would like to address is what happens when the space rendered in this graphic is turned into a 3D space like those in games.
To ground my hypothetical thoughts in some realistic manor, I'd like to consider a relatively specific space that could be modeled in a graphics engine like Valve's Source (used for Half-Life 2). As we are students at Georgia Tech, news on the campus is relatively important to us. Because this news is tied to a geographically specific region that remains relatively static, some intrepid students at The Technique have enlisted the help of their game-savvy friends to build the Georgia Tech campus using the Source engine. That way, any time a story hits, they have a pre-made map in which to set the elements of the story.
Jason Rohrer's Crude Oil is a two-player game/prototype about the recent controversy over whether to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Before the economy collapsed, ANWR stood out as one of the key issues of the election. You might remember, for example, chants of "drill baby drill" at the Republican National Convention.
Crude Oil, which is not only multiplayer but overtly political, represents a significant departure from Rohrer's more famous games. For our purposes, the game is relevant because it provides a quirky solution to the problem of journalistic transparency. In doing so, Crude Oil also offers a somewhat different spin on the notion of procedural rhetoric.
The inauguration of the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama was commemorated in many different ways. One new digital tool that captured the moment President Obama took the oath of office was Photosynth, a project from Microsoft that stitches together 2D photographs to form a navigable 3D space. This kind of technology is reliant on mass contributions--the more viewpoints the better the image. Photographers were told to "Take one photo of the moment when Obama takes the oath... take three photos (wide-angle, mid-zoom, full-zoom)" and email their photos to an address. Microsoft's software stitched these photos together and the resulting product, "The Moment," was displayed on CNN.com.
Can we apply this kind of user-contributed data to develop game spaces for news?
Back in September, my friend Brendan and I made a game-like website about Sarah Palin (speaking for myself, I was trying to blow off some angst). We called it PalinSpeak.
I think the "game" and our process failed on a number of levels. But it was a learning experience, so I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on the production process. Here are some lessons.
During the last three presidential election seasons, Comedy Central brought viewers its "Indecision" special programming. In 1992, Comedy Central entered the political ring as Al Franken presented humourous live coverage of the first Bush's State of the Union Address. But it was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that launched the 2000 Bush-Gore election's coverage known as "Indecision 2000." Their spoof coverage even earned them a Peabody Award.
One of the first videogames to be treated as a legitimate work about a contemporary issue was Chris Crawford's 1985 title Balance of Power. It is a strategy game about geopolitics during the Cold War. The player is charged to take the role of the President of the United States or the General Secretary of the Soviet Union. The goal is to complete a term of office (eight years, with each turn taking a year) without invoking a nuclear war, and to end the game with a higher prestige than one's opponent.
The game was reasonably successful, having been ported from its original Macintosh version to Apple ][, PC, Atari ST, and Amiga. More importantly, it became one of the earliest good examples of what we now sometimes call Serious Games, (or what I have called Persuasive Games).
There are a number of things worth noting about Balance of Power. The first matter of interest I'd like to share is one I've only begun to think about recently: this was a game that produced an impressive journalistic discourse about its topic.
The problem with these games is that there aren't any moral choices to be made within the games themselves (the decision to stop playing is meta-game). Shadow of the Colossus doesn't work on an ethical level for me, because simply watching a character's forced fall from grace through plot progression is about as persuasive today as an Aesop fable. September 12th and Shadow are old games now, and it's a cop-out at this particular moment in gaming history to create a game without a choice other than: play and be damned, or drop the controller. If only making such a statement got the mainstream game industry out of its slough of despond! (I'll also be linking this back to choice in newsgames at the end.)
Answering Rowsell's question of why there aren't any commercial games discussing political or social issues is as easy as one word: money. The problem with Rowswell's article is that we already know this answer. Asking this question leads to an unsatisfactory answer, so we should reframe it. I'm hoping this blog post's exploration will let us arrive at a better question and encourage people to think differently about the medium's role in political/social issues.
Only two days left until November 4.
For months and months now, it's felt like the election has been on absolutely everybody's mind. With the stakes seemingly higher than ever, all sorts of people are coming out of the woodwork to support their candidate.
If we look to traditional media, we find scores of artists using their chosen craft to engage the election. To use a few Obama-centric examples: we've heard the Black Eyed Peas (and a gaggle of famous pop musicians) singing "Yes We Can"; we've seen Sarah Silverman use her in-your-face TV comedy to get out the Democratic vote in Florida; Ron Howard went as far as to resurrect The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days for his own pro-Obama short; hell, even the Budweiser "Wassup" guys spoofed their commercial to urge people to vote for change. Hollywood too is cashing in on election fever: witness Oliver Stone's W or Kevin Costner's Swing Vote.
As a games researcher and designer, I can only ask: why are there so few - if any - compelling political games or newsgames about this election cycle?
The question, which plagues the so-called Serious Games movement more generally, is far too contentious to be answered in one blog post. Ian himself tackled the question just two days ago, drawing a distinction between politics and politicking. But in focusing on the various affordances of games, Ian only orbits around what I personally see as the heart of the issue.
For my purposes, I'd like to reflect on one particular example that, in my mind, symbolizes the failure of the game designer community to capitalize on this historic election. In doing so, I want to suggest that the "problem" - if we should even view the dearth of worthwhile election games as problematic - has just as much to do with the culture around game design. We need to address the mindset under which these kinds of games are designed.