Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: phylo

Collection of Propaganda Games Part 1

Propaganda is about changing public opinion on something for political or other motives and many games aim to that very thing. In my opinion both advertising games and educational games aim to change the way people think and can therefore be lumped together under propaganda games.

Like many things in the world of games Hollywood have already tackled with putting propaganda in their entertainment properties, the most blatant and perhaps comical example of this comes from Wayne’s World:

Games don’t tend to be that blunt or honest, or get nearly as much money for tossing in such blatant advertising. Still, we can look at what;s out there in the world of games.

Here’s a fairly random selection of games that lean to the educational side but can also be considered propaganda because of the message they carry.

Super Tofu Boy by PETA

Moonbase Alpha by NASA (article on the game).

Real Lives allows you to simulate what it’s like to live anywhere on the planet.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s games to help kids understand citizenship.

Save the Silly Earthlings from their climate change.

Phylo a trading card game inspired by Pokemon, instead it’s abut real animals.

Sweatshop a game about the horrible working conditions that too many people on the planet suffer through in order for cheap products to exist.

Mayor Munch is a game about the most pathetic mayoral race in Toronto’s history (article in the Toronto Star).

Urgent Evoke an interactive story about saving the world.

World Without Oil is all about getting players to be more conscious of how oil is used in everything.

The Bail Out Game is a chance to relive the welfare the banks got from the USA during the banker caused bank implosions of a few years ago.

The NRA has a pro-gun game for ages 4 and up, which is quite ironic.

For more explicitly educational games please check out the great list at Games for Change.

Somewhat related stuff:

Here’s a previous post on the Canadian military looking into using virtual reality and things like America’s Army.

It’s worth looking at how Angry Birds has been manipulated into propaganda in this post at MetaFilter.

Health and Video Games

Health care is an ever-expanding industry so it makes sense that the world of games and health will intersect.

For an introduction to the complexities of health care in the developed world and how we can start seeing how games can impact it watch this keynote by Ben Swayer at the most recent Games for Health – Europe conference.

General care

When it comes to general care there have been some attempts like WiiFit that brought the idea of games connected to health to the mainstream. The connection between professional game designers and health care practitioners can better bridge the divide between for-profit and for-health care. The ideal is people play games that are fun in itself, and it just so happens that the games are about (or for) healthy living.

Wii Fit in action:

There’s also games that help people stay fit through activity:

Zombies, Run is perhaps the best example of this:

Fitocracy a gaming-inspired approached to an online community about staying fit by being active.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Here’s a good video summary from an excellent New Yorker article on how PTSD is treated using virtual environments.

Games for research

Foldit is the most popular example of a game that uses players to research solutions that computers can’t solve. This game focus on the complexity of protein folding.

Phylo is another example of a game that uses the players of the game to compute complex information. The players assemble sequences of DNA for success!

*It’s also worth noting that health games and serious games (education) have a lot in common but I feel that is covered enough elsewhere on this blog.

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