Gaming and Politics

I have been doing research on games being used as propaganda tool or as media to increase social awareness. Thank you websites like Water Cooler and Serious Games that provides loads of information on the subjects. If you know any articles, materials and links that fall into this categories please leave me a comment :-) Below are my personal bookmarks.

Screenshot from A FORCE MORE POWERFUL

SOCIOPOLITICAL GAMES:

  • Food Force– “Developed for the United Nations World Food Program, Food Force provides different missions allow the player to understand the different aspects of a humanitarian aid program.”
  • Peace Maker– “PeaceMaker is a one-player game in which the player can choose to take the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President. The player must react to in-game events, from diplomatic negotiations to military attacks, and interact with eight other political leaders and social groups in order to establish a stable resolution to the conflict before his or her term in office ends.”
  • A Force More Powerful– “is the first and only game to teach the waging of conflict using nonviolent methods. Destined for use by activists and leaders of nonviolent resistance and opposition movements, the game will also educate the media and general public on the potential of nonviolent action and serve as a simulation tool for academic studies of nonviolent resistance.”
  • Kuma\War– “Kuma\War missions allow subscribers to experience first-hand some of the toughest fighting in the global war on terror because each mission is based on real-world events. Missions are developed and delivered to your computer with unprecedented speed so you can experience these critical current events soon after they happen.” Missions included killing Iraqi insurgents Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and mission 58 “Assault On Iran which the goal is to put a halt on Iran nuclear program.”
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG– “This game delves into the morning of April 20th, 1999 and asks players to relive that day through the eyes of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, those responsible for the deadliest school shooting in American history.”
  • Global Conflict: Palestine– “Play a young journalist that has just arrived in Israel, and shape the region’s future in a peaceful direction. You must complete your assignment at all cost navigating between Palestinians and Israeli sources to get your article.”

FLASH BASED SOCIOPOLITICAL GAMES:

  • Darfur Is Dying– Created by MTV, “Darfur Is Dying is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiaties forces that threaten the survival of his refugee camp.”
  • September 12th– created by newsgaming, September 12th was based on the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
  • Madrid– also created by newsgaming in respond to the March 11th, 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid.
  • ANTIWARGAME– created by Futurefarmers in 2001, ANTIWARGAME “lets a player act as the US President and lead the USA into a war against terrorism…It is the President¹s challenge to keep up presidential popularity while pursuing whatever strategy might appeal to the player’s sense of gameplay or political outlook.”

Poster excerpt from UNDER SEIGE

PROPAGANDA GAMES:

  • America’s Army– “is a tactical multiplayer first-person shooter owned by the United States Government and released as a global public relations initiative to help with Army recruitment. The PC version was released on July 4, 2002 subtitled Recon, Operations, Special Forces and currently Overmatch. It is financed through U.S. tax dollars and distributed for free.”
  • Special Force (inactive since July 20, 2006)- “is a first-person shooter military video game, published by the Islamic organisation Hezbollah, created using the Genesis 3D engine. Special Force allows the player to take the part of an armed member of the Islamic Resistance to the Israeli invasions of Lebanon and to attack Israeli positions and Israeli politicians. It carries a deliberate and specific political message, that is pro-Islamic and anti-Israel.”
  • Under Ash– made in 2002 by Afkarmedia in Damascus, Syria, “the player takes the role of Ahmed, a Palestinian opposed to Israeli occupation (Zionists). Through the course of the game, Ahmed progresses from throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers to destroying Israeli military positions.”
  • Tahta al-Hisar- Under Siege– also made by Afkarmedia in 2005-6, “UnderSiege is about the modern history of Palestine and it focuses on the live of Palestinian family between 1999-2002 during the second Intifada. All levels of acres based on true stories and incoming goods look forward ton publish all more over the world on PC/windows it platform.”

DOCU-GAMES:

  • Paris Riots– “is a mod of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault in which the player takes the role of police mustered to respond to rioting in the Paris suburbs. The game draws from the actual events surrounding last year’s civil unrest all over France, and like many documentary games it uses real-world photography and video as a supplement to the game.”
  • Escape From Woomera– “With a first person, 3D adventure game we invite gamers to assume the character of, and ‘live’ through the experiences of a modern day refugee. The effective media lock-out from immigration detention centres has meant that the whole truth about what goes on behind the razor-wire at Woomera, Baxter, Port Hedland, Maribyrnong and Villawood remains largely a mystery to the Australian public.”
  • WACO Resurrection– “Waco Resurrection re-examines the clash of worldviews inherent in the 1993 conflict by asking players to assume the role of a resurrected “cult” leader in order to do divine battle against a crusading government. While the voices of far-off decision-makers seem resolute and determined, the “grunts” who physically assault the compound appear conflicted and naive in their roles.”
  • JFK Reloaded (now abandoned)- “JFK: Reloaded is a video game recreating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Released on the 41st anniversary of the event (2004-11-22) by Scotland-based Traffic Games, JFK: Reloaded puts the player in the role of Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The player is then scored on how closely one’s version of the assassination matches the report of the Warren Commission.”

HATE/ RACIST GAMES:

  • Ethnic Cleansing– “is a violently racist computer game developed by Resistance Records, an underground music label specializing in Neo-Nazi and white supremacist bands. In the game, the protagonist (the player can choose either a skinhead or a Klansman) runs through a ghetto murdering black people and latinos, before descending into a subway system to exterminate Jews.”
  • Postal 2: Share the Pain – asked players to control a character who exposed his penis, urinated on, attacked and killed opposing groups including “angry parents protesting violent games, Arab terrorists, Catholics, Indian shop owners, gay men and other stereotyped minority and protest groups”.

screenshot from LEFT BEHIND: ETERNAL FORCES

RELIGIOUS GAMES:

  • Left Behind: Eternal Forces– “is a forthcoming real-time strategy game for Microsoft Windows by Left Behind Games wherein the player joins an armed paramilitary Christian organization known as the Tribulation Force who are fighting the forces of the Antichrist, known as the Global Community Peacekeepers, loosely modeled on the United Nations Peacekeepers.” “The game gives players the task of converting 500 square blocks of New York City to Christianity, or killing those who refuse. Its authors see games as a powerful new way of proselytising to the young. Ironically, you can switch sides and play the AntiChrist instead.”

GAMES COMPANIES (more to come):

RELATED ARTICLES:

Digital Intifada– by Vít Å isler “examines political videogames produced by the Syrian company Afkar Media in Damascus, mainly their recent game Tahta al-Hisar (Under Siege) and puts them in a broader context of persuasive and serious games. It deals with the representation of the Other and Foreign in videogames, construction of the Arab and Islamic heroes and ongoing digital emancipation of the Near East.

In videogames you shoot Arabs or Aliens– by Vít Å isler, is an “interview with Radwan Kasmiya, an executive manager of the company Afkar Media, a Syrian studio producing political and other videogames. The interview was made in the company office in Damascus in May 2005, just before their release of a new videogame dealing with Palestinian Intifada ‘Tahta al-Hisar’ (Under Siege).

Videogames and politics– by Vít Å isler, deals with the “phenomenon of persuasive and ideological videogames. Games as a means of propaganda in political campaigns (case study: U.S. presidential election). Recent historical events in videogames seen through political perspective (case study: battle over Fallujah, The Palestinian Intifada). Games entering the political real-space (case study: recruitment and self-presentation tools for the U.S. Army and Lebanese Hezbollah movement).

Get real – gaming in the real world– by James Morris

Playing Games With a Conscience– by Daniel Terdiman

RESOURCES:

Posted on September 23, 2006 in Activism, Arts, Misc

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