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Video Games As Social Commentary

FatWorld, by Persuasive Games

The video gaming industry will soon overtake the movie industry in revenue (perhaps).

Total ad spend for in-game ads was about $80 million in2006, with significant growth projected, according to The Yankee Group.

But video games can be more than entertainment or advertising — they can also be an interactive form of social commentary.

I’ve previously mentioned Persuasive Game’s Airport Screener, where you play a harried airport TSA screener making passengers remove their shoes and confiscating ice cream cones.

Airport Screener is just one of the social commentary games developed by Ian Bogost, a Georgia Tech prof of literary criticism and computational media.

Bogost has also written games about obesity (FatWorld), industrial agriculture (Bacteria Salad), minimum wage dead-end jobs (Disaffected), and the safety of imported food (Food Import Folly) .

Code as social criticism — interesting stuff.

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
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