I've been wondering recently (once again) about the possibility that video games can be used to support social, economic, or political efforts. For example, there are lots of video games that have some aspect of current events or hot-button topics connected to them. The game producers often want you to support a particular cause. For example:
--first person shooters like America's Army, A Night of Bush Hunting, or Johnny Look's "Edge the Game"
--The scads of Flash games that support or ridicule particular political candidates (too many to list, but you can look up "election 2004 flash game" for some distinct examples)
--The old skool NES games like "Wally Bear & The No Gang"
--Anti-drug campaign games like NARC
--games like "Third World Farmer" or "Super Energy Apocalypse" that address global economic & societal issues
Admittedly, I have a distinctive 80's - 90's bias to the games I listed above, but that's because it's the generation of games to which I have the most exposure. The point is still the same.
Do these do their job well at all? That is, do they draw attention to these issues, and inspire people to change their behaviour? Are there any success stories? Should game designers bother to try to do this at all? Should designers be forbidden from attempting to influence public opinion of social issues with their works?
Do you feel video games can be persuasive enough to change public opinion on any issues? Why or why not?
No, I don't think games alone are a solid medium for changing public opinion of anything but themselves.
But then again, I don't think there's been many examples of any fictional media changing public opinion in any significant way. I don't know of any fictional TV programmes or films that have changed public opinion, and it would be the same with games. And games, such is the requirement, have to be fictional to be playable.
Although I have never played it I do remember it generating a large amount of media support when it was in development.
So I agree that games may be able to highlight prpblems in society but I don't think they'll be able to change anything by themselves. However it all depends on the issue, the game and the people involved.
It's possible. Though game designers haven't really bothered. Or some have bothered too much with it that it no longer becomes a game. It's a lot harder with games, though. You have to get the player immersed in the situation, where they can understand what it's like for whatever event they're against.
With a book it's easier to get into someone's head. With a movie, it's easy to continually show what's behind the scenes and narrate. A good game needs the player to be active.. and understand it all on their own. It's not impossible, but it's a lot more work with less impact.
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.
I'd like a good game that could show the president just how much a HUGE MISTAKE it is to bail out large FAILING corporations.
It's best to let them run the course. If large companies die out, that just means there's more opportunities for smaller companies to take their place, as it should be. Instead of wasting the taxpayers money by putting it into large company CEO's pockets (that's where it always ends up), the government really needs to invest money back into the people who actually make the economy work in the first place. Those people that make it work are the masses, the many, the working class. If the government was geared towards economical success and freedom and a truly capitalistic society rather than the neverending socialistic insanity that is the corporate world, then all that money which went to the greedy and unsuccessful manipulative monsters, could have instead gone towards small businesses, government funding (grants and loans), and into the pockets of the needy and deserving. When those that never had money suddenly find themselves with it, there would be alot more consumer spending, and thusly alot better economy. When small business finds it easier to turn a profit, prices stop getting raised, and more people purchase items. And with funding for school, people can learn without worry of putting food upon the table, and so will gain the knowledge and skills to become a perfectly capable and useful member of society, allowing for better employability and less cost for companies looking for employees. It all travels round in circles, everything, and the sooner they realise this, the faster the economy will recover.
If they never realise however, then we very well could eventually wind up as a third world country in a rather pitiful state of disillusionment and poverty that will echo in waves around the world. It could indeed happen, and it's a scary thought. I'd prefer to keep it a fictional passing thought by changing the way we look at things and breaking the barriers of the arogant ignorant mindset which ignores the signs of the inevitable falling apart of society bound to occur if we stay on the current path.
Yea ... good luck making a game out of that though ... lol.
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I don't think that large-scale games are ever really designed with social or political change in mind, definitely with similar issues to the world or predicted future issues but because it makes for interesting stories and games. Sometimes people want to fight for good in a game, sometimes people want to play the baddies. It's fun to be a counter-terrorist and bust the terrorists, but it's also fun to play the drug dealer peddling drugs to people and running from the police. But as mentioned by OP, there's buttloads of Flash games people make that satirize politics and world issues.