Ian Bogost on Games and Politics – liveblogging from Harvard KSG

Nicco Mele of Dean for America fame has been hosting a weekly study group on politics and the Internet; today he’s brought in Ian Bogost of Georgia Tech and Persuasive Games to talk about politics and video games. Ian has been ruminating on this topic a bit of late, most recently on Gamasutra, where he chronicles the “Birth and Death of the Election Game.”

Nicco’s relationship with Ian goes back to 2004, when Persuasive Games helped the Dean campaign design a video game to explain the Iowa Caucus.

Ian’s starting with his usual love for Animal Crossing. No need to repeat that here.

Relevant elements of games:

  1. Models capturing behaviors
  2. Roles simulating an experience, constrained by rules, leading to empathy
  3. Worlds that enable an immersion through imagined expertise

This allows games to give complex problems relevance in the context of our world. This is quite the opposite of usual politics and reductionist political rhetoric.

Politics as setting the rules for the roles that will play in a model of our future world that we’re in the process of constructing.
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