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Video games with a political agenda

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“Advergames” are an increasingly popular method of bringing commercial messages to the nation’s 117 million or so video gamers. Interest groups are also getting into the action, hooking up with design shops such as Persuasive Games, which, for a mere $40,000, will design a custom game to get out your political message.

 

Game / Creator

How to Play

Feels Like…

Nice Touch

Airport Security
Persuasive Games

Oversee a busy airport security checkpoint, relieving passengers of contraband such as water bottles, toasters, and pants

If the ACLU reissued the ’80s arcade game Tapper

Tapper

Courtesy announcement: “Please be advised: Security personnel are authorized to use groping.”

Take Back Illinois
Illinois Republicans

Take Back Illinois

Lower medical costs, boost civic engagement, and improve schools and the economy

SimCity meets Milton Friedman

Rigged so that you can only win if you freeze taxes or cap malpractice damages

Darfur is Dying
University of Southern California students, winners of the Darfur Digital Activist Contest

Play a refugee trying to find water while hiding from Jeeps filled with rampaging Janjaweed militiamen

Sid Meier’s End of Civilization

Sid Meyer's End of Civilization

So you’re sitting on your butt playing a video game about genocide

Border Patrol
The Insurgent, a white supremacist website

Border Patrol

Blow away Mexican drug smugglers and “breeders” with children in tow as they cross into the United States

Duck Hunt for racists

Score 88 points and win. The number is a neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler” (H is the 8th letter of the alphabet).

Bushgame
Activist programmer Jason Oda

Guide Hulk Hogan and Mr. T as they battle corporate pigs and mutant Bush Cabinet members in a surreal fight to save the world

Old-school Nintendo, as imagined by the South Park guys

South Park

Bridging a gaping chasm with a super-nerdy bar chart of the federal deficit. Don’t fall into that $500 billion hole!

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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