Bogost: Campaign-sponsored Games are Down from 2004 Election

October 30, 2008 -

In his Gamasutra column, Georgia Tech prof Ian Bogost writes of the decline of the officially-sponsored campaign video game:

The 2004 election cycle saw the birth and quick rise of the official political video game... It was easy to get public attention around such work, and indeed one of the benefits of campaign games revolved around their press-worthiness. By the final weeks of the last election cycle, all signals suggested that campaign games were here to stay.

But, as Bogost notes, only the McCain campaign's dreary Pork Invaders emerged in the 2008 presidential election season. There were, however, a plethora of unofficial games, as tracked by GamePolitics. Bogost, who has designed political games himself, does not regard them highly:

Unofficial political games also made few innovations this year. The largest crop of them are game-like gags about Sarah Palin, from the almost-topical Polar Palin to the toy-like Palin as President to the wildlife sendup Hunting with Palin to a series of Palin chatterbots to the inevitable whack-a-mole clone Puck Palin.

We'll have to take issue with Bogost's head count of commercial games with political themes. While he does mention The Political Machine 2008 and the very forgettable Hail to the Chimp, he seems to miss Democracy and President Forever.

If politically themed games are indeed dwindling, why is that happening? Bogost suggests that campaigns are turning to other online resources:

There are reasons games have grown slowly compared to other technologies for political outreach. The most important one is also the most obvious: since 2004, online video and social networks have become the big thing, as blogs were four years ago...

 

Online video became the political totem of 2008, from James Kotecki's dorm room interviews to CNN's YouTube debates. At the same time, the massive growth in social network subscriptions made social connectivity a secondary focus for campaign innovation, especially since Facebook opened its pages beyond the campus in 2006.


Comments

Re: Bogost: Campaign-sponsored Games are Down from 2004 Election

Frogboy should be happy his TPM is taken seriously by professors now. For anyone interested the official site is www.politicalmachine.com. There is also a free version for people to try.

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Andrew EisenSome locked threads. Some let them be. So, no, I'm not seeing a problem here. No corruption. No collusion. No ethical problem with privately discussing ethics.09/20/2014 - 12:48am
Andrew EisenAnd still, in the end, Tito made up his own mind on how to handle his site. All 150 or so members went off to handle their own sites in their own ways. Some talked about it. Some didn't. Some changed disclosure policies. Some didn't.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenThere were two comments other than Kochera and Tito's. One pointed out the Escapist Code of Conduct, another comment was in support of Tito.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenKochera privately expressed his disagreement on how Tito decided to do something. No, I don't consider that crossing a line nor do I consider the exchange an example of the group pressuring him.09/20/2014 - 12:36am
Kronotechnical reasons. Anyways, I need to get to sleep as well.09/20/2014 - 12:29am
KronoAnd he wasn't the only one pushing Tito to censor the thread. If Tito had bowed to peer pressure, we likely wouldn't have gotten this http://goo.gl/vKiYtR which grew out of that thread. Said thread also lasted until a new one needed to be made for09/20/2014 - 12:28am
Krono@Andrew So it's an example of Kuchera crossing the line from reporter to advocate. And an example of the group pressuring for censorship.09/20/2014 - 12:21am
E. Zachary KnightAnyway, I am off to bed. I will probably wake up to all of this being knocked off the shout box.09/20/2014 - 12:20am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, that is the type of reading too much into things that bugs me. Ben did no such thing. Greg had the last word in that part of the exchange. The rest was about how to approach the story and Quinn.09/20/2014 - 12:19am
Andrew EisenSo?09/20/2014 - 12:13am
KronoExcept that the forum thread wasn't harassment, and Kuchera continued to push for the thread's removal after Tito made it clear he didn't consider it harassment.09/20/2014 - 12:12am
Andrew EisenPersonally, I see nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion or the other person making up their own mind on how to run their site.09/20/2014 - 12:06am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, I read nothing of the sort in that email chain. I read Ben giving advice on what to do when a forum thread is used to harass someone and spread falshoods about them and others.09/20/2014 - 12:05am
KronoThat's exactly what Ben Kuchera was doing to Greg Tito.09/19/2014 - 11:58pm
Krono@EZK So you see nothing wrong with one journalist pressuring a journalist from a different organization to not only not run a story, but to censor a civil discussion already taking place?09/19/2014 - 11:56pm
E. Zachary KnightI write for a number of blogs and talk to people who write similar blogs all the time for tips and advice. I see nothing wrong with that.09/19/2014 - 11:50pm
E. Zachary KnightI read that comment now and frankly, I think that guy is reading too much into this. The press talk to each other. It happens. There is nothing that can be done to stop it from happening.09/19/2014 - 11:49pm
KronoUnfortunately it seems unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.09/19/2014 - 11:45pm
Krono@EZK No that's not the comment. As for wanting nothing do with any of it, that's perfectly understandable.09/19/2014 - 11:44pm
Sleaker@Conster - sand?09/19/2014 - 11:40pm
 

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