"Another world is possible"

So eagerly trying to avoid the task of explaining bots in The Sims Online and why they have a more positive effect on the economy rather than negative (OMFG! Why does it sound so much more interesting on my blog than in my thesis?), I stopped by Water Cooler Games! Which then linked me on to some feeds from the “Game as Critic as Art” event in Barcelona. Ahhh! How beatiful is this?!!
I instantly clicked on Katharine Neil’s presentation of Escape from Woomera, which was presented here in Bergen in October! It was so interesting to hear the thoughts behind the process. The reality of the actual gameplay and how they’d used an investigative journalist on their team to find facts for the actual gameplay. She has a go at uncategorizing her game as art “We’re game developers not artists” – I’m going to have to write another post on my thoughts here because they’re just tumbling in and I’m trying to see if I can mix the words ‘games’ and ‘interactive news journalism’ – but I’ll get back to that.
“How can you make people care about characters that they can reload?”, and on why was the truth important and not use metaphors; “I didn’t want people to think, ‘Yeah, that’s really awful but I bet that didn’t really happen’.” – it was very interesting. She also offers a public apology to Radman Kasmiya, because she was forced to drop him from a conference she was organising in Australia, for political reasons! He was actually banned! Jeez!!
So…onto Radman Kasmiya’s presentation which just blew my mind and touched me in so many ways, I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit them all in here! Kasmiya’s from Afkar Games. No, you know what – you’re just going to have to watch it! I’ll just say that they’re arabic and they bring up some true conflicts. I mean, in his presentation of Under Ash, wow! Through the game, they tell true stories about Palestine history. It’s amazing how they’ve done this, the different characters are just so intriguing! And the impact this game has had on Palestines and Israelis is teardropping, frightful and touching!
Water Cooler Games also includes a link to an article by Vit Sisler called Digital Intifada:
“This article examines political videogames produced by the Syrian company Afkar Media in Damascus, mainly their recent game Tahta al-Hisar (Under the Siege) and puts them in a broader context of persuasive and serious games. It deals with the representation of the Other and Foreign in videogames, construction of the Arab and Islamic heroes and ongoing digital emancipation of the Near East.”
Definitely on my ‘to read’ list now! This stuff just brought a whole influx of thoughts in my head! On a side note, I’m also thinking that all you people shouting so loudly about violence not having an impact on players – I really think you should have a look at this! That whole discussion seems, to me, to be very basic and naiv on both sides. But look at these games! There’s so much we can learn from this! Content and gameplay certainly does have an impact on ‘real life’! But how needs to be discussed!
I’m just so inspired! But alas…sleep has come to haunt me! I’ll have to save the rest of my thoughts for another post!
“Another world is possible!” – Katharine Neil

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