6 More Games for After the Election

Earlier this month, I shared six games for facilitating conversations in the wake of the US presidential election. Several designers and educators reached out to share other suggestions, particularly for related political discourse that may be relevant over the coming months. All of these games are free unless otherwise noted, but many of the designers accept donations to support their practice.

  • Jana Reinhardt’s strangely escapist game Solitude (2 dollars to play) is a beautiful metaphorical game about life as a shepherd. Chris Priestman notes in his review: “the main character escapes an office to help others move away from the media that harasses their thoughts, and to leave the loneliness that worsened their condition.” The game works both as an entry to discussing feelings of helplessness or frustration and as a way to think about making art as an act.

  • Nicky Case’s short art game We Become What We Behold (shown in the screenshot above) presents clickbait headlines through a simple set of interactions where the player is complicit in a social breakdown caused by highlighting, hashtagging, and amplifying the actions of members of the community. It’s a short and provocative way to think about what gets amplified.

  • Vi Hart and Nicky Case’s playable post Parable of the Polygons (in many ways a precursor to We Become What We Behold) explores diversity through rules-based simulations of how individual biases lead to greater segregation and discrimination. The post includes a series of games embedded in context and commentary.

  • Nick Kaman’s this is fine is inspired by the now-ubiquitous webcomic by kcgreen featuring a dog surrounded by fire. It’s an art game with minimal interactivity that the designer describes as “an attempt to capture how I felt and how those around me felt after the results of the 2016 election.” It’s a short experience that works best for thinking about perception and community action (or inaction.)

  • Andy Campbell and Mez Breeze’s #PRISOM is a futuristic art game set in a glass city where everyone is under constant surveillance. It presents the player with scenarios to consider reactions to unconstitutional treatment and the reduction of freedoms through monitoring.

  • Spent, a game released by the Urban Ministries of Durham, is a text-based simulation of the experience of minimum wage employment and financial precarity. The player is challenged to make it through a month on limited resources with random surprises waiting around every turn, and difficult choices like balancing the costs of housing versus transportation. It’s a great way to have conversations about economic inequities and safety nets.

Do you know of another game that might be useful for classroom discourse? Share it in the comments!

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