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SGS Feature: 'Persuasive Games: Games Phone Home'

SGS Feature: 'Persuasive Games: Games Phone Home'

October 12, 2006 | By Simon Carless

October 12, 2006 | By Simon Carless
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Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source has published the latest column from game designer and professor Ian Bogost, discussing the 'weakness-enforced stealth' in controversial political game Darfur Is Dying.

As Bogost explains in his intriguing column on the subject:

"One of the unique properties of video games is their ability to put us in someone else's shoes. But most of the time, those shoes are bigger than our own. When we play video games, we are like children clopping around in their parent's loafers or pumps, imagining what it would be like to see over the kitchen counter... this trend corresponds with video games' tendency to fulfill power fantasies...

Darfur is Dying, created by USC graduate Susana Ruiz as part of her MFA thesis, is a game that breaks this tradition. In one part of the game, the player takes the role of a Darfuri child who ventures out of the village to a well to retrieve water for his family. To accomplish this task, the player must run across a sparse desert in search of a well, and then back again, while avoiding jeeps of Janjaweed militia that easily overtake the slower, more vulnerable child. The player can hide temporarily behind shrubs and desert trash, but staying still for too long leads to inevitable capture."


You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the topic, including comparisons of the approach taken by Darfur Is Dying to titles in the Zelda series and even infamous Atari 2600 title E.T. (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).


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