The Escapist Magazine
The Escapist Magazine Archive
"In the past year or so, I've been hearing things whispered about serious games at conferences and tossed around in emails. People are talking about games where you play suicide bombers, games where you're a border guard, games where you're a white supremacist. Unafraid of (and sometimes attracted to) the taboo, I figured it was time to see what this whole serious games thing was about, where the good parties were.
"One could argue that the entire idea of A Force More Powerful is a change in philosophy from most games. Though all of us are familiar with the setup - unsavory leadership oppresses the people and must be humbled - AFMP forces you to confront the challenge through entirely non-violent means. 'The game is still confrontational,' says BreakAway's lead designer, Ananda Gupta. 'You have to stand up to the r
"PAM brought a firestorm of ghastly publicity. DARPA cancelled it immediately, and Poindexter resigned a month later. (Several Total Information Awareness programs are still funded under classified appropriations.) In a Slate commentary called 'Bookmakers for the Bomb-Makers,' Daniel Gross observed that 'the market might defeat itself. The Pentagon wanted to create the PAM in order to gather information it could use to stop terrorism and reduce instability. If it saw, say, that people were betting heavily on the assassination of Iraq's interim president, the Defense Department would start searching for some assassination plot in the hopes of rooting it out. But preventing the assassination would cause all the people who bet on it to lose their money. Insofar as the market helped the United States stabilize the region and prevent terror, investors would suffer. The more it succeeded on policy, the more it would fail as a market, and the sooner it would collapse.'"
"The limelight given to controversial games with flashy graphics outshone the long tradition of military gaming. Some of the earliest examples we have of games in history have martial traditions. Serious games just happened to be a sexier turn of phrase. I know it's hard to imagine something taking off in America just because of its sex appeal, but it's true.