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Flash Games as Political Commentary

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the subtlety-unnecessary dept.

Games 216

Clive Thompson writes "All over the net, there are little shockwave games inspired by political events -- from the WTO-style New York Defender to War on Terrorism to even Downing Street Fighter (where British politicians beat each other senseless, Street-Fighter-Style). Sure, like most Shockwave-generated stuff, they may suck as games. But that's missing the point. What's happening here is nothing less than the emergence of the online video game as a form of social comment -- something you dash off in a couple of hours to make a sardonic political point about something. It's a new notepad for communication. Or at least, that's what I argued in this piece in Slate today. In addition to the craven self-promotion of sending it in to Slashdot, I'm interested in hearing what everyone thinks of this issue. After all, courts have recently been arguing that video games cannot be protected speech; these games make it patently obvious that this view is insane." The columnist missed a better example of the genre - the EFF's game of digital restrictions management.

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imniportant (2, Funny)

avandesande (143899) | about 12 years ago | (#4169691)

geeks always think that what they are doing is more important and has more social relevance than it is. Where Katz when you need him?

Re:imniportant (0)

ACNeal (595975) | about 12 years ago | (#4169762)

I was actually surprised, when I read the blurb.

I just assumed it was Katz, then it slowly dawned on me that it was in italics. I then assumed it was one of Katz's little correspondance affairs.

I looked at the by-line and was surprised to see that it was michael that posted the story.

Isn't a sign of the times... (4, Insightful)

CommieLib (468883) | about 12 years ago | (#4169694)

and of our continuing infantilism that our political views are expressed through games?

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169779)

No more infantile than expressing political views through cartoons which has been going on for centuries.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169806)

Are Political cartoons infantile? There are cartoons after all, and we all know cartoons are only for kids, right?

You could easily consider Monopoly a political game, as it's creation was directly influenced by the depression.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (4, Insightful)

daoine (123140) | about 12 years ago | (#4169850)

It seems to be far more than political views, and I don't think it's infantile at all.

I think it's very fair to say that these 'games' have grown directly out of political cartoons. In fact, it's quite easy to view them as interactive political cartoons. Just as the political cartoon overstated the nuances of reality, the games are pointing out a piece of the reality -- the only difference is that you get to play it.

I think the most telling point is the end of the article -- it's not supposed to be a a good game. People are just taking advantage of the medium, as they did with cartoons.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 12 years ago | (#4169862)

Video games aren't infantile, modern politics are.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (2)

micromoog (206608) | about 12 years ago | (#4169927)

The classic "quick political comment" forum is the cartoon . . . is that "infantile" as well?

It's humor. Politics are dry enough already.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (1)

jxg (556482) | about 12 years ago | (#4169935)

How so? People have expressed political views through books, speeches, plays, TV programs, and virtually every medium available for as long as there have been meaningful political views and methods of expression. Games are a good way to foment interest in those who don't like to read thousand-page political treatises or who have become disenchanted with sound-byte Republicrat political posturers.

Granted, Flash games are a little simplistic for such a purpose, as they are too small to contain much more than a sound-byte, but even a sound-byte conveyed in an interesting way may provoke thought. Witness comedy and political satire from books to TV.

An expansive single-player game, however, can be just as thought-provoking as any metaphoric political novel. Try Deus Ex.

Re:Isn't a sign of the times... (4, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 12 years ago | (#4170000)

[Isn't a sign of the times...] and of our continuing infantilism that our political views are expressed through games?

Oh, I don't know. I much prefer political views expressed through games than, say, political views expressed through Dick Cheney.

On a bit of a tangent, I'm waiting in horror for the day when Cheney comes storming up to the podium, sweating like a pig, chanting and clapping:

"in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! Say it with me!
in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq! in-VADE-Iraq!

Old Lady Taco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169698)

Here is a recent AIM log I saved. It is a conversation between myself and Taco's mother. (Please note, I have changed Old Lady Taco's screen name to protect her privacy.)

Taco's Mom: BUTT SEX ME!!!
TrolleyMcGook: Damn bitch, you're retarded.
TrolleyMcGook: My English is better than yours and my name is McGook.
Taco's Mom: I'm so horny and my fingers are so wet that I'm having trouble typing.
TrolleyMcGook: Slippery from vagina gunk or the two dozen chicken wings you've eaten since your last snack an hour ago?
Taco's Mom: BUTT SEX ME!!
TrolleyMcGook: Man, it's just like DMX (D to the M to the X) said, "All these bitches want is my huge black cock up in their shitters."
TrolleyMcGook: Listen bitch, enough of your nonsense. I need you to pass a message to your son for me.
Taco's Mom: If I do it, will you butt sex me?
TrolleyMcGook: I'll consider breaking my foot off in yo ass.
Taco's Mom: Alright, what's the message?
TrolleyMcGook: Linux Sucks!!! Ha Ha Ha!
Taco's Mom: Now butt sex me??
TrolleyMcGook: Fuck no. You've got AIDS.
TrolleyMcGook: See you later bitch
Taco's Mom: COME ON BIG BOYYYY!!!!!!!!
TrolleyMcGook signed off at 10:09:37 PM.


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169699)

This is guide is written by slashdot readers for slashdot readers. Got a suggestion? suggest it by replying this discussion thread

Useful Advice:

1. Do not touch or attempt to touch a UFO that has landed. Passing through the Earth's atmosphere the skin of the craft will be hot. There is also a possibility of radiation. There is also a chance of steam being produced from the heated hull at the landing site.

2. Do not stand under a hovering UFO at low altitude. There is a possibility of radiation danger.

3. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT ALIENS if they appear, any movement on your part may constitute an act of aggression. If possible, back away VERY slowly. Make no gestures what so ever.

4. Note the shape and size of the craft, use nearby objects for a size comparison.

5. If you can take some photographs but ... BE VERY CAREFUL. Flash photography may be seen as an act of agression, and could even have harmful effects on the aliens. The use of a tripod might also be confused with a dangerous weapon.

6. Do not touch any artifact from an alien spacecraft, the artifact may be dangerous, leave this to the authorites.

7. Do not attempt sex with the aliens. Alien fluids might have acid or other undesirables. by TrollBurger #575126

8. Get away from the area QUICKLY. Inform the local authorites or the military.

9. If you a wound or illness, present it to the aliens in a manner that shows you are hurt. Many aliens have healing powers in their appendages. by scotch #102596

10. Do not attempt to shoot at alien craft. Not only is this a direct act of agression, but many alien ships employ powerful sheilding which can deflect a bullet or shot directly towards you, which may lead to injuries.

Less Useful Advice:

1. Offer the aliens a burger. They've just been on a trip that must have taken many millions of lightyears, they're probably hungry. by TrollBurger #575126

2. Don't tell the aliens about Slashdot, Jerry Springer, and America. The aliens are probably trying to find intelligent life.

3. To aid future human/alien dialog, attempt to communicate the rotation period of an electron in a hydrogen atom, using dance. This is the intergalactic Roseta Stone.

4. Attempt to sneeze on the aliens. This is just to show that "War of the Worlds" was a CROCK OF SHIT!

5. Explain to them about area 51, and how we shot down, and experimented on one of their own. (THIS MIGHT BE DANGEROUS).

6. Offer to show them an anal probe (if you have one handy). (OPTIONAL)

7. If the alien seems upset, offer to rub its head gently. Not only will this ease a tense situation, it will bring you good luck. by scotch #102596

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169703)


Watch those links (5, Informative)

sandbenders (301132) | about 12 years ago | (#4169704)

Ummm, I clicked the 'War on Terrorism' link- I might have gotten the game- I don't know because I restarted my machine to expedite the closing of about half a dozen adult site popups. Can we check these out before our friends who might be reading from work stumble into them? I know better than to click on a link in a post, but this was *in the article*.

HAhahahaha... good one! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169721)

Slashdot editors checking links... I'll be laughing all day at that one! Hooooo....

Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169725)

>Can we check these out before our friends who
>might be reading from work stumble into them

Fuck you, asshole. They can look for themselves. What are you, an American. "He might hurt himself". Why not set a up a class action against Slashdot?

"I kept poking myself in the eye with a pencil and it went in! There should be a little rubber protector on the next of each pencil! I`m gonna sue!"

Not protecting himself (0)

ACNeal (595975) | about 12 years ago | (#4169804)

He isn't the one that will sue himself for sexual harrasment.

He isn't the one that will fire himself for lewd behavior at work.

And for the one people that have a platform forced on them, they might not be able to disable popups.

I understand that /. needs to make money, and shock journalism brings in the clicks, even if to say "I was so shocked, I had to re-enter the site several times, just to see if I was still as shocked.", but linking to porn sites is a little over the top.

Why not just sell the advertising spot to the porn kings. They will only lose about 10% of the more mature audience, and pick up a lot more skript kiddies, overall increasing OSDN's profits.

Re:Not protecting himself (1)

sandbenders (301132) | about 12 years ago | (#4169967)

Unfortunately, this is exactly the case- the IT guys at work look at me sympathetically and shake their heads with sad little smiles when I try to get something other than Win 2000 on my laptop. "It's not that we want to give you this," they say. "We don't have any choice." They're not idiots, but they answer to one. And now they are going to be calling me asking about these sites in the web log....

I wont get fired, because they understand that these things happen, but if it happened in front of a female coworker, it might be bad. Of course, I work in IT, so there's just the one female in our office. It cuts down the chances.
It would just be better all around to not have it happen. That's all I'm saying.

Re:Watch those links (2)

jandrese (485) | about 12 years ago | (#4169733)

May I suggest just blocking popups. Saves a lot of potental embarassment. It's easy to do, just pull down Edit->Preferences->Advanced->Scripts & Plugins in Mozilla and disable unrequested windows.

Re:Watch those links (0, Flamebait) (450073) | about 12 years ago | (#4169737)

closing of about half a dozen adult site popups

Well, the person is probably using smarter / better browser than you are. I get no pop-ups with Konqueror or Mozzie. My guess would be that the submitter didn't even know there were pop-ups. Just as I didn't.

Re:Watch those links (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | about 12 years ago | (#4169893)

Absolutely right!
Just downloaded, installed and configured Moz. 1.1, then got the mouse gestures add-on.
I think I have a good setup, close to Opera.

Back on-topic, sort of, the only flash games I play are at The Romp []

Re:Watch those links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169750)

I guess this is one of the times i'm glad for the corporate web blocking. Gee thanks /..

Blocked by the Proxy (1)

C0deJunkie (309293) | about 12 years ago | (#4169856)

At least mine (clicks) were blocked from our proxy guardian!

Gaming with Shockwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169710)

Shockwave has never been my first choice when it comes to playing games. First of all, he's purple. What kid wants to play with a purple toy? Secondly, he spent most of his time alone on Cybertron. Okay, sure, maybe the 'Cons needed somebody manning the outpost, but give me a break. Wouldn't you go completely effing batshit if you spent that much time alone? If you want to do some real gaming, let me suggest Megatron, Jetfire, or Ultra Magnus.

Shockwave may have been battery-operated and made some cool noises, but let's face it .. in the end, he doesn't measure up.

Re:Gaming with Shockwave (1)

peterpi (585134) | about 12 years ago | (#4169741)

I found Shockwave quite spooky with his single yellow eye-thingy. I reckon he could have really kicked ass if he got mad.

Re:Gaming with Shockwave (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169807)

No way! Star Scream and Ram Jet rule.

Megatron turns into a gun? WTF is that? He's too big to fit in any other Transformer's hand.

And anyway, Go-bots had better storylines and characters than Transformers.

Re:Gaming with Shockwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169847)

Gobots had better stories?

Are you on crack?

Re:Gaming with Shockwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169923)

Gobots were not better than Transformers.

Remember the story when the boy was hurt, and they transferred his mind to the robot body? Remember how he turned evil because he couldn't control himself? Remember how he finally mastered the body as he was preparing to be xferred back?

That was a cool show. Gobots was more like- stop him from doing something....and I never knew what that something was- but Cyclone was a cool toy.

Re:Gaming with Shockwave (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169951)

Go-bots? Go-bots? Go-bots? Are you mad?

The Go-bots were positively dreadful. "Ooh, look, I'm a car .. now open my doors, look, it's my arms! Isn't that terribly clever?!"

The makers of the Go-bots deserve to be in prison.

if political cartoons are protected, why not this? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 12 years ago | (#4169719)

I see most flash programming as a big cartoon. If people can make political statements in cartoons, how does making the "cartoon" interactive remove its rights for free speech?

I think that law makers just don't like the fact that we can go around killing them w/lightning and nail guns.

Dear sir (-1, Troll)

WankerInformation (604938) | about 12 years ago | (#4169742)

I must inform you that you are a wanker.

Wanker Information Services (inc)

Just because cartoon is protected speech... (1)

Ted_Green (205549) | about 12 years ago | (#4169993)

Doesn't mean all are.

Political cartoons are protected speech.
Porn cartoons are not. Even if they in some way are political.

Same way with games.

Just because X item in the genere fits into catagory Y, doesn't mean the whole genere fits into catagory Y.

Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (0, Flamebait)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | about 12 years ago | (#4169724)

These flash programmers are making waves by dicking around with flash toolkits, oh boy, how scary! Now, all sorts of other, white, well educated, middle class techies will see them too, oh boy, what a highly charged political situation!

If you want to really make a political statement, start conducting voting drives in lower class minority neighborhoods, nothing like getting the disenfranchised to vote to really bother the man. On the plus side, with the fact that there are more black men in prison than in college, even a fat, pasty faced geekboy has a good chance of finding an unattached woman.

Re:Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (1)

NeuroUk (594740) | about 12 years ago | (#4169838)


you thnk that polititions arn't efected by cartoons?

my my your the nieve one its the white middle class who vote most so to make a political comment you have to adress there issues

Re:Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (1)

Peahippo (539266) | about 12 years ago | (#4169868)

Unless I'm completely off my sodding nut, the Establishment (what we SubGeniuses call the Conspiracy) loves such expressions of contempt for all the defusing of political energy that they accomplish. That, and voter turnouts dropping even further. Let the public be angry but helpless-feeling little wankers, cooped up in their homes and workplaces, while the real work of world hegemony gets done by the elite (no, not the 1337). Oh, here's another little outlet for all that outrage -- a Flash game called "Kick the Politico Up the Arse". I propose that things like this be called inrages -- designed to keep the outrage firmly up your own backside.

Re:Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (1)

neocon (580579) | about 12 years ago | (#4169876)

there are more black men in prison than in college

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there are more black men in the age range usually seen in prison (say 17-65) then in the age range normally seen in college (say 18-22) too...

Re:Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 12 years ago | (#4169908)

A voting drive? Now where am I going to get the cash for a truckload of "complimentary" cigarettes? []

Re:Oh yeah, the establishment is afraid! (2)

DarkMan (32280) | about 12 years ago | (#4169909)

How much time will you spend on reading a political pamphlet, or listening to a political speech?

Compare this to the amount of time you would spend on a game, with some political content.

If these numbers are the same, then neither is really more effective than the other, on you.

But, I'm willing to wager that for a large number of people, they'd spend more time on the game than the pamphlet. The time spent translates into mindshare. In other words, if people spend a lot of time on an item, they are more likely to tel others about it.

Thus, for many people, they represent a good way to get a message across.

They are _not_ about pursueading many people to vore with them, they are about one issue (every vote must represent a comprimise between many issues). The establishment, to use your term, has always recognised that entertaining policical commenty is a powerful way to show flaws, inconsistancies and disagreement with established figureheads. See Punch, Private Eye, Spitting Image, Brass Eye and so on.

Your argument, based on the fact that there are more productive ways to topple the current political leaders, misses the purpose of this form of political speech. You would replace them wholesale. Satire will cause them to modifiy thier position and statements. These are distinct aims.

How to get geeks to do this? (1)

Tiger (9272) | about 12 years ago | (#4170008)

...Perhaps you could make a social commentary video game where you go into lower class minority neighbourhoods recruiting disenfranchised voters by blowing open their houses and picking up their pixellated arm-waving butts in your helicopter, while dodging bullets being fired at you by the Establishment's tanks, jet fighters and UFOs?

I used to hate flash.... (1)

MjDascombe (549226) | about 12 years ago | (#4169726)

Because of it's bloated transfers, and awkward interface into existing browser structures. However, it recently occoured to me, that this is more because of the fact that Flash is integrated into existing browsers. HTTP really isn't designed for multiple, branched file downloads - 1 compressed file is much more suiting to it. How much better would flash be if it had it's own 'browser' which didn't rely on plugins to include content, and it's own 'http protocol', which cut out all the unneeded crap...

Re:I used to hate flash.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169851)

uhm. well. incorrect. sorry but that's just bs.

Re:I used to hate flash.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169873)

lol. sorry mods, but how you modded this post is just stupid. what is "off topic" about this? Tell me it's insulting and I believe you. Tell me it's too short and I'm ok. Tell me it sucks and i'll accept it. but it's not OT, it directly replies to the parent post!
suckers :)

Hello! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169853)

I read your post, OK, and I thought to myself, "What the RED FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? "

Not exactly a new idea. (1)

gleffler (540281) | about 12 years ago | (#4169728)

Sure, they make games for political commentary. Using something originally intended for entertainment to send a political viewpoint was especially popular in communist Russia, where criticizing the government was forbidden -- so there was a case of a famous playwright (the name is escaping me), who made his plays social commentary hidden through clever metaphors. It was, of course, apparent to the audience what was going on, just like it is in these games.

Surely, that does also show how our society continues catering to the lowest common denominator - instead of having an intelligent debate about something, we'll make a pretty game about it. The endless dumbing down of homo sapiens.


A good trend (2, Interesting)

octalgirl (580949) | about 12 years ago | (#4169731)

After all, courts have recently been arguing that video games cannot be protected speech; these games make it patently obvious that this view is insane."

I have been noticing this trend. There is a little Tinsel Town video on that demonstrates this. I hope it continues to catch on so the courts will realize how foolish it is NOT to protect the artistic, educational, often useful (math blasters/diet programs/financial) and thought provoking programs ppl can come up with.

Re:A good trend (2)

iangoldby (552781) | about 12 years ago | (#4169795)

After all, courts have recently been arguing that video games cannot be protected speech; these games make it patently obvious that this view is insane.

Alternatively, it could just be that these games are not really a form of social comment after all.

Flashing the fan fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169736)

Flash is very important, it's important to the new breed of fans out there who are bored of docile culture and require more than the usual dose of visual entertainment. I'm talking about fandoms, those that live within Hollywood movies, comic books, Japanese animation, popular fantasy (scifi, fantasy and mystery). I'm speaking of the group that is largly female, mostly white, and middle class. Henry Jenkins labeled this group as "Textual Poachers" (:Television fans & participatory culture) in the book of of the same name, written in 92. This book un-arugubly the definite guide to fandom as defined. I believe Flash would be what would move these fans from the confines of their comic books and tv sets to the Internet. Hopefully, the geek culture (That mostly involves women), would one day migrate to the fringes of the Internet and entertain bored men who use it just for stocks and reading romance novels. HOPEFULLY.

Re:Flashing the fan fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169783)

I don't understand why most schools try to teach upper English classes with this book. The book is WRONG (as you've satrized very creatively). The culture that he described is the Geek culture (maybe he didn't have enough sources to steal from, since it was written before Internet became popular, and the fact he based it observing his wife and deduced all geeks are women). This is insane, I spent a whole Anal English class arguing with the retarded prof that the culture described in the book is wrong and that since the first paragraph of the book is wrong, so is the rest of the book. For god's sake the guy thinks humor involves Spock having sex with Shattner (which is called / -- slash). Slash dot would mean dots having sex with dots btw. (Slash means same sex characters in scifi (and so on), having sex, he finds it amusing geeks tend to aruge and debate about this). Like how Taco has sex with Hemos, after Hemos did the Goatse. See. Where is female slash then?

Re:Flashing the fan fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169813)

Good lord, I just had my English class and we are using that book. I don't understand why this book is so highy regarded. The guy is trying to map the demography of (what could be said, slashdot types) geeks I guess. But, the whole thing is shatterd, cause he doesn't do his research well and start up stating that most of the Anime loving, scfi/fatnasy nerds are FEMALE. As another followup said, I too found this bizzare, and immeditatly aruged with our professor (who is a woman btw), and she stuck to the book like a rusty nail.

Re:Flashing the fan fiction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169833)

So, um...

Does this 96 % of all Slashdot is females ?? Every single one of them interested in f/f (female slash female).

Remember the scene in Ghost in the Shell, when she takes a dive and then comes out of the sea and kisses her reflection, well if you press UP/DOWN/DOWN/DOWN/LEFT/LEFT on the DVD, this scene is followed by the censored lesbian scene on the boat. It's quite neat. OH that's female slash too BTW. Flashed too! Imagine that.

rejected story: osdn closing sites! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169745)

OSDN closed today FreeCode [] , one of their sites. /. rejected the story about it... what do you think about this? Is /. the next one closing the door?

God, I hope so. Also, I hope baseball disappears. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169848)

I'm crossing my fingers hoping this worthless waste of bandwidth known as Slashdot will vanish like my poop down a toilet.

Way to advertise your story! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169746)

And way to give this moron free advertising, slashdot!

You Missed XBill (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 12 years ago | (#4169748)

I think Xbill is a perfect example of the genre. I like to play it just after having to troubleshoot a windows 2000 machine. I have 35 linux machines and 4 windows 2000 machines on our network. 80% of my administration chores go to support those 4 machines. I'm not a full time admin, I'm a developer at this rate if we ditch the Win2k and go 100% linux, I could still support up to 100 machines part time. Xbill is my game!!!!!

Dear sir (-1, Flamebait)

WankerInformation (604938) | about 12 years ago | (#4169928)

I must inform you that you are, in fact, a wanker.

Wanker Information Services (inc)

Protected Speech Doesnt realy exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169751)

According to the US Supreme Court they can selectivly restrict *any* speech as they see fit.

The first admendment really is just a ruse to make people *think* they have rights...

Re:Protected Speech Doesnt realy exist (1)

neocon (580579) | about 12 years ago | (#4169898)

Can you provide any backing for this claim?

No, of course not, you're just blowing hot air.

First flash political game? (1)

illtud (115152) | about 12 years ago | (#4169753)

The first I remember was Urban 75 [] 's (Hi Mike!) slap-a-politician game in '97 (around the same time as their infamous slap-a-spice-girl). But in this [] google post, Mike says he nicked the idea from a US site - anybody know what it was?

More to the point, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169915)

anyone care?

Urban75 - dodging soap while listening to low-quality dance music since 1997, eh?

Gentle ribbing (2, Funny)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 12 years ago | (#4169755)

But that's missing the point. What's happening here is nothing less than the emergence of the online video game as a form of social comment -- something you dash off in a couple of hours to make a sardonic political point about something. It's a new notepad for communication.

Whoa, settle down Katz, their just games ;P

Re:Gentle ribbing (2)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 12 years ago | (#4169791)

er, they're, not their

Great, now all you're grammer skill are rubbing of on me, thanks a lot guys!

Slashdot needs a spellchecker :)

Re:Gentle ribbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4170030)

I think the point is more the protected speech thing, rather than the importance of their commentary to you.

a valid legal point I thought

Good Lord (5, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | about 12 years ago | (#4169764)

Someone, somewhere has cloned Jon Katz.

Wish I had the address... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169787)

I have been trolling a yahoo chat "room" for a few months now. It's full of right and left wing hatemongers. They rag on each other 24/7. Some guy has been recording them and making flash cartoons. He picks on the liberals. So many people called to complain the provider pulled the cartoon. He was able to move it to a provider in England, hoping the phone calls would be to expensive to complain.

Disagree with premise (1)

memfree (227515) | about 12 years ago | (#4169790)

From the article: These games aren't trying to get you hooked or make your thumbs sore. They're trying to make you think.

I don't think the games are trying to make anyone think. I think they are a byproduct of tech guys feeling hatred at an enemy, and choosing to make games rather than pick up a gun and fight.

It might be interesting to think about our culture as reflected in this trend, but thinking is (IMO) an unintended by-product.

Corrupt Politicians (1)

C0deJunkie (309293) | about 12 years ago | (#4169792)

...the emergence of the online video game as a form of social comment...

Does it mean that the next "killer app" (al least here in italy) will be "Hunt for the Corrupt Deputy" or (thinkin' about their side) "Escape from the Jail"??

Didn't it start as PUNCH The Spice Girls? (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 12 years ago | (#4169805)

I seem to recall a time a year or two back when the "in" thing was to have a flash "game" on your website called "PUNCH THE (fill in pop-culture target here)"- wether it was teh Spice girls, or the backstreet boys, or NYSNC* (yeah that's right!). So the current trend of Polititcally charged flash games are a riff on a riff!

Regardless I think this is nothing new. Comedy works best when it takes a spin on reality (as a friend of mine said, its the gradient of a society)- yes its an oversimplification but thats its point. It elicits a view by reducing a topic down to a short soundbyte, forcing the audience to "reconcile" this oversimplification.

It helps that these games are easy to create, much like a one strip cartoon. Since they are quick to make they can remain topical and quickly be "thrown away" a few weeks later.

Re:Didn't it start as PUNCH The Spice Girls? (1)

yakovlev (210738) | about 12 years ago | (#4169861)

Anyone remember getsadam.exe?

Now that was some fine political commentary. :)

Nothing new (4, Insightful)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 12 years ago | (#4169816)

Many would argue that a lot of games have always been a form of social commentary - not just cheap flash ones. Most "art" is.

Fallout, Civilization, Alpha Centauri, GTA, etc...

(Disclaimer: Haven't read the article yet, this may be completely redundant - if it is, mod me to oblivion :)

One social commentary game... (5, Funny)

Chagatai (524580) | about 12 years ago | (#4169825)

that has grabbed my attention is Dance Dance Karnov [] . This game has changed the way I think about fat, naked, Russian, ex-carnival persons in our society. For example, what is the impetus of having large sweaty men wear tassles on their nipples? How would the size of a mutant Godzilla-fish thing impact the stock market? This requires further analysis.

EFF's game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169826)

this one really sucks. Not cause of the motivation or the aim, but as a game it sucks more than the "anti terrosism" games I hate so much. (What has hitting Osama to do with "anti terrorism"? That's just childish and naive!)

I got jypped! (3, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 12 years ago | (#4169830)

"WTO-style New York Defender"

And here I was hoping I got to run around in riot gear beating tree-hugging hippies senseless... I call false advertising on this one!

Advertising? (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | about 12 years ago | (#4169845)

I can't believe slashdot has become a forum for those in the know, and with connections, to shamelessly plug their articles and websites. Blech!

Informative? I think so!!! (1)

jsonmez (544764) | about 12 years ago | (#4169855)

Do not click on that second link if your at work. Especially if your boss is near. One word..... "ITPOPSUPAPORNWINDOW"

Funniest "Political Commentary" Game I've seen (1)

TimeTrip (254631) | about 12 years ago | (#4169859)

Based on flash/shockwave....
Elian Deportation []

Or for those of you afraid of infection (1)

TimeTrip (254631) | about 12 years ago | (#4169925)

If you're worried that the exectuable might be infected with some sort of virus... here is the official location:

Elian Deporation []

Commentary? (1)

bytesmythe (58644) | about 12 years ago | (#4169864)

How exactly are these games political commentary?

Having a silly shoot-'em-up where you shoot "evil terrorists" isn't a commentary at all. Commentary points things out. Commentary presents a view. Commentary is intended to make people think.

These games do not have the subtlety of a good political cartoon. Hell, even a bad political cartoon (such as you might see in USA Today *shudder*) makes more of a statement than "I wanna beat up Bin Laden".

The best example of a political cartoon in Flash form are the "Napster Bad!" line of cartoons [] on Camp Chaos. The one with Sheryl Crow and Nutty McShithead ("MP3s: Good or Goblin") is hilarious.

In other news (1)

stud9920 (236753) | about 12 years ago | (#4169865)

Slashdot, subdivision of VA Software, no longer content to "slashdot" cheap html+jpg websites, changed their business model. Now they crash heavily loaded flash sites.

CEO Rob Malda commented : "yes, with the diminishing eployment, less techies have less occasions to waist [sic] corporate time on websurfing so banner income stagnated. So we had to cut costs and involve much simpler slashdottings"

linus torvalds is my hero in brown goo! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169875)

i woke up yesterday with a lumpy sensation in my sexy ass. i knew i had to take a shit. oh yes i knew i did but what i wanted was the opposite. i walked to the toilet to do my morning routine, if indeed what i did could be considered routine! :)

you see, my toilet has no toilet bowl. just a shower tray and a pail! so you must be wondering where i get my water from and how i shower. i recycle of course!

by this time the nigger in my ass was banging on my ass door demanding to be let out and i consented with a sigh. i cupped my hands under my ass and relaxed my spinchter and i let the smelly nigger squirm out into my inviting hands. oh this was getting me mighty horny! i took the shit and plopped it on my face and i let the brown and sticky nigger turds slide slowly down my double chinned throat and onto my smelly and sticky man-tits with the saucer-sized nipples. oh the sensation and smell was killing me! i so very much wanted to eat it but i would save that for later. more niggers were trying to get out!

i dragged the much-used pail over and released my shipload of smuggled nigger slaves into the port. oh the size of those turds! i had been saving them up for a week mind you...i had never seen so much shit in my life! i released my bladder and the stinky yellow mountain dew gave the dirty niggers a good shower and the combined smell was overpowering! i so very much wanted to stick my totempole of throbbing and pulsating manhood which i had just recently installed the latex version of linux (with the kernel compared with my own balls! am i proud of that! compiled my own kernel! oh boy!) and feel the warmness of my own shit.

finally push came to shove and probe came to thrust and i jammed the full 20 inches of my purple open source apache 2.0 totem pole into the mess of unwashed niggers and i fucked it for all i had! i could feel the corn and see the shreds of veggie in my turds and i knew they loved it! the friction and warmness was exquisite and i came and came and came and came, my BSD balls serving every hit with a load of creamy html cum.

now for the grand finale. i stood in the shower tray (which had no shower) and i revelled in the glory of what was about to happen. i had to make it last as long as possible until my next cleansing! i lifted the pail to chest-height, closed my eyes, put the pail to my lips, and i drank the essence of myself. but just a bit, mind you. without much ado, i lifted the pail higher, and dumped the entire pail full of squirming open-source niggers and dumped it over my head and the sticking, gooey, beef stew poured over all 300 pounds of me. i lapped up as much of it as i could, knowing how much the people i was visiting later would like it.

well, to cut things short i was the star of the ball, so to speak when i attended the next OSDN conference still covered with shit and wearing an undersized lace teddy with mary janes. everyone was drooling over me and linus torvalds himself later tied me up in the bathroom and took a shit on me! oh i was soooooooooo touched i tell you. yesterday, was indeed a day which will live in infamy. god bless. i wish jesus would take a shit on me himself. *sniffle*

Analogy (5, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | about 12 years ago | (#4169877)

Printing Press
is to Newspaper as Flash SDK is to Flash Program
In my humble opinion, it's just another method of providing content to a viewer. Not everything printed in on paper is protected speach, just as not everything found on the internet is protected.

Suppose I make a game where the goal is to go around shooting politicians; its just as poor taste if I decided to print "paper dolls" of the pol's along with text encouraging you to cut them into pieces. What is the point that you are trying to make in either case?

But, suppose I wrote a game called "Fur Fighters" where the object is to throw cans of paint on people wearing furs? Thats much more aligned with a political message...

In short, its not the delivery medium that matters, it all comes down to the value of the content.

Re:Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169945)

If you wrote a game called 'Fur Fighters' you'd be infringing on trademarks.

There already is a game called 'Fur Fighters', a rather fun spoof about militant teddy bears, and other stuffed animals.

The original was for Dreamcast, the sequel for PS2.

A pre-Flash example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169880)

An XPilot map about the Mad Cow Disease scandal. []

re: michael (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | about 12 years ago | (#4169884)

In response to yesterday's michael bashing, I'd like to point out that the eff DRM game was quite interesting and a good inclusion.

How did you score?

karma whore by design.

christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169890)

stfu, people .. the political cartoon has been
around forever .. how is this any different?

just because you can put a cat in an oven, that
don't make it a biscuit

"Free speech' is an illusion (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 12 years ago | (#4169900)

According to the US Supreme Court they can selectivly restrict *any* speech as they see fit.

This makes the first admendment, and perhaps the whole constitution null and void.

At the least its being violated right and left by our so-called leaders. And the public is FOR this.

Dont you people see it ? When will you finally get sick of it all and say NO.. Its time to stand up and stop this before its too late..

Re:"Free speech' is an illusion (1)

neocon (580579) | about 12 years ago | (#4169955)

Do you have any backing for your claim?

No, of course not, you're just blowing hot air.

Re:"Free speech' is an illusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169961)

The supreme court allowed child porn to fall under free speech, so long as it doesnt involve actual children.

Who's rights are they taking away?

If what you said was true, NAMBLA and moronic hate groups like the KKK would be the first to fall. You're small potatoes, your views are two simplistic to offend anyone.

not only games...but websites as well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169905)

look at slashdot...neowin...e-review []

porno links (1)

bberg (516819) | about 12 years ago | (#4169907)

thanks for the porno link. I'm at work and I clicked on the war on terrorism link and got a couple porno popups. Thanks slashdot.

Keep it up slaves ! We're laughing all the way ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169919)

You just keep on making fun little satires
of your politicians now, kids (while being
denied your rights in the courts by fossilized establishment judges)!

"Games" are the next big medium for propaganda,
be it commercial or political.

The games industry made $37 billion last year
(whining about piracy all the way of course).
You think this is still just playing around ?!?

Meanwhile, as long as certain people can keep sipping the champagne by the swimming pool and farting in the face of the people they are supposed to represent, everything will go on as before.

"Games? Political? Oh look how the ordinaries
are amusing themselves! How rude!
Now pass me the Dom Perignon, biatch!!"

But flash is proprietary!?!? (0)

newestbob (589866) | about 12 years ago | (#4169933)

How can /. endorse it? It would be like plugging Internet Explorer DHTML games, wouldn't it?

The *best* shockwave file (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169937)

Right here. []

The Slashdot Flash Movie (2)

RhetoricalQuestion (213393) | about 12 years ago | (#4169958)

is here. []

Friend of mine pointed me to this one a while back... There's 2 more in the series, but this is my favourite.

you people don't know when to quit do you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4169964)

Please, please don't /. the poor Newgrounds site their already horrid server never was designed to handle extreme traffic. oh whoa .

I wrote... (3, Interesting)

tuxedo-steve (33545) | about 12 years ago | (#4169979)

... a little game as a protest (of sorts) against the Australian government's policy on, uh, unsolicited refugee landings. For what it's worth (which isn't much, given my game design skills), it can be found here [] .

Who says code isn't speech?

Lack of historical perspective (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 12 years ago | (#4170007)

This is an example of what I think of as "Wired journalism". Everything is new, exciting, revolutionary. No historical perspective is given - there is no historic continuum, everything is a new. Of course in the real world very few things are a revolution, things change slowly, most ideas have been around for centuries but every new generation thinks it's got all the good ideas.

Where is the wise analysis from journalists with a historical perspective and knowledge outside their tiny specialisms? I'm getting bored of all this sensationalist stuff.

Sept 11 - a repeat!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4170013)

After all of this fuss regarding the prevention of a repeat of Sept 11, I just looked at the calendar for this year and saw that they had another planned!

When will people learn??


Slow news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4170032)

This merits mention? NEWSFLASH!! Politics used as hook for entertainment!

Oh Your God

Somebody call FoxNews!

What's the matter? No linux driver annoucements? No advances in adult diapers or something new and improved by adding caffine?


Slashdot allowing shameless self-promotions??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4170033)

Or at least, that's what I argued in this piece in Slate today

I hardly think it appropriate for the author of an article to submit something to Slashdot. Of course the person who writes it is going to think it's relevant *cough*Jon Katz*cough*, but the test of relevancy is if someone else suggests (gasp, dare I say it? a "reader") the article.

In fact, a better test of relevancy is not if one person submits the story to the slashdot editor queue, but if several people submit the same story.

an author submitting his own story here smacks too much of self-promotion and vanity press. (Lowercase v there, as in self-published books, not uppercase V as in Vanity, the magazine.)

Might not be a game but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4170038)

I've found [] a really entertaining site!

My favorite is "How the Bush stole Christmas". A must see!
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