Monday, May 21, 2007

For the love of gaming....

McDonald’s Videogame

This game was really, really well done. It was easy to play and utilizes the user’s interaction with the game to address the issues that the maker has with the McDonald’s Corporation. The game is separated into 4 sections that the user must simultaneously manage: agriculture, feedlot, fast food restaurant, and McDonald’s headquarters. In agriculture the user must pick sections of land to dedicate to growing feed for the cattle and for raising the cattle. This sometimes means that areas of rainforest must be chopped down. In the feedlot one must decided whether to add industrial waste to the soy fodder for the cows, whether some cows should be exterminated b/c of infection, etc. In the fast food restaurant portion the user must decide how many employees to have, whether they should be rewarded or fired, and so on. In McDonald’s headquarters the user get to decide whether to bribe politicians, use shady advertising techniques, and other irresponsible corporate means to obtain a profit.

I couldn’t stop playing this game because I really wanted to see if there was a way to actually win. That is to say that I ran into so many problems with cattle health, disgruntled employees, etc. in the process of trying to be a responsible corporate entity that I kept bankrupting the company! The game starts in May 2000, and the furthest level that I got to was May 2006. It was impossible to please both the corporate giants as well as to provide a healthy product and look after environmental interests. Financial gain for this corporate giant was compromised and the executives were not pleased…

September 12 Videogame

This game was interesting, but it was a lot less complex than the McDonald’s game. I understand the point that the creators of the game were trying to make about the war on terror, namely, that it is a war in which no one wins and no one loses. However, I feel like their game was a lot less accurate than the McDonald’s game. The previous game provided facts about the industry such as that oftentimes rainforest have to be cleared to make way for production as well as the hormones and animal matter that are added to the cow feed which lead to disease. I felt that that game was extremely informative. However, the simple point and shoot method of eliminating terrorists didn’t take into account military intelligence or the international implications of exterminating such terrorists, even if civilians are killed in the process. Although I think that civilian casualties are something that should absolutely been taken into consideration with regard to war, there was no way to not shoot civilians whereas in real life there could be ways of doing so.

Plan Your Future Park Game

This game teaches the user about the user about planning and building a park in a big city. The different issues it addresses are identifying a location for the park, financing, the purpose of the park (nature or recreation), vehicle traffic, dogs, playgrounds, food/concessions facilities, bathrooms, and issues regarding crime. Whenever I would made a decision about the park, a box would pop up that would tell me about the history of another park which had made a similar decision. What I liked about this game was that it came across as being extremely unbiased. That is to say that the game presented the concerns that would be likely to arise from choosing a certain course, but it ultimately left it up to the user to determine what the best course of action would be. I ended up designing a park that would draw fund from the community as well as local government, would combine both recreational fields as well as areas designated for natural space, no vehicle traffic would be allowed, dogs would be allowed on leashes, there would be a playground and picnic areas, bathroom areas would be maintained, and a number of measures would be taken to ensure that local crime wouldn’t deter the community from the park. Issues that it let me know about that I hadn’t thought about were angry motorists not being able to cut through the park, the fact that bathrooms in parks are extremely hard to keep clean, and that teenagers/seniors would be put off that a playground existed for the young but there wasn’t a specific are for them. This was a very informative game.

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