So many games, so little time

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  • Where have all the moderate Republicans gone? Well, a bunch of them in and around Chicago are now called Metropolis 2020, and are promoting their regional vision with the latest media, just as Daniel Burnham's followers did with his 1909 plan. So now we have Metro Joe, a collection of ten online quiz games that aims to be breezy and will soon come with eighth-grade curriculum materials. (Sample question: What would a local fish think about changes over the last 15 years -- "Nothing changes," "This place has gotten so empty," or "Gee, I sure am getting a lot of new neighbors"?)

  • John J. Pitney reports at PolySigh that students at Claremont McKenna College "are launching a new internet politics game that could be a neat teaching tool. Fantasy Congress, which is available to anyone, lets players draft members of Congress into 'teams.' As 'team managers,' players get points based on the performance of their the team’s legislation." From the game's web site: "Because Fantasy Congress is running its beta version, you receive points on how far legislation gets in Congress (think passing yards, rushing yards, and touchdowns) when you manage the team." Mmmm, can I draft Nancy Pelosi for next season?

 

  • Out on the frontiers of gaming, Jonathan Rauch describes the long road to truly dramatic real-life gaming (it's in the Atlantic, but you have to subscribe).  He reports finding "Facade" (free download here) way subtler than most games, in which as a rule it's easier to shoot characters than talk with them.  In "Facade," the player visits Grace and Tip, a married couple who are old friends. Rauch enjoyed it but found a few bugs in the system: "When I played as a woman (I could choose my sex) and announced I was pregnant with Trip's child, Grace and Trip thought I was flirting with them." (Some discussion at Grand Text Auto.)

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