liberty leading the people

Systems thinking reveals the weaknesses of the current American revolution

Revolution is a big word these days. We’re hearing about it a lot on social media, on all things, but its use in modern times is always tinged with the recent memory of the Arab Spring, and before it the color revolutions and aftereffects of the Revolutions of 1989. Now it has crept into American politics with the 2016 election season. Nicky Case, who has previously worked with systems thinking, recently blogged about their attempt to dissect what actually happens in revolutions, through systems thinking. These outcomes would be revolutionary if they were possible The word “revolution” has been widely…


Bloc by Bloc aims to be the board game for modern revolution

The Earth has seen her fair share of revolutions in the last decade. We have watched them on our televisions, followed them on Twitter, witnessed them both in our hometowns and impossibly far away. In such a tumultuous period they often seem inescapable, but unless they were brought directly to your door, they are also usually preserved pristinely behind a computer screen. The reality of the action has a hard time crossing the border between activists on the street and spectators at home. Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, by Out of Order Games and now on Kickstarter—described as “semi-cooperative…


Anarcute puts a friendlier face on revolution and rioting

Punk music. Chains. Leather, drugs, mohawks, and spikes. The revolution, at least as far as it’s depicted in films like The Warriors (1979) and comics like The Dark Knight Returns, is often offputting and grotesque. These stereotypical trappings are hardly an accurate representation of real punk culture or political upheaval, of course—featuring teens tagging anarchy symbols on school playgrounds or mugging innocent strangers on their way home from work—but they do work well to create a sensationalized moral panic for a square-jawed Clint Eastwood type to come clean up. Unfortunately, they also raise a question. If the revolution is supposed to be so fringe,…


Influence a revolution from the perspective of a housekeeper

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Sunset (Mac, Windows, Linux)  BY TALE OF TALES  Most games give you a list of chores to do, only they call them missions, and claim you’re saving the world by doing its housekeeping. Yet, no matter how much these games coat your chores in the hero’s journey narrative, it still comes down to “do this” and “talk to that NPC.” Tale of Tales’ Sunset turns this trope on its head, casting you as a literal housekeeper, while the revolution outside your window waxes and…


How do you make a better political videogame? Here’s one idea

If there were an ongoing debate about how best to weave political discourse into a videogame, I’d have to put a vote in for the way Jonas and Verena Kyratzes have always done it. Sure, I’ll give credit to those making short, systems-based games such as the prolific and controversial Molleindustria, but for the most part you only see a surface-level heavy-handedness dive into political issues in the medium. What the Kyratzes do, particularly with their Lands of Dream series of adventure games, is bake the politics into a game’s setting, characters, and story. Importantly, the Kyratzes don’t try to…