Take This Job And Play It

Games have long played a role in transmitting dominant values and occasionally challenging them. Board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Life reward players for successfully assuming the roles of capitalist entrepreneur, military strategist, and head of a nuclear family. Of course, digital games are no exception. Artists and designers have ventured into the rhetorical and counter-rhetorical possibilities of digital games, resulting in examples like C-Level's 'Waco Resurrection' and Newsgaming.com. And the commercial application of such games isn't being overlooked either. A small Atlanta-based company called Persuasive Games produces games designed for purposes ranging from teaching chemistry to aiding political campaigns to training employees. Their most recent game, 'Disaffected,' is described as an 'anti-advergame' that, like the practice of 'culture jamming,' uses parody to challenge corporate influence on our lives. In the game, players become pixelated employees at a FedEx-Kinkos copy center, trying to keep up with customer orders despite numerous obstacles--mostly, the other employees. One wonders, however, about an 'anti-advergame' that so prominently features a corporate logo and presents the employees as the problem. Who’s really being played? - Ryan Griffis