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The Importance of Political Games

With the Presidential Election only just a month away, it is important to look at the impact of political games on the election as well as how people learn about the election process. While political games of the past have been little more than new renditions of old games which include the faces or views of current politicians, there is a type of political games now gaining popularity. This new type of games emphasizes the election process itself, instead of taking the side of one politician or another. It seems that political games are moving away from, for example, having the player be Mitt Romney and shoot down pieces of paper with the word “Obamacare” on it. Political games are important for citizens in a democracy because of what citizens learn through playing the game. By educating citizens about the democratic process, voters are able to make informed decisions when they go to the voting booth. Since we are given so much power in a democracy, we should use that power intelligently, and vote for things which are truly in our best interest.

Potential presidential candidates have tried in the past to create games which further their political interests by being for, or against, certain political views. Indeed, this model still exists today. One only needs to go to to see the adaptation of Nintendo’s Super Mario world into a politically motivated game designed to get votes. With the same graphic style and game play as the original, Super Obama World simply places Barack Obama in the place of Mario and replaces the original story and game play elements with things that related to the candidate. Being more of a political advertisement, this game doesn’t educate the player about the political process.

In addition to educating the player about the political process, political games should be about educating the player about the issues that are at stake and letting the player make a conscious decision. That is why many of the quality political games are tailored to be used in a classroom environment. For example, the game suite iCivics, at, has many flash based games which help students learn about the government and its processes. There is a section on the site for teachers, and all of the games are completely free.

For the rest of this month we will take a look at some of the political games that are more designed to inform, rather than place an opinion about a candidate subconsciously into the players mind. What is even more desirable about these games which place an emphasis on the education of the election process is that, for the most part, they are quality games that are free.

It may be difficult to say exactly what the desired goals for political games are. Should they be created in order to subconsciously implement an opinion about a candidate into a potential voters head? Should they be created in order to make money? Or, as I believe, political games should be created in order to help the player make conscious decisions about issues that effect her/him most?

What do you think the role of political games be? Should political games be just glorified political ads, like Super Obama World? Should political games be used in the education process to help people learn about the political process? Can these two types of games co-exist? Let us know!