October 14, 2004

Casa de Cambio

by Nick Montfort · , 5:10 pm

From the gaming house of Gonzalo Frasca comes the first political videogame for a non-U.S. presidential election, the election in Uruguay: “Cambiemos” (Let’s Change.)

Frasca's Cambiemos“Cambiemos” is a short, positive game that is both fun and seems to be good at expressing political principles: rebuilding is important, rebuilding takes work and cooperation, you have to be perceptive as you work, … even “you can fix your mistakes if you have time,” I think. It’s not a Boalian system for working out people’s political approaches through play – and unless Boal runs for office again, I don’t think any political campaign would pay for Gonzalo to whip up one of those – but it is something else that’s pretty interesting. I have to admit that like it better than the Dean game, which was more of a campaign volunteer’s manual than an interestingly-presented political statement. “Cambiemos” is easy to play, not being fast-paced at all. It also has good gameplay, and is aesthetically pleasing, making good use of black-and-white and color images.

The game was announced on Ludology.org and mentioned on Elastico (in Spanish). You don’t need to know Spanish to play the (self-explanatory) game. It has sound, so this is another one you should unmute for, here. Gonzalo’s announcement provides some political context.

One Response to “Casa de Cambio”

  1. andrew Says:

    Fun! I’ll be interested to hear the feedback Gonzalo & team get on this, regarding the election there in Uruguay. Like you say Nick, it’s pretty upbeat and positive, which is great, yet without a controversial edge to it, will it attract attention? I like to believe a game that’s fun and uplifiting will attract attention, and therefore communicate its political message, without needing to be overly controversial. I’m not at all familiar with Uruguayan politics, so for all I know, this political game will be effective in that political climate. (I didn’t play more than level 1 of Cambiemos, so I don’t know if the images get more contentious as the game progresses.)

    In the U.S., I’d guess such a happy game about election year issues would probably go fairly unnoticed? Not to mention a seriously cute political game — a bit less happy-looking but still cute, more serious, however perhaps not obviously controversial in a way that would attract me to take the time to play. I have to admit I haven’t played Take Back Illinois yet, because I only have 2 minutes of free time as I take a coffee break at work (plus 5 minutes to blog about it ;), and am guessing anything deeper than Cambiemos will take too much time to play, but that’s just my overworked self, hopefully not how others feel.

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