January 12, 2008

Get Fat on Monday

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 11:36 am
Poster for Fatworld

Ian Bogost announces a Monday launch date for the new Persuasive Games title Fatworld (funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). It looks to be a far cry from exergaming — and from the constant bemoaning that “kids aren’t getting outside because they spend all their time on those darn video games.” While the game’s not out yet, we can get an intriguing sense of its procedural rhetoric from the Fatworld page on the Persuasive Games site. Rather than simply telling people what they should do, it aims to expose the fact that “our culture and environment are actually structured to discourage healthy habits.”

It looks pretty juicy! I’m excited to see a game on a social/political topic that appears interestingly complex, rather than like a single-idea minigame. I’ll also be interested to see how the PG team has managed to integrate meal planning, exercise minigames, a restaurant management simulation, a character health/development dimension, and game elements engaging government, healthcare, and merchandising. Of course, given its level of ambition and controversial subject matter, I’m sure we won’t all agree — but I’m pretty sure we’ll find ourselves talking about Fatworld.

3 Responses to “Get Fat on Monday”

  1. David Surman Says:

    I need to play the game, and the cynic in me wonders to what degree Bullfrog’s classic Theme Park contained and took further the same critique, albeit implicitly rather than so explicitly, when the scale of your park and quantities of consumers reached a fevered tipping point. Vomit covered walkways and oversized burger bars stood side by side with toilet cubicles and roller-coasters as space became a premium. The endgame, where the false economy of substituting old for new simply compounded the problems of the decadently overburdened park, and each level could be ‘won’ in a manner where burgeoning profit margins underscored a horrific Brugel-esque scene of consumer disdain :)



  2. David Surman Says:

    I meant that more comparatively than critically; it’s still certainly always exciting to see this material being made though — cant wait to play it! dx

  3. noah Says:

    David, I certainly assumed that’s how you meant it. I can’t imagine anyone thinking comparisons with Brugel and Bullfrog could be anything but an implied compliment — as well as marking out an interesting direction for future comparison. I look forward to hearing your further thoughts once we can all make our way to Fatworld.

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