March 16, 2009
Developed by members of the Tiltfactor Lab and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Game Design and Development program, LAYOFF is an examination of the current financial scandal.
In the game, players take on play from the side of management needing to cut jobs, and match types of workers in groups in order to lay the workers off and increase workforce efficiency. During the game play, players eliminating many workers in a row find financiers and bankers taking the place of working class jobs. The financiers in this game cannot face layoffs. Play the game at http://www.tiltfactor.org/layoff.
LAYOFF was designed using the Values At Play curriculum materials, which can be used to design activist games or simply novel games with unusual mechanics. The key to the project is a focus on human values in games. The game has an unsettling feeling. It is cute and fun to play, but in this particular context and with this particular content, the game in fact functions as a dark portent.