Flash Games as Political Cartoons?

December 22, 2008

Amazon’s Game Room Blog recently did a piece on viewing flash games as political cartoons. With about 5,000 flash games out now depicting the George W. Bush shoe throwings, I can see why someone might tend to see flash games like that in the same vein as political cartoons. I think the writer of the article is taking things a little too seriously though.

They were instead designed to capture the moment, and immortalize it from a particular point of view that people in this particular time can appreciate, or at least recognize

Wrong. The majority of flash games depicting real life events are not made to “capture a moment.” They are made to make money. Every Bush shoe throwing game I have played has been complete and utter shit. These flash game developers are simply capitalizing off of a current event. Even the developer of the most popular shoe throwing game, Sock and Awe, has stated his intentions.

It was just a bit of fun, a bit of an experiment. It’s actually turned out to be a useful fundraising exercise for our start-up, which is good given the present economic circumstances.

Sock and Awe was sold on eBay about four days after its release for almost $8,000. In some of the other games I have played, the ad space is almost bigger than the game window. I have no problem with this, because people do need to make money, but I don’t think flash games are anywhere near the realm of political cartoon. There is no concern or attention paid to why the shoe is being thrown. The plight of Iraq’s citizens goes unheard, because the Western world thinks that shoe throwing is just plain hilarious. Games like this don’t care why a shoe was thrown, they just seek to make a quick advertising buck off the event.

When a political cartoon is created, it is not simply documenting an event as much as it is documenting an opinion on an event. Political cartoons are meant to persuade the viewer. Political flash games are designed to persuade the viewer into clicking an ad. There is no legitimate social commentary in today’s flash games, so they should not be viewed as political cartoons, or anything similar.

3 Responses to “Flash Games as Political Cartoons?”

  1. First of all, very cool blog. 🙂

    I’m not very aware of the community around flash games; I can’t remember ever even playing one… But do you know of any notable flash games that are political? There must be some. I know the US army put out their game, why not a few games from the Socialist party or whoever else? 🙂

    Also, 8k for a flash game? wow, I had no idea anyone would buy them, but I guess any space you can cram some more ads is valuable…

  2. There really isn’t a whole lot of thought put into most flash games, and I’m not aware of very many with an actual political agenda. PETA did make one that I blogged about last month (https://theblackmask.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/peta-to-begin-making-video-games/).

    Flash games are big bucks nowadays, and that is exactly why. You can put adds inside the flash game and on the page all around it.

  3. […] game is a lame George W. Bush shoe throwing game. I have ripped on these in the past, but it was a simple concept that I could throw together to test the […]

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