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Feature: 'Persuasive Games: Designing For Tragedy'

In his latest Persuasive Games column, Ian Bogost looks at the controversial V-Tech Rampage Flash game, which deals with the Virginia Tech tragedy, asking:
In his latest Persuasive Games column, Ian Bogost looks at the controversial V-Tech Rampage Flash game, which deals with the Virginia Tech tragedy, asking: "If V-Tech Rampage offers an example of an unsophisticated, negligent take on the tragedy, what would a thoughtful, conscientious one look like?" In this excerpt, Bogost explains that while time has caused most to turn a blind eye to the controversial game, he believes that V-Tech Rampage should not be so quickly forgotten: ”Today, a month after Lambourn first released the game, discussion of it has all but disappeared. Some might point to this fact in an argument for the game’s insignificance; it spurred little reaction save shock and disapproval. A web forum set up by a third party to discuss the game has logged no more than five total posts. But I do not believe we ought to forget, or hide, or disavow this game.” He later adds: ”As a university professor, I’ve felt the awkward uncertainty of the “Post-VT” academy first-hand. While I surely empathize with the families of the dead, I also often wonder about the surviving faculty at Virginia Tech who had encountered Cho. What kind of guilt must they feel? Is it justified? Term after term, class after class, how does one know for sure that a student is deeply troubled? How deep does it need to be to recommend intervention? What kind of intervention would it be? How do the institutional politics of the university facilitate or impede such actions?” You can now read the complete feature, which includes a more analysis of V-Tech Rampage, as well as the earlier released Super Columbine Massacre RPG, as Bogost wrestles with the question of creating a serious game designed to deal with similar tragic events (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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