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SGS Feature: 'Have A Very Serious Christmas!'

In a seasonal feature for sister site Serious Games Source, Powerful Robot's Gonzalo Frasca talks about bizarre Xmas-themed tradit
In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, as well as their cultural effects, Powerful Robot's Gonzalo Frasca discusses a collection of 'serious' games played by children and adults alike in anticipation for the Christmas holiday. In this excerpt, Frasca explains one particular game involving, of all things, bribery, and how children the world over “learn how to corrupt mythical figures in exchange for presents”: ”In the United States it is common to leave milk and cookies for Santa. In Denmark, however, kids need to bribe the “nisse”, a little gnome who wears a red cap. The nisse is a sort of household spirit that is supposed to help with house chores. However, kids do know that they should remain friends with him if they want to avoid trouble. That is why children must leave him some porridge with butter on Christmas Eve. According to a traditional tale, a girl who was supposed to leave the porridge actually ate it. When the nisse found out, he forced her to dance until she almost died. This tale reminds young Danes that you should never mess with the nisse. Just give him his freakin’ porridge and he’ll bring you some toys. It’s not such a bad deal after all, right?” You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more from Frasca concerning various examples of traditional holiday serious games (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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