Videogames of the oppressed: Videogames as a means for critical thinking and debate
G. Frasca. Georgia Institute of Technology, Master's thesis, (2001)
This thesis examines the potential of videogames as a medium for
fostering critical thinking and discussion about social and personal problems.
This analysis focuses on simulation as a representational form, which unlike
others such as narrative, creates models that not only display the characteristics
of the source system, but also reproduce its behavior by means of a set of rules.
Therefore, videogames have the potential to represent reality not as a collection
of images or texts, but as a dynamic system that can evolve and change.
After studying how the process of interpretation functions in simulations, I
propose to adapt the basic elements of the work of drama theorist Augusto Boal
into videogame design. Boal created a set of techniques for participative theater
that raises the spectators’ awareness about their reality and encourages
personal and social change.
I propose two examples of how these goals could be attained by using
videogames. One is based on a popular videogame that simulates suburban life.
By modifying its design, I suggest ways for players to deconstruct the
simulation’s ideological assumptions and discuss alternative constructions that
reflect their personal opinions. The second, uses videogame design in order to x
allow players to present their personal problems as unresolved simulations that
will be shared and discussed among peers.