Last week, PETA released Pokemon: Black and Blue, an online parody game that paints the Pokemon as oppressed animals kept in their Pokeballs by blood-spattered trainers who only bring them out to perform like circus elephants.
This isn't the first game made to promote a cause, protest injustice, or even satirize the status quo in the past couple of years. Of the ones on this list, some deliver their statement well, and some go over the top, but all of them make you think.
Super Tanooki Skin 2D: Pokemon: Black and Blue isn't the first time PETA has attacked Nintendo. This game, released last year, protests the way Mario in the games can wear Tanooki, or "raccoon dog" skins to give him extra powers like flight and the ability to turn into stone. The Tanooki, a Japanese animal that is—according to PETA—"skinned alive" for its fur. You play a naked Tanooki trying to reclaim its skin from a flying Mario dripping blood.
Cow Clicker. This facebook app satirized games like FarmVille, and in the game you do just what the name says—click on cows. You can click on your cow once every six hours, and announce to Facebook when you do. You can pay money to be able to click on your cow more often.
McDonald's Videogame: In this baseline exposé of McDonald's modus operandi, the player goes all the way from clearing rainforest for crops in South America to feeding cows hormones in the feedlot to running the restaurant to keeping the corporate headquarters running. Oh yeah, and did we mention you can do fun things like corrupt climatologists?
Sweatshop: This game protests pretty much exactly what you would think: you run a third-world clothing factory and you can do fun things like hire children.
Freedom Bridge: This is less a game than a piece of interactive artwork portraying the situation between North and South Korea. It's pretty impactful, especially if you wait till after the game ends.
Phone Story: A mobile phone app that takes you through the iPhone's creation, from work camps in the Republic of the Congo to suicide-ridden factories in China to the Apple store, and then to the Republic of Ghana where poor salvage old and broken models. There's a lot of points that are hard to concede on this one—for instance, the credibility of one level hinges completely on the word "probably"—but it gets you thinking about where your smartphone came from.
Do you like any of these games?