Serious games are a category of games which, in my opinion, tend to get a bad rap. People hear the terms “serious” or “educational” and run in the other direction screaming, and frequently for good reason! Serious games tend to be less fun, as they frequently sacrifice bits of fun in the name of getting their point across.
Not so with the Redistricting Game, a great title that came out of USC a few years back and was developed in part by Chris Swain. In the game you take the role of a congressional gerrymandering panel, trying to carve up states in an effort to get the most votes for your congressman. The game is really fun, I suggest giving it a shot!
Follow the jump for a bit more analysis as to why I think the game succeeds.
Congressional gerrymandering is a super sleazy process, and results in congressmen who are entrenchened in the system and don’t have to represent their constituents. The fact that this is the norm is downright infuriating, and the Redisctricting Game does a great job of getting you mad about it. They even have information for how to contact your gov’t representative to try to initiate change! Very cool!
Beyond that the game is a lot of fun to play. The puns for the congressmen’s names is somewhat amusing, and pushing and pulling lines around to meet critera is a lot of fun. Give it a shot!