Extremely cool, from Kat Stoeffel at NYMag:
The twenty-week gestational limit and clinic-closing abortion restrictions protested by State Senator Wendy Davis and thousands of other Texans are going to make getting an abortion in Texas harder. But how hard? Myst hard? Metal Gear Solid hard? Ninja Gaiden hard? A new choose-your-own-abortion-adventure video game, now seeking funding on IndieGoGo, may soon show us. Called Choice: Texas, it’s the brain child of Carly Kocurek, a Texas native and assistant professor of the history and culture of video games at Illinois Tech, and Allyson Whipple, a Texas poet and the director of the Austin Feminist Poetry Festival.
There will be five female avatars to choose from, two of which you can preview on the pair’s Tumblr. Each woman represents a different level of difficulty, Whipple told Persephone magazine, based on personal obstacles. “None of them have it easy, because even if you have the privilege of money and paid sick days at work, there are still other obstacles to deal with,” she explained. “But certain characters will be much harder than others. The obstacles each character faces (geography, money, time, transportation) will influence what choices a player can make throughout the game.”…
Pretty dam’ cool, from Jesse Singal at the Boston Globe:
If you made a list of the subjects likely to make for a compelling video game, “bureaucracy” would not be near the top.
That’s why “Papers, Please,” a new “Dystopian Document Thriller” by Lucas Pope, instantly piqued my interest. On his website Pope describes the setting of the game: It’s 1982 and “the communist state of Arstotzka has ended a six-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists.”
So that’s it: You work at a checkpoint booth and would-be border-crossers give you their documents and you inspect them, making sure, among other concerns, that the issuing country and city match, that the photo matches the person you’re looking at, and that their documents aren’t expired. The further you go, the more complicated things get — visa restrictions will be put into place after a terrorist attack, for example, or a lagging economy will cause Arstotzka to slow the immigration of foreign labor to a trickle by forcing foreigners hoping to enter to first obtain work permits…
At the end of each day, a simple, stark screen shows you how much money you’ve earned (never all that much), as well as the various financial responsibilities bearing down on you: rent, food, heat, and a seemingly endless parade of relatives in need of medicine. If you’re not careful — that is, if you don’t make enough money — your family members will quickly die. In one early, less-than-stellar playthrough, that’s exactly what happened to me, at which point the game ended and I was notified that Arstotzka values citizens who produce healthy families, and that since I had failed to do that, I would be replaced….
Oh, c’mon, Simon Parkin’s just screwing with us, right, New Yorker?:
… Silver and Krimmel are not the only players who claim to have seen Bigfoot in the virtual forests of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a video game released in 2004 in which players assume the role of a young gang member, Carl Johnson, in a story that draws upon various real-life events in Los Angeles, most centrally the rivalry between the Bloods and Crips street gangs. The game, set in 1992 within the fictional state of San Andreas, a geographical amalgam of California and Nevada, sold more than twenty-seven million copies worldwide. If the game’s developers had included a rare occurrence of a Bigfoot character in the Back o Beyond, occasional sightings from the masses of scouring players would be inevitable. Within months of the game’s release, videos allegedly showing sightings of Bigfoot appeared on YouTube, while viewers debated their authenticity in the comments.
These discussions were muddied when some enterprising fans created a “mod,” or an alternative code that can be downloaded and installed, to insert a fabricated Bigfoot into the game, complicating the hunt for the “real” virtual Bigfoot. Nevertheless, nearly a decade after the game’s release, a number of communities continue to work to prove the authenticity of Bigfoot’s existence in the original game, and devoted users still upload photographs of unusual footprints and other pieces of circumstantial evidence to their Web sites. Silver runs one such site. “Many Web sites make the Bigfoot myth out to be some fan-made story that’s simply gotten out of hand,” he said. “In fact, the staff at the Grand Theft Auto Web site I contributed to at the time didn’t want anything to do with myths, and refused to have them catalogued. Last November, I set out to make the most comprehensive, informative Grand Theft Auto myth site on the Web…”