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Rhetorics, Simulations and Games: The Ludic and Satirical Discourse of Molleindustria

Gabriele Ferri
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Gabriele Ferri: Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 1, 32-49

Abstract: Oiligarchy (Pedercini (Molleindustria), 2008) and Phone Story (Pedercini (Molleindustria) & Yes Lab, 2011) are two apparently simple games that integrate game-based and simulational components in a wider rhetorical discourse. It is reductive to consider these satires as simple “gamified†pieces: their use of simulations as well as ludic elements is functional to a political rhetoric that cannot be reduced to mindless escapism. Oiligarchy is a piece raising awareness on the dependency of Western societies on oil. It simulates oil-extraction using mathematical models to describe the decline of production rates; it also employs game mechanics to confute the player's initial assumptions and to propose a persuasive message. Phone Story is a playable satire of Apple advertising, simulating the “identity correction†genre adopted by political activists. This piece also features ludic mechanics to create a complex discourse enhancing its satirical effectiveness. These examples show the potentialities of an overlapping between simulation, playful elements and rhetorical persuasion - suggesting their mutual compatibility and stressing the need for further research in this area.

Date: 2013
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