Water Cooler Games
Water Cooler Games served as the web's primary forum for "videogames with an agenda" — coverage of the uses of video games in advertising, politics, education, and other everyday activities, outside the sphere of entertainment.
The site was maintained at watercoolergames.org
from 2003-2009, where it was edited by myself and Gonzalo Frasca
. It is now archived here in full.
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McCain's Pork Invaders
by Ian Bogost July 11, 2008
As Gonzalo says, not again. Not another Space Invaders clone campaign game. But, alas, it's true: the McCain campaign offers Pork Invaders. It's a game about pork barrel politics, the appropriation of government funds for pet projects or constituents. Thus the pigs, which are indeed very cute. Unlike the bizarre 2004 game Tax Invaders, Pork Invaders' hero is a McCain logo rather than a disembodied head, and it fires vetoes rather than projectiles.
Still, the game is forgettable in all the usual ways. The production value is better than Tax Invaders, but that's not saying much. The metaphor is cute but doesn't cash out in the gameplay (for example, what exactly are the pigs firing down at McCain)? Most of all, it doesn't enact much political speech or policy claims; it's just a cute diversion like most every campaign game has been. If you play, be sure to turn the sound on (it's muted by default). You can find out if pigs squeal when vetoed.