Water Cooler Games has an interesting story about documentary games (or docu-games), such as Escape from Woomera a Half-life mod designed as a direct critique of Australia’s inhumane detention centres; Waco Resurrection that revisits the 1993 Waco tragedy, and the controversial JFK Reloaded. Ian Bogost, the author of the post, points to Cindy Poremba’s blog for more information on the topic, to which she is devoting her Ph.D. research (PDF of her research proposal).
Bogost also mentions a new game that MIGHT belong to the genre. Paris Riots is a mod of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault in which the player is invited to take side in the simulation of last year’s civil unrest in France. The game uses real-world photography and video as a supplement to the game. Its author, Sylvain Gaillard, a French art graduate, has been violently criticized by the national press who took the game very seriously. However he explained to blog-territorial that it’s exactly the role of the media that he wanted to denounce in the game, the game “shouldn’t be taken so seriously,” he said. “I don’t want to transmit any political message, be it anti-police or anti-youth from the suburbs. My aim is to make people think, to get the debate.”
Back to docu games: Cindy Poremba’s gives a comprehensive list of them in her research proposal (PDF):
– Engeli, Maia and Nina Czegledy. Medieval Unreality, aimed at initiating an artistic discourse on Albania’s “Blood Feud”. lindart.org, 2003.
– Escape from Woomera Collective. Escape from Woomera. (unpublished).
– Gearbox Software. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, eight days in the lives of a group of paratroopers separated from each other during the invasion of Normandy. San Francisco, CA: Ubisoft Entertainment, 2005.
– Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Eyewitness about the Nanking massacre. (unpublished).
– Imaginary Productions. Snapshot invites players to take a stance on the events and happenings within a vibrant contemporary urban community. (forthcoming).
– JFK Reloaded to play the role of JFK’s assassin. Glasgow, Scotland: Traffic Games, 2004.
– Kuma|War. New York, NY: Kuma Reality Games, 2003.
– La Compagnie. aux2mondes (unpublished).
– Under Ash (Tahta al-Ramad) about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Damascus, Syria: Afkar Games, 2005.
– Under Siege (Tahta al-Hisar) revolves around the life of young Ahmed who’s involved in the Intifada of 2000. Damascus, Syria: Afkar Games, 2001 (interview with the developers).
– Waco Resurrection. Los Angeles, CA: C-Level, 2003.