This is Fine: #ResistJam and the 2016 Election in Gaming
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Type of Work10 pages
conference papers and proceedings
Citation of Original PublicationSalter, A., & Blodgett, B. M. (2017). This is fine: #ResistJam and the 2016 election in gaming. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, 1-10.
The 2016 US election brought with it a torrent of related media and responses, thanks to the combination of the intense political divide and the turmoil and upheaval of the nation following the surprising results. We will examine selected games from the months preceding and immediately following the historic outcome of November 8, 2016, focusing on the games created during the March event #ResistJam which called for contributors to create “games that resist oppressive authoritarianism in all its forms.” Joshua and Karen Tanenbaum proposed a theory of transformative play, which “supports a process of empathic identification with a new point-of-view or lived experience” . Pre- and Post-Trump games, situated in the months leading up to and immediately following the election results, demonstrate not only transformative play but cathartic play, or the use of games as part of a process of emotional release and expression as part of sharing current struggles and challenges. We propose that combining these two types of play (transformative and cathartic) suggests new possibilities for how we understand personal games as providing new mechanisms for shared emotional experiences.