Molleindustria's Videogames Mimic Reality

<p>Would you play a game about getting up for work, fighting religious icons, or managing a McDonald&#8217;s?</p>

Anne Louise Korallus-Shapiro

Videogames are no longer just for tuning out, exploring fantasy worlds, or striving to alter your perception with enhanced graphics or motion-tracking cameras that turn your body into a controller. Instead, some are choosing to mimic everyday experiences. Molleindustria is a team of Italian artists, designers, and programmers whose work is transcending the traditional escapism mindset, pushing theoretical boundaries as opposed to technical ones. Their games express pressing social and political ideas, much like our Creator Peter Lee’s games.

Paolo Pedercini, one of the members of the Molleindustria collective, explains during an interview with Culture Jamming: "Our aim is to start a serious discussion about the political implications of videogames and also to produce various, very quick simple games—experimental games—to spread a political message and to criticize the mainstream videogames as a cultural form."

For example, Faith Fighter explores religious tension, Every Day the Same Dream—a monotonous workday—while the McDonald’s Videogame highlights the complications of the fast food industry.

Every Day the Same Dream

Every Day The Same Dream simulates the perpetually gray 9-5 workday that thousands of people traverse through daily. The game's structure is simple: wake up and go to work. The main player is a faceless, almost ghost-like, stick figure. He gets dressed, says goodbye to his wife, and starts his route to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic. He shuffles past his angry boss and then past rows of eerily identical silhouettes typing in cubicles. But when he finds his seat and sits down, the frame shifts right back to his bed the next morning. This explores the unsettling emptiness of routine, and what it's like to get up every morning and face a dreary workday that will only repeat itself tomorrow.

Faith Fighter

This game allows you to battle against the religious figure of your choice: Ganesha vs. God? Muhammad vs. Buddha? You choose. The player uses arrows to punch and kick their opponent, whoever goes down first loses. This game is a humorous take on the very real tension between different religions.

McDonald’s Videogame

McDonald’s Videogame symbolizes the perils of the fast food industry. You are asked to manage the procedural logistics of the company including the livestock, meal production, employee management, and advertising, which as a whole allows the all-too-familiar hamburger to be placed in its packaging and sold to the masses. The graphics are similar to Farmville except instead of cheerfully tending to your farm, you need to decide if you want to genetically modify your plants with more aggressive pesticides or use hormones to fatten your cows—each decision affects the quality of your products but increases productivity. The head farmer, manager of the store, or PR employee notifies you of your options and allows you to decide. The game intends to unveil the hidden processes of the fast food industry.

Check out their website to see and play more of their games.