It's a two-way mirror
#3083 Created 01/29/2012 Updated 10/07/2014
Gabe Zichermann writes: The idea of a game is more important than the implementation of the game. Often this idea is based on our familiarity with the form of a game, which is why there are so many Pac-Man, Pong, and Space Invaders newsgames.
So, in the challenge of real-world games, the identification of the idea of the game is the first step. Lets take the Iowa Caucuses as an game example. What is the broad description of the game?
First, for the candidates, its a media attention game. The more reporters and cameras you command, the better your position in the game. Attention can be measured in a number of subjective external ways (yesterdays minutes, inches, links, etc.) or can be assigned reflexively from yesterdays results (changes in polls, election results).
Secondly, for candidates, its message. Message is more like a checker game than chess: my statement jumps over your statement, neutralizing it. The link between the statements is the subject and the verb tone. In that sense, statements are like Chance cards in Monopoly, which assign rewards or penalties from some external logic.
For players (people), its a game of alliances and loyalties. Players have alliances and affinities for:
geographies (home town, birth town, ethnic homeland, local events and activities), groups (parties, churches, schools, clubs, granfalloons, teams, employers, businesses) persons (family, friends, heroes, cultural figures, classes of people such as prisoners, races, members of religions) ideologies (religious, cultural, political, social, racial, etc.) things (property, possessions, mementos, symbols, structures, locations) and more.infinite!
Politicial messages are designed to threaten or strengthen peoples alliances and loyalties. Part of the objective for the message part of the politicians game is to assemble groups of alliances and loyalties into voting blocks.
So, players receive messages that are designed to manipulate perceptions of those things to which players have alliances and loyalties, which in turn (allegedly) affect the players actual alliances and loyalties, which re-positions them within the politicians pre-defined voting-bloc aggregations.
So, the game is manipulating perceptions of alliances and loyalties through political messages, delivered to attention, that encourage players to self-select themselves into voting blocs.
Good thing its only a game.