In the game "Leaky World" it's your turn to connect a global ruling class and suppress leaked information.
By Winda Benedetti
The people who brought us games about priest pedophilia, greedy oil executives and religious intolerance have launched their newest game – this one based on the ongoing Wikileaks drama.
"Leaky World" is a free Web game based on Julian Assange's essay "Conspiracy as Governance" and is the first game to launch as part of the Wikileaks Stories Project.
The project, which I recently wrote about, was started by a couple of independent game designers with the goal of making a variety of computer and video games based on the various plots, scandals and documents revealed by Assange.
The project was started by game blog Gnomes Lair with a call out to other game developers to join the effort. And so this first entry comes from Molleindustria, an Italian indie game collective known for making some thought-provoking-if-controversial games.
They describe "Leaky World" (which is free to play and can be found here) as "an interactive interpretation" of Assange's "Conspiracy as Governance" essay from 2006 – an essay that lays out his call for radical transparency – and asks player to "connect a global ruling class and suppress the leakage of information."
What that means is, players must try to connect an ever-moving red line between dots (or "political elites") found on a world map to create their network and must also guide that line to cut off information leaks. Headlines to news stories about Wikileaks and other leaked information appear at the top of the page for players to click on.
Though the folks at Molleindustria take some issue with Assange's philosophy, they point out "we are firmly against the criminalization of Wikileaks and its founder. The proliferation of platforms for whistleblowers and a broad culture of transparency are critical assets for modern democracies."
All in all, I can't say that "Leaky World" is Molleindustria's most enjoyably playable work to date. Then again, they point out that they made it in only 10 days ... and making fun games isn't exactly their primary goal any way.
No matter where you come down on the Wikileaks debate, it's worth checking out Molleindustria's site and the way they use games to convey political and social messages. The group says their goal is "to reappropriate video games as a popular form of mass communication" and "to investigate the persuasive potentials of the medium by subverting mainstream video gaming clichè (and possibly have fun in the process)."
Among their other games – "Faith Fighters," is a rollicking brawler which features various deities such as Jesus, Buddah and, yes, even Muhammad duking it out along with the tag line "religious hate has never been so much fun."
Their simulation game "Oiligarchy," is described as follows: "Now you can be the protagonist of the petroleum era: explore and drill around the world, corrupt politicians, stop alternative energies and increase the oil addiction. Be sure to have fun before the resources begin to deplete."
In their most disquieting game – "Operation: Pedopriest" – they ask players to help cover up for Priests abusing small children. (Putting players in the role of the bad guy is a speciality of theirs, in case you hadn't noticed.)
Meanwhile, "Memory Reloaded: The Downfall" is a clever little game of card matching that points out just how fallible and changeable human memory can be.
If you want to keep track of the other Wikileaks Stories games in the works (and there are a few) check out the project's site here and their Facebook page here.