Given that gaming is now the world’s favourite form of entertainment, it’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing brands using the tools of gameplay as more than just a source of fun.
While Polaroid’s Monster Flash arcade game, marking the latest season of Stranger Things, is at the more light-hearted end of the spectrum, recent examples of ‘gaming for good’ include games that tackle social issues such as bullying and internet safety.
At first glance, Juniper Park\TBWA’s League of Legislators looks like just another 80s inspired arcade game, but its strapline highlights a more serious mission: ‘The game to end gun violence’.
Created by the agency for gun control advocacy group Brady, the campaign film places the game in the context of the US’s ongoing gun violence epidemic, which has seen almost 300 people killed this year alone.
Shot shortly after two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the film opens with footage of President Trump referencing the problem of the “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace”.
It’s a view also held by the US-based National Rifle Association, which argues that gaming has a role to play in the glorification of violence in society. League of Legislators is intended to be a satirical response to this argument, raising the question that if video games can be the cause of violence, can they also help put an end to it?
In the game, players take on the role of US representatives, trying to avoid lobbyists and bribes from the gun lobby. If they manage to make it all the way to the Capitol to sign gun reform legislation, they are met with the message: ‘Congratulations! You did your job. Now send this game to a member of Congress and tell them to do theirs’.
Brady President Kris Brown, says: “The message of this game is clear: if video games can cause gun violence, then they can end it as well! Bottom line, guns, not games, are the issue. If we want a safer America, we need Congress to take action and sign common-sense, evidence-based gun safety legislation. Our lives are literally in their hands.”