Satirical Games That Invite You To Participate In The Joke

Written satire is one of my favorite forms of comedy. Outrage gets to wear a witty disguise. Someone or something gets skewered all while making you laugh. Though, consuming satirical writing invites the viewer to have a passive experience with comedy.

The satirical political games in the GOP Arcade turn that old paradigm on its head by inviting you to participate in the satirical jab. They offer a new way to conceptualize satire—one that is designed to involve the viewer in the layers of the joke. One of my recent favorites is Thoughts & Prayers which came out shortly after the Orlando attacks. It pokes fun at all the politicians who want to solve gun violence with thoughts and prayers.

I'd like to push this concept even further by designing public experiences where strangers are invited to engage in a satirical game. That way people can play a part and embody both sides of the argument. I wonder if this sort of role play will encourage a deeper understanding or empathy for an issue. And as a bonus, these in person experiences might bring strangers together and in a sense force a discussion about the issue in question.

But how far do discussions and thoughts go to create change? Many debate whether or not satire creates legislative or social change. If you are interested in learning more about that debate, here is an interesting primer from the iWonder BBC series on that very topic. More on this soon as it deserves its own inquiry.