A tiny, excellent, flash game experience to convert non-gamers
June 17, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a tiny, excellent, flash game experience to get a group of non-gamers to understand the power of games...

I do a lot of talks on games and gamification, and I like to assign a couple of games as "homework" before the talk. Most of my audience are older business people. I typically assign them BoomShine as a quick intro to how addictive games can be (and BoomShine is particularly great as an example, since the game actually is random, but makes people feel skilled). However, I am looking for a similarly short, easy game that gets non-gamers to understand games as persuasion, art, or narrative -the deeper stuff beyond addictiveness.

I used to use September 12, but it was always strident, and now feels out of date. I am looking for something similarly persuasive (or manipulative) that isn't alienating, gets its point across in a couple of minutes, and works for non-gamers (that is, doesn't depend on gamer tropes like understanding Mario or liking zombies).

Any thoughts?
posted by blahblahblah to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Passage might be good. It takes literally a maximum of 5 minutes to play, no skill required, and you can send them to the author's explanation afterwards. All of Jason Rohrer's games are pretty good, but this one seems to fit your purpose exactly. However, they might be put off by the retro graphics, but then again maybe that's their image of video games.
posted by vogon_poet at 6:43 PM on June 17, 2012

Something like Midas or i saw her standing there perhaps?
posted by Garm at 7:21 PM on June 17, 2012

I think one of the Diner Dash type games might be good for this, as they're easy to pick up, addictive, tell a story, but also relate to life (which I think is the draw for these). On my phone, but on newgrounds.com there's one called Papa's Pancakeria. And c'mon, who can say no to pancakes?
posted by DoubleLune at 7:28 PM on June 17, 2012

How about Canabalt?
posted by Drexen at 8:44 PM on June 17, 2012

Sugar Sugar is addictive, fun, self-evident as to how it works.
posted by Listener at 9:05 PM on June 17, 2012

Passage is the closest so far to what I am thinking - it attempts to create an emotional and intellectual reaction through a game. Midas and i saw her standing there are clever, but they are hard, and not particularly engaging to people who might be frustrated by platformers or who might not "get" games. The others are great games, but don't have an emotional or intellectual impact.

Another potential seed would be Games With a Purpose.

Thank you for the suggestions so far!
posted by blahblahblah at 9:20 PM on June 17, 2012


doodle god
Any of the Hoshi Saga games
Grow Valley - This isn't an easy game to complete, but still addictive and fun.
posted by ljesse at 9:26 PM on June 17, 2012

This won't speak to persuasion or narrative, but for light flash games as works of art, I really love Orsinal's style. Lovely, meditative games. I like High Delivery and Starry Night.
posted by clerestory at 9:51 PM on June 17, 2012

One Chance.

Linked on Metafilter, it's a game that can only be played through once (without doing some slightly obscure stuff with your web browser). It tells a story, and is very poignant. Interview with the creator is here, for extra credit.
posted by Night_owl at 9:52 PM on June 17, 2012

In The Company of Myself has an in-game narrative twist that wouldn't really have the same impact in a non-interactive medium. It's platformy but explains everything in a way that non-gamers will understand.
posted by RobotHero at 10:41 PM on June 17, 2012

let me rescue you from the clutches of Jason Rohrer's well-meaning but , imho, excruciatingly overrated cheesy art experiments as well as the very well-made but heavy-handed and unsophisticated political propaganda of the Sept 12/Molleindustria crowd. Try the Microsoft-funded ( yes that's right!) fantastic 2006/7 educational, nuanced, reflective, and moving game of a Haitian family's struggle to survive and perhaps prosper:
Ayiti: The Cost of Life
(suitable for grownups as well as kids)
posted by Bwithh at 11:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

dys4ia (prev on mefi) is an emotionally touching game from Anna Anthropy about her experiences as a trans woman beginning hormone treatment. The game is short and not difficult, and most importantly makes excellent use of game mechanics in the service of narrative.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:23 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

It may be bad form to suggest something I developed, but what the heck:

posted by missjenny at 4:16 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

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