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Disaffected Puts Gamers Into Real Life 52

The Guardian Gamesblog writes of a new Persuasive Games game called 'Disaffected'. The title puts you into the shoes of a Kinkos employee to discover why real-life minimum-wage employees are often so miserable. From the article: "It presents a very simplistic premise, and one which may offend both Kinkos and the employees themselves. As a casual game, it can't get as deep into the sociohistorical aspects that dog underpaid, under-trained and often under-age employees of US national corporations that Eric Schlosser's books Fast Food Nation or Reefer Madness expose, but it's an interesting scat on the seemingly pervasive branded advergames that have taken over."
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Disaffected Puts Gamers Into Real Life

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  • by Pluvius ( 734915 ) <pluvius3@gmail.UUUcom minus threevowels> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:24PM (#14551714) Journal
    If you really want to know why minimum-wage jobs suck, why not just get a real job at Kinko's (or McDonald's, or whatever) and get paid while learning? It's not like it's hard to get hired.

    Rob
  • A big....fat..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordPhantom ( 763327 )
    ..BRONX CHEER to this story. Who in their right mind would want to play that game? Why would it make money? Why is this news?
    • by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:59PM (#14552046)
      Given that there has been a controversy over whether or not video games are art, especially on Slashdot, a game such as this (which seems to be trying to achieve the merits of art) would be worth mentioning here.
    • Re:A big....fat..... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kaptron ( 850747 )
      I don't see why you are so quick to dismiss the game... did you even click on the link? It doesn't look like the most advanced game (it is, after all, free), but it could be pretty fun in the vein of one of those simple quick action games like Diner Dash or others that can be found on the web. I, for one, was interested in trying it out, but I am at work -- a slashdot reading haven, of course, but downloading/playing games is a stretch.

      Why would it make money?
      AFAIK, it isn't meant to make money... the
      • this is their way of doing something fun and creative as an escape and a parody of the average "advergame" (my take on the situation, anyhow).

        Wonder if Kinko's backed out of a contract with them. Nice revenge. :)
  • Gee... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:28PM (#14551739) Homepage
    Now that you played the game, why don't you get a REAL JOB and move out of your parents' basement?
  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:29PM (#14551747)
    but it's an interesting scat on the seemingly pervasive branded advergames that have taken over.

    For perspective, I wonder if the submitter believes that America's Army [americasarmy.com] is an "advergame".

    The common understanding seemes to be that such games are of low quality and value, but does that necessarily have to be the case?

    • Well, now that they're part of Fed-Ex, perhaps the folks working the counter will get a slight raise. Lord knows that with what Fed-Ex charges to ship a package they can certainly afford to do it. Perhaps this will highlight the plight of Kinkos copy-slaves everywhere.

      2 cents,

      Queen B
      • You know, if the copy slaves would fulfill and order correctly once in a while, they might deserve a raise. I don't know how many times my orders have been screwed up or delayed because the asshat that was "processing" my order, had to leave for a personal emergency.

        I've also notices that their File, Print, Kinko's software is a complete screwjob. I sometimes have to print out materials that are several hundred pages split into about 10 chapters or so. If I use F.P.K., I pay full price for each file that
      • Lord knows that with what Fed-Ex charges to ship a package they can certainly afford to do it.
        You do know that FedEx will negotiate and give you a bargin rates if you call them to haggle, don't you? Just ask Tony Fitzpatrick [tonyfitzpatrick.com] - he called FexEx [pennandteller.com].
    • The common understanding seemes to be that [games-as-advertisements] are of low quality and value, but does that necessarily have to be the case?

      Nope. For another example, see Food Force [food-force.com], distributed by the UN's World Food Programme.

    • America's Army just proves that the US military has shitloads of money and has no problem pissing it away on trivial promotions (the development costs for AA run into the millions). The US military spends more on advertising than Sony. Your tax dollars at work.

  • by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:33PM (#14551790) Homepage
    -- Game summary from the official website:

    Disaffected! - a videogame parody of the Kinko's copy store, a source of frustration from its patrons. Disaffected! puts the player in the role of employees forced to service customers under the particular incompetences common to a Kinko's store. From a new series of persuasive games we call anti- advergames.

    -- I find it interesting that they parody themelves. Persuasive Games seems to have started with a Howard Dean sponsored game a few years back. They've also made games for the GOP of Illinois, Chrysler, and Jeep.
    Other games from Persuasive Games:

    Airport Insecurity - a game about inconvenience and the tradeoffs between security and rights in American airports. While the government wants you to believe that increased protection and reduced rights are necessary to protect you from terrorism, the effectiveness of airport security practices is uncertain.

    Stone City - Cold Stone Creamery, Inc. - Cold Stone commissioned an employee training game to focus on the issue portion sizes and their relationship to profitability.

    Elemental - An educational game to help teach junior high school students learn Chemistry.

    PT Cruiser Cube Excape - THE stealth office game of 2006. Released as part of an integrated advertising campaign in support of the 2006 PT Cruiser.

    Xtreme Errands - Xtreme Errands coincides with the North American launch of the Jeep Commander and challenges players to complete tasks utilizing the unique features of this vehicle.

    Activism, The Public Policy Game - Sponsored by the DCCC and released during the height of the 2004 general election, players are challenged to balance six public policy issues with limited time and resources.

    Take Back Illinois - Sponsored by the Illinois GOP, Take Back Illinois challenged players to explore four issues surrounding the 2004 state elections: Medical Malpractice Reform, Education Reform, Grassroots Activism, and Economic Reform. Take Back Illinois was a 2005 Slamdance Independent Game Festival Finalist.

    Project Connect - a suite of 7 games created to educate 4th - 6th Graders on the science behind telecommunications technologies.

    The Howard Dean for Iowa Game - launched at Christmas 2003 to help Dean supporters understand grassroots outreach and to encourage them to participate in pre-caucus campaigning in Iowa or in their local area. Ccommissioned by Dean for America, the game was the first ever official U.S. Presidential Election game.
  • Summary Blows (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:49PM (#14551956) Homepage
    Since the article (which was little more than the summary) sucks at least as hard as the actual game, I went ahead and found an equally less revealing post by Ian Bogost [watercoolergames.org] who seems to be the programmer. Additionally I found an MTV review (no need to thank me; it was linked from the first article) which has the enlightening [mtv.com] quote: "We're hoping this experience is a gateway drug to more sophisticated critique."

    Although somehow I have difficulty imagining a serious discussion relating a video game to a gateway drug.

    Oh, also you can download it for (amazingly enough) FREE, from here [persuasivegames.com] or here [download.com].

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go bathe after being such a dirty karma whore.
    • I have difficulty imagining a serious discussion relating a video game to a gateway drug.

      Hmmm... This is Slashdot, BTW. Anything is possible. Even a virtual Kinko's.
  • by Red_Chaos1 ( 95148 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @05:57PM (#14552035)
    I work for FedExKinko's, have for about 2 months now. I can tell you right off that this game hardly portrays what it's really like, if you take it's description as truth. I myself work 3rd shift, and am titled a "Production Operator", which is the middle of 3 positions for that shift, and pays a base of $10/hr., with an added $1/hr. shift differential. So I earn $11/hr. I know most of the other people working in production (read: you generally don't take customer orders or show customers anything unless there's nobody else to do it) make at least $8\$9/hr. to start, not minimum wage. I can't be so sure about the people who work "Express", as they are the people who deal most often with customers and help them make their own copies, etc.

    That said, anyone who cares can learn some valuable stuff working at Kinkos. Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and Adobe InDesign get used pretty extensively, with PageMaker and Quark getting used less so. You also learn how to use auto folders, stitchers, laminators, do bindings, etc.
    Add that the company does matching 401K, and offers a few different PPOs to choose from for medical, dental, and optical, does bonuses for every employee if monthly plans are met, and that you get paid for many holidays, and you can't help but face the fact that Kinko's is hardly a McJob.
    It's not the Emerald City of Oz, but it's pretty good, IMHO.

    So that said, I think I'll take this game's premise with a grain of salt.
    • The game itself sucks pretty hard, and having played it I'm not sure *what* point they were trying to make, unless the point was "we make dull games".
    • Yep, this is exactly what came to my mind. Nearly fifteen years ago, I spent some time working at Kinko's as well, and I actually found it to be a huge step up from the average cheesy retail job. Employees were relatively well-paid, expected to be fairly competent and intelligent and were given the discretion that accompanies that, and it did require at least some feel for technology.

      It certainly wasn't Xanadu, but it was a pretty good bridge between mindless retail jobs and a genuinely skilled technical ca
  • Your hyperlink makes no sense at all. Didn't you even read taco's sermon?

    Let's look at the text containing the link:

    The Guardian Gamesblog writes of a new Persuasive Games game called 'Disaffected'.

    Now, the article linked to is titled "Undermining the advertisers" and it is about a game titled "Disaffected". For ten points: Based on the above text, and the subject of the article, which is the appropriate linking style?

    1. The Guardian Gamesblog writes of a new Persuasive Games [guardian.co.uk] game called 'Disaffected'.
    2. The Guardian Gamesblog writes of a new Persuasive Games game called 'Disaffected' [guardian.co.uk].
    3. Profit! [slashdot.org]
    4. The Guardian Gamesblog [slashdot.org] writes of a new Persuasive Games game called 'Disaffected'.

    Hint: It's not #3. And it's not #1. The article is not about a new company called "Persuasive Games". It's about the game Disaffected (and to a lesser extent, Persuasive's founder.) The link should be descriptive of the content of the link. Thus, it's not #4 either. Doesn't leave much...

    How can Taco hold users to a higher standard than the so-called editors?

    End note: It would actually have been more proper to link the whole sentence than the text that actually got linked. It's descriptive. A minimalist link that I do not think would be appropriate for slashdot (because it is not very descriptive) would be "The Guardian Gamesblog writes" which would at least tell you what you were clicking.

  • Reminds me of this game I got for my PS2 where you play a Curry shop worker. You have to greet customers, cook the items they want to eat and give it to them. Get's pretty challenging as the menu gets more complicated and more customers come in. I played this for an hour or so and had to stop because I fealt like I was actually working and brought back memories of working at McD.
  • My IT career actually took off at Kinko's. I signed on after getting laid off running copy jobs on the graveyard shift. Within two months, I was doing desktop publishing. Two months later, I was lead publisher. After a year of that, I launched into IT.

    It may have started as a close-to-minimum wage job, but if you take the opportunity, it's a great place to network and launch a career. But I'm sure THAT part won't be in the game.

  • If this game is actually up anyone's alley, perhaps you'd be interested in:
    • A game in which get to paint a wall, hopefully followed by an expansion which will allow you to watch it dry
    • A game in which you make calls to technical support hotlines and are placed on hold for various periods of time
    Or maybe...
    • A game in which you are a Slashdot reader, and get to post lame comments written to chase 'Score:5, Funny' status
  • This is why you read about the quite guy whacking his neighbor for no reason at all...

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