Games and Politics
In autumn 2019, the Goethe-Institut Cyprus presented Games and Politics – a series of events, which dealt with the role and relevance of games and gaming in society.
The interactive exhibition Games and Politics included eighteen computer games, a selection of which were played live on three evenings. During the "playthrough", the course of the game was classified and commented on by Cypriot and German experts, and questions from the audience were answered. The award-winning games Papers, Please! and Orwell as well as Perfect Woman were presented and discussed.
You can now watch the three playthroughs and the discussions that followed on our YouTube channel. On 19 August 2020 we are streaming the playthrough of Papers, Please!, which deals with working at the border crossing of a dictatorial regime.
Lucas Pope I 2013
In the videogame Papers, please! the player takes the role of a border guard in the dictatorial regime Arstotzka. People are waiting in long queues at the border to enter Kolechia. Based on a rulebook the player has to decide who to allow and who to deny entry. The player must verify whether the information given on the papers is true, whether the people are lying or could pose a terrorist threat. Should the player make a mistake, this could lead to sanctions like wage deductions, resulting to starvation and illness for their family. In the course of the game its rules become more complicated and the histories of those wishing to enter Kolechia more complex. Is the man with the expired work visa really just a harmless family man? Does the woman with the invalid passport really just want to visit her sick mother? The guard, in a position of power, is torn between their consciousness and fear for their existence.
Moderator: Frixos Masouras
Gamer: Constantinos Psillides
Speaker DE: Konstantin Mitgutsch
Speaker CY: Christos Kyriacou
Frixos Masouras was born and raised in Cyprus during times of less technological dependence. That makes him sound like a technophobe, but in reality, the previous statement is simple fact and not a nostalgic dirge. An avid gamer, both on tabletops and monitors, he grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons since he was 12 and a myriad of digital games on countless systems. He understood early on that the social responsibility that befalls on the shoulders of developers is not unlike the responsibility of any other creators of art. He is a published author and screenwriter as well as an established sports commentator and presenter for the last twelve years.
is a former journalist, specializing in the areas of technology, environment and social issues. Having worked in the industry for more than 10 years, he is now currently employed by a software company as Project Manager. Always interested in what lies ahead, Constantinos hosted one of the first podcasts in Cyprus, the Laughing Mouflon Show
where he interviewed people from the entertainment industry as well as experts in various academic fields. Ever the gamer, he continues to have fun in the virtual world while remaining aware of the huge impact the gaming industry now has in modern society.
Photo: Lea Fabienne
Dr. Konstantin Mitgutsch is the founder of Playful Solutions, a Viennese games agency that creates playful solutions for real world problems.
Dr. Mitgutsch is also an Affiliate Researcher at the MIT Game Lab (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He also serves as Gaming Director of the Red Bull Mind Gamers project, and explores novel forms of using game design as a tool for personal development. He received his PhD in education science and media education at the University of Vienna education and has published books on purposeful game design, learning and technology.
Christos Kyriacou has received a PhD at the University of Edinburgh and he is a Lecturer at the University of Cyprus. His main research interests lie in epistemology, metaethics and their intersection. He has published in journals such as Synthese, Erkenntnis, Episteme, Philosophical Pyschology, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy and elsewhere. He has also co-edited the volume Metaepistemology (2018, Palgrave) co-editing another volume on skepticism (Routledge, 2021) and recently drafted an introduction to moral philosophy.
About the exhibition "Games and Politics"
Games and Politics was produced in 2016 and is based on the exhibition Global Games by the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien) in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibition curators selected politically ambitious computer games, created between 2004 and 2016, and which explore the limits and possibilities of the genre. Computer games conceive of themselves not merely as a (re-)presentation of social conditions and conflicts, but attempt to simulate the processes and rules that give rise to these conflicts.
The interactive exhibition Games and Politics included eighteen computer games, of which sixteen could be played by visitors. The games dealt with topics such as media criticism, migration, power relations, gender roles and militarism on an artistic level. Visitors took the role of the players and experienced firsthand how the games affected them.