Video Game Design Politics in the Gaming World of Paolo Pedercini

Games and Politics Exhibition at Goethe-Institut Washington
© Goethe-Institut, Marlou Taenzer

Paolo Pedercini’s passion for video game design has brought the current political climate and social injustices to the screens of the Games and Politics exhibit at the Goethe-Institut.

The opening of the Games and Politics exhibit took place at the Goethe-Institut in Washington on March 15th. The exhibit was developed by the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe) in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut. The exhibit consists of 16 different games, focusing on either the current political climate or social injustices. With games such as Democracy III which allows the player to make political decisions for a city and Perfect Woman focusing on gender inequality, players are able to experiment with their own political potential.

Game designer Paolo Pedercini, whose games Phonestory and Unmanned are featured in the exhibit, attended the opening night of the interactive exhibit at the Goethe-Institut in Washington DC.

Paolo Pedercini Photo: private Born in 1981 in Northern Italy, Pedercini wasn’t an avid gamer growing up. Instead he appreciated comic books and participated in bands. He didn’t consider a career in game design until the early 2000s, when he observed the emergence of alternative forms of media. He also began to realize the important role that media plays in culture, with events such as the election of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Although the audience for video games was expanding drastically, not much work was being done in the field of video game design and by 2003, Pedercini recognized the need for game designers and decided to begin pursuing the profession.

His inspiration for the Games and Politics exhibit was multi-faceted. Recent political events in the United States as well as the Foxconn suicides caused him to think more about political movements and social injustice. He was contacted by an activist group who asked him to create a game about social injustice. Pedercini accepted and decided to expand the project to include additional games focusing on other prominent issues currently facing society.

By designing video games focusing on issues of social justice and political movements, Pedercini hopes to raise awareness through a new form of media, video games.

Currently, Pedercini resides in Pittsburgh and teaches Experimental Game Design and Media Production courses at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art.