I agree that turning the ecological hardships of migration for these birds into a high profile race/game is a brilliant piece of marketing. Using games based on hardship structures as a method of education is something I’m familiar with from “Oregon Trail” (back in the Apple IIE days) and more recently Real Lives 2004. Christy, you may not be familiar with Oregon Trail as the education mission dealt with teaching a kind of history of the American westward expansion, but one of the distinguishing features was you could die from dysentery. Real Lives updates and expands that aspect of the game, including death by sexually transmitted diseases and brutal crime.
I have two points:
1. There is a tradition in educational software of teaching about hardship through modeling it - somewhat different from the approach of most Water Cooler Games, and certainly Oregon Trail wasn’t the most progressive about Native Americans, but there you are. And this seems to fit into that tradition - make how hard it is for the birds to get there interesting, get people rooting for the birds, call it a game.
2. The thing I worry about is the game show effect. As a one-time, consciousness-raising event, cool. But if people are essentially playing for the conflict, then lessening the conflict (making life easier and easier for the birds, as environmentalists hope to do) runs counter to their interest in narrative drama. Game show watching (especially ones with elaborate physical trails) is often essentially an exercise in sadism - so I hope that dynamic won’t get mapped onto the birds….]]>
My first response is that I don’t see the ‘race’ as an infringement upon the rights of the TSA. But I’ll explore your +1 into this thread.
Yes, they don’t have a choice and yes, they have the right to live without tagging but what event is trying to do is save the TSAs. The tagging is an embodiment of a scientific discourse of sorts and one could say the betting is part of a ‘game’ discourse. Both of these are bundled with a preservation or ecology frame. By the corporate element do you mean the slickness of the production (the website design, technology involved, the persuasive language)? Is ‘corporate’ the employment of many elements (including those outside of the business realm) for the sole intention of gaining $ or power?
The repackaging of the call for awareness and support of a cause into entertainment is a technique that is common. Look at the numerous CDs the music industry has put out over the last few decades. Is the infringement that the support is not called for in a manner that is close to what is actually going on? Eg: Give us money so we can put pressure on the governments to put pressure ont he fisherman to stop harming the TSAs. Or, we humans don’t want the TSAs to perish. Or, we humans are sick of other humans harming other creatures. The list goes on. What is really going on?
I must admit that I respond to a call for an awareness, understanding and perhaps changing of the bigger picture than the short term solution to a particular issue. Actually, I don’t respond to any call — for that aim is internally driven.
Does the repackaging of causes or politics or agendas into entertainment really help then? I know I don’t respond to entertainment that is trying to get me to help someone or something else. But I also know that I want to affect others with my stories. I want to try and make changes to people with my stories and I know this can happen because I get affected by texts I read. For me then, if the aim is to change the person experiencing the entertainment rather than get the person experiencing it to change someone or something else’s life, then it does work.]]>
migration as story yes, but migration as corporate venture could very well be an infringement upon the rights of the tasmanian shy albatross]]>