In BooFlag, just switch on your computer mic and boo at the Confederate flag. As you do, it will slowly be lowered, and eventually it will catch on fire and burn to a little pile of ash. Is it all happening too slowly? Boo harder.
It's satisfying, of course, but as the game reminds you, chiding an emblem doesn't solve structural problems. It's an "unofficial sequel" to BulchyC's Americlap, a game where you earn money by clapping your hands at the American flag til you feel embarrassed. Sometimes very simple mechanics can create such fertile territory, and they make often complicated ideas and thought spaces simple to experience and share.
The game is by Carnegie Mellon professor Paolo Pedercini, whose imprint Molleindustria has done some of the most provocative critiques of systems and issues in the game space for years, on topics from church sex abuse cover-ups, the human cost of smartphone manufacturing, and drones, among many others.
BooFlag comes just after news that Apple would remove a swath of Civil War-themed games from the App Store because they feature the Confederate flag. Attention has been renewed on the fraught Southern emblem since the tragic Charleston church massacre earlier this month—many on social media abroad were surprised to learn the basically racist flag still flies on government buildings in certain parts of America, and remains well-beloved by people who don't like to think about racism.
BooFlag calls attention to how anger at the symbol, however righteous, might be for some people a much easier method of taking action against structural inequity in America than, you know, actual action. Read the rest