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A look at the McDonald's Serious Games hoax

The shadowy tricksters behind last week's McDonald's hoax at the International Serious Games Events go by the revolutionary moniker the McDonald's Resistance Collective. MTV News follows the machinations that led up to the stunt, beginning with a case of mistaken identity related to Italian consortium Molleindustria's McVideoGame, who then coordinated with a French McDonald's protest group, who in turn enlisted the assistance of culture-jamming super-group The Yes Men. Got it?

Taking advantage of the event's lax security, the McDonald's Resistance Collective delivered their message: "We wanted people to imagine a real popular uprising as a possible and necessary thing. We wanted people to imagine that change. We wanted them to imagine it is coming from McDonald's." That sounds all well and good; however, not everyone in attendance was impressed with their choice of venue. One detractor said, "They have damaged a fledgling event that was organized by a university, not an 'evil' [corporation], personally embarrassed the organizers, potentially annoyed other keynote presenters and, when small companies like mine are struggling to gain contracts to pay our staff, hurt those that could perhaps help them the most. To that extent, I have to say that I think it was ill-judged."

Ouch! The Yes Men at WTO this was not. Like The Yes Men though, they're hoping to put a movie together about the stunt. Good luck with that, fellas.

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1. While it might have slightly hirt their reputation it did wounders in terms of publicity for the event. I bet next year the event will be much larger because of this.

Posted at 2:36AM on Jun 13th 2006 by Hotdrop 0 stars

2. I saw The Yes Men, a stunning documentary in which activists pose as WTO officials and advocate slavery, electric shock collars for workers, and recycling feces to sell as food to the third world. Whenever the Yes Men present these insane ideas to the global business elite, they all smile and applaud. It is a hilariously satirical documentary that exposes corruption in the WTO, and third world exploitation.

The fact is that we as gamers are not immune from these issues. The companies we support and games we buy directly and indirectly affect many other people's lives. If nothing else, this type of social activism could help build a positive gaming community interaction with politics. It is amazing how they even the biggest companies reacted positively to the announcement, until they found out it was fake.

Games can have positive messages, raise awareness of serious issues, they can be used for a greater good. Maybe its time we start making that happen.

Posted at 3:26AM on Jun 13th 2006 by David 0 stars

3. Could there possibly be a greater indication of bozoness then to create to be part of something called 'The McDonald's Resistance Collective' and be entirely serious about the mindset that name implies?

These guys should listen the Duck's Breath Mystery Theater sketch 'Burger Wars' and get a clue as to how silly they are.

Posted at 6:49AM on Jun 13th 2006 by epobirs 17 stars

4. "otentially annoyed other keynote presenters and, when small companies like mine are struggling to gain contracts to pay our staff"

Considering these people oppose capitalism in all its forms, somehow i dont think they care what happens to your business. I think that was the intended result.

Posted at 7:41AM on Jun 13th 2006 by minus_273 0 stars

5. I'm sure they don't "oppose capitalism in all its forms". Reds under the bed, much?

I think it's a fair point to suggest that it might have been ill judged, and I'm not even sure that their message was that clear. But, I'm sure they achieved their goals, and more power to them for that. I really can't imagine that anyone was actually hurt out of this though. That's a bit much.

Posted at 9:33AM on Jun 13th 2006 by -al 0 stars

6. Maybe it's just me, but I think in terms of groups that will provoke a massive popular uprising against them, McDonald's is pretty far down the list. Not only that, but I bet this entire thing is a pointless exercise for them. The people who were most fond of it already weren't eating McDonald's. How many minds were changed because of this stunt and others like it?

Activism is all fine and dandy, but it should actually produce results.

Posted at 9:37AM on Jun 13th 2006 by 32_Footsteps 12 stars

7. It's just another weird left wing stunt. It sucks that it has to hurt people, but as long as capitalism and the American way of life stand, they'll be out there trying to "stick it to the man" in every way possible.

Posted at 9:43AM on Jun 13th 2006 by Clay 0 stars

8. All this does is annoy me. I think I'll stop at McDonald's for lunch today.

Posted at 10:11AM on Jun 13th 2006 by KR 0 stars

9. Their biggest mistake was not coming dressed in a gold suit with an inflatable penis display.

Posted at 10:52AM on Jun 13th 2006 by Momus 1 star

10. The Yes Men are smart, funny, and quite convincing despite the absurdity of their stunts.
These guys? Ummm, not so much...

Posted at 10:56AM on Jun 13th 2006 by PhantomVi 0 stars

11. The French have been known to protest McDonald's for years; this is nothing new. For one thing, it's a huge American company, something grating to them. Secondly, for cost reasons, McDonald's doesn't purchase any food items from French farmers, which also doesn't generate any good will (on the same hand, food in France is quite expensive compared to America). And, to some, it represents a corporate entity that is preying on the less fortunate in society (a specious argument at best, but one that resonates with its core audience of anarchists and Marxists). Not sure if the protests will have long-term effects on the event, positive or negative, but I think they did give themselves a black eye in protesting at a relatively inappropriate venue.

Posted at 12:15PM on Jun 13th 2006 by killer_roach 0 stars

12. While I enjoy seeing "games" used for activism, which seems oddly appropriate at a serious games conference, I think that hijacking a conference presentation slot to make a stand against McDonald's is inappropriate. McDonalds is not a well-known serious games corproate entity, it's not a well-known games entity, and many serious games are used to good ends (UN's Food Force, for example).

So, the venue was certainly inappropriate. The message is fine. The vessel for the message, though, I think is a bit muddled. Not nearly as clever as their WTO efforts.

Posted at 4:00PM on Jun 13th 2006 by Troy Gilbert 0 stars

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