Water Cooler Games

a forum for the uses of videogames in advertising, politics, education, and other everyday activities, outside the sphere of entertainment

About This Site - RSS Feed

Ian Bogost (editor)
Gonzalo Frasca (editor)

Visit Persuasive Games
Visit Powerful Robot

Games for Change '06 Conference
Games for Change (G4C) announces its 2006 conference on "Social Change and Digital Games." The 3rd-annual will be co-hosted June 27 & 28 with Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Keynotes feature Bob Kerrey, The New School President, and best-selling author Steven Johnson.
Conference organizers unknowingly set stage for McDonald's Interactive hoax
June 09, 2006 - by Ian Bogost

Stephen Totillo of MTV News has written a great story on the McDonald's Interactive hoax we covered a couple days ago. Here's what the real McDonald's had to say:

Reached for comment Friday (June 9), McDonald's spokesperson Julie Pottebaum said, "This is an outright hoax and a complete misrepresentation of our people and our values. Anyone who knows the facts about McDonald's' social responsibility track record knows that we're a recognized leader on the environment."

And apparently the connection to La Molleindustria's fantastic McVideogame was in fact accurate, although not in the way we expected. It was born out of an embarrassing failure on the part of the conference organizers to understand the premise of that game.

According to people involved in the hoax, the McDonald's Interactive charade began accidentally in early April, when an ISGE organizer reached out to the developers of a computer game called "McVideoGame" and mistook the satirical program for a product of the real McDonald's. In an e-mail, an anonymous member of the Italian consortium Molleindustria, which created "McVideoGame," said conference organizers wrote them a note that stated: "It would be a fantastic PR opportunity, let alone a chance for you to see what other organizations have achieved with Serious Games."

Sensing an opportunity, the Molleindustria team reached out to the loosely organized group to which Jean-Michel belongs. That group had called itself the McDonald's Resistance Collective and drew inspiration from a six-month 2003 occupation of a McDo restaurant — as they are called in France — to resist what members saw as unjust treatment of store employees and the environment. Jean-Michel said he and another McDonald's Interactive planner were among the strikers at the occupied restaurant in 2003.

They hatched a plan to exploit the ISGE's assumption that the conference was dealing with the real McDonald's. " 'Do we want to make it completely believable?' " Jean-Michel remembered the team asking. " 'Or do we want to do something very crazy and funny that will shock them and make them laugh?' We decided to do something serious because it is a serious issue."

Now, it's possible that the conference organizers were actually trying to get Molleindustria to discuss their approach to social criticism via games, but if so... wouldn't they have noticed that a very similar idea cropped up from a group supposedly sponsored by McDonalds. Amazing, fantastic, and pretty embarrassing!

Email (optional):
URL (optional):
To avoid spam, you are required to enter the word watercooler in the field below to post.
No spam code (required):
Remember info?

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.watercoolergames.org/mt-bt.r437.pl/563

Links to weblogs that reference Conference organizers unknowingly set stage for McDonald's Interactive hoax will be listed here.

Email to:
Your email:
Message (optional):

Review of Cyber-Budget, the French Budget Game

I mentioned the French Cyber Budget game a week or so ago, but I couldn't find the actual game until ...

Conference organizers unknowingly set stage for McDonald's Interactive hoax

Stephen Totillo of MTV News has written a great story on the McDonald's Interactive hoax we covered a couple days ...

The Rapture will be Advertised

Left Behind Games, creators of the forthcoming Left Behind: Eternal Forces, have announced a deal to include in-game advertising via ...

McDonald's Interactive Sticks it to McDo... or do they?

This post has been updated, please see below. This story has also been updated, please read here According to their ...

Conference Call

A few submission calls of note. First, the Serious Games Summit DC is accepting abstract submissions for the fall event ...

End of Deadline Grab Bag

Reuters sets the record straight... sort of

Columbine, Videogames as Expression, and Ineffability

Drive Like a Kennedy

Transcripts from the "fake terrorist videogame" Hearings now available


michael G on Review of Cyber-Budget, the French Budget Game

Mango on No gay marriage in The Sims 2?

simsfreak101 on No gay marriage in The Sims 2?

still don't know any song sites on Hyrule Music School now open

asbestos cancer on Education Arcade, day 1

more comments... 


Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, by Ian Bogost

Buy Now -  About


JD's Electronics N More
Do your kids love electronics? How about the kid in YOU?

Take advantage of our WHOLESALE PRICES!
Buy Direct & Save! PS3!
Fast Shipping!

  Copyright Ian Bogost & Gonzalo Frasca, unless otherwise noted. Re-printing for commercial purposes by permission only (contact us: pr@watercoolergames.org). Re-printing for educational purposes is allowed with proper attribution.