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The Wolf in McClothing
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mcdinter.jpgWhen McDonald's Interactive took the stage at the recent International Serious Games Event 2006, it had more than just serious games to discuss: unfolding over the course of the speech was a similarly serious message about global corporate responsibility.

By running a simulation it had developed at the behest of its fast-food parent company, it had determined that their current business practices were untenable because of the impact it had on global ecology and the citizens of the world. Only by making radical shifts in corporate policy to the detriment of short term profitability could the simulation sustain an inhabitable planet through the end of the century, with the added benefit of a decrease in global poverty and hunger.

The problem, though, was that top corporate executives weren't keen on heeding the dire message their simulation bore out, so in a dramatic move, McDonald's Interactive announced it would be breaking off its ties with its parent and use its organization to help foster "ethical consumerism."

All in all a heartening tale of responsible practices, with just one hitch: all signs point to the entire speech, organization, and speaker being phony. Shortly after the contents of the speech and slides went online, red flags were quickly raised and further details rooted out. The speaker, Andrew Shimery-Wolf, seems to have emerged from nowhere, along with McDonald's Interactive as a whole, whose website has been active for just a few short months, and commenters on WaterCoolerGames have noted that simulation graphics from his presentation have been culled from various educational sources.

As others have pointed out, the speech has all the hallmarks, if not of La Molleindustria, creators of the recent McDonalds Videogame, then of the wider culture-jamming antics of a group like the Yes Men, and sure enough one WaterCooler commenter has reportedly received a response from McDonald's Interactive bearing the header of rtmark.com, a similarly founded long-time corporate activism group.

If the allegation bears out, it wouldn't be the first time rtmark has used its influence in the games sphere -- former Maxis employee Jacques Servin, now half of the Yes Men duo, used his position as SimCopter programmer to include an infamous easter egg that on certain dates would turn all of the sim-city's inhabitants into amorous "muscle studs" preoccupied only with kissing one other, as a reaction to both his working conditions and the "bimbo" moniker given to the game's female sims. Servin was fired for the prank after a controversy arose, but later admitted he received $5,000 from rtmark for his part in the prank.

Posted at 5:52


Did anyone else just really want a McDonalds after watching Super Size Me?

Posted by: Hungry McHungry at June 8, 2006 06:20 AM

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