06/ 6/06

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McDonald's Hoax At Serious Games Conference


On Monday, humor was on display at the Serious Games Conference in the U.K. Posing as a representative of McDonald's Interactive, a fictitious games division of the fast food company, someone going by the name Andrew Shimery-Wolf presented a subtle satire of corporate environment responsibility.

Ian Bogost has a thorough write-up at Water Cooler Games, as does Gamasutra. I filed a story with InformationWeek, which may not go live until Wednesday.

An inquiry about the purpose of the prank to the McDonald's Interactive press email address drew this response, from someone going by the name Harold Burns at an RTMARK email server:

Well, the world is facing greater and greater likelihood of a climate change disaster. Scientists say we need to cut our emissions by 70% in the next few years, or that likelihood will go through the roof.

Markets won't get us there - the most optimistic free marketeers suggest that businesses could be induced to improve their emissions by 20%, on economic grounds at least. "Corporate Social Responsibility" won't do squat - obviously, a company doesn't act counter to the bottom line, no
matter how much it might do within the bounds of profitability. Only legislation will work for something like this - but governments won't do anything against corporate wishes without public outrage forcing them to. It's what ended the Vietnam War - it can make this happen too.

We wanted to see what would happen if a respectable entity presented this obvious (if inconvenient) truth. Invited to the conference as McDonald's, that's what we did. Our talk was the hit of the conference, by all accounts. People were absolutely behind our message, as well they should have been.

We're sorry to disappoint them, but the possibility is of course still there, and we hope they have more hope now, as we do....

As for Molleindustria, there's probably an association, but I'm not speaking for them. Will pass your message on to the appropriate parties.


p.s. We're not rtmark, we're just using their server....

Update: Discussions on the Serious Games mailing list suggest that the hoax is the work of The Yes Men.

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Lot 49 is published by Thomas Claburn. It is made from filtered information about technology, politics, and other topics of interest. For the sake of freshness, artificial ingredients may be added, including hyperbole, irony, and satire. Readers allergic to any of these are strongly advised to seek medical attention.

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