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The Free Culture Game

Cameron Parkins, September 26th, 2008

The Free Culture Game, created by Molleindustria, is a flashed based abstract art piece that attempts to articulate the interplay between the commons and culture at large. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, we heard about it first on our community lists, but it has since been getting some nice traction elsewhere on the blogosphere. From Rhizome:

Italian artists Molleindustria promise “radical games against the dictatorship of entertainment,” and their latest effort may be their most direct statement against the pleasure industry to date. Touted as “playable theory,” the Free Culture Game offers a ludic metaphor for the battle between copyright encroachments and the free exchange of knowledge, ideas and art.

A circular field represents The Common, where knowledge can be freely shared and created; your job is to maintain a healthy ecology of yellow idea-bubbles bouncing from person to person before they can be sucked into the dark outer ring representing the forces of The Market. Your cursor, shaped like the Creative Commons logo, pushes the ideas around with a sort of reverse-magnetic repulsion field (a clever alternative to the typical shooting, eating or jumping-on-top-of-and-smooshing actions of many other 2-D games). People who absorb free, round ideas stay green and happy, while those who only consume square market-produced ones become grey and inverted.

The game never really ends: you can only do better or worse, suggesting by analogy that the fight for free culture will be an ongoing struggle without end.

3 Responses to “The Free Culture Game”

  1. ex says:

    Actually the game ends: when all the people are green the vectorialist explodes and you see a quote about copyleft. It’s kinda hard though.

  2. Karen Rustad says:

    I just beat it! If you get all the people to green, the copyright machine pops and you get a Borges quote about the cultural commons.

    So perhaps the copyfight is not a Sisyphean struggle…it just feels like it most of the time. :)

  3. Justin says:

    I think the cursor is supposed to be a copyleft logo, rather than Creative Commons, since the C is always facing left. It’s a very nice idea for a game though!

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