Max McGuire

1 August 2007

Max McGuire / 2007 / USA For Personal Computers

Developed in just 36 hours as part of the 2007 Boston Game Jam design competition, Shift invites the player to manipulate the landscape of the Earth and, in turn, alter social relationships by creating factions delimited by geographic boundaries. The player must allocate supplies of lumber and ore for the various groups to progress toward the space age. The game engages simple principles of social anthropology and geopolitical theory as they affect group dynamics and development.

Ian Bogost, author of Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, writes, “Games represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them.” Games that seek to raise consciousness about global issues are increasingly common. Shift is unique in its employment of abstraction towards that end.