Games and Civic Engagement

Tonguc Sezen, Digdem Sezen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Since mid-2000’s game scholars have been discussing the use of video games as tools for expressing timely political reactions to world events. Yet, throughout the last decade, in comparison to social media, their role in the formation of political discourse has been limited. Nevertheless, around the world there are still periods of political and social unrest during which the production of politically motivated video games peak.
In June 2013, during the occupation of Gezi Park in Istanbul, a group of indie game developers had organized a game jam to support the goals of the protesters. While most of the games produced in this jam were based on the conflict between the protesters and the security forces; their political motivation and arguments regarding the causes and possible goals of the protests were also visible in their design. In 2016, another crisis, the July 15th failed coup attempt too motivated developers to release games protesting alleged groups behind it. While games produced during the Gezi Park protests and after the July 15th coup attempt had similarities in their design and even production cycles; the construction of their political discourses and the political environment in which they were produced were quite different. In this paper we will provide a comparative evaluation of these recent uses of video games as a means of political discussion and expression. We will provide an overview of individual games and their design, the historical and political contexts shaping their meaning, and in selected cases use let’s play videos and quotes from comment sections to glimpse into their perception by players. We will finally discuss the relevance of concept of current event games within contemporary global media landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventMedia in Transition Conference 2019: Democracy and Digital Media - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States
Duration: 17 May 201918 May 2019
Conference number: 10


ConferenceMedia in Transition Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleMiT
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Games and Civic Engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this