Howard Dean For Iowa

NEWICONS-02In 2003, the Howard Dean campaign hired designers Ian Bogost and Gonzala Frasca to create a game to help Dean supporters better understand and organize pre-caucus campaigning in Iowa. The game would use graphic elements to help volunteers see how their success in generating supporters increased the success of later efforts. Campaign workers would see how success builds upon itself, an encouraging message for those doing the hard work of door-to-door campaigning.

Players are able to look at a map of Iowa, which starts out nearly all white. As support for Dean was generated in any one region, that part of the map took on a blue tint. Each time the game loaded, the blue tint was adjusted to reflect the growing success for Dean supporters in any given area of Iowa. As players played the game, it became clear that the bluer the area, the more effective supporters there were able to be.

A second feature of the game was the use of instant messaging, which allowed supporters to send messages to friends. Every time a message was successfully delivered, the player got a special supporter unit in the game, making it easier to create a larger network of people getting the message about the Dean campaign.

For more information…
Ian Bogost’s account of the development of the Howard Dean For Iowa game
The original site for the game (but the game is no longer available)


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