This Video Game About a Weird Monster is a Video Game About Inequality

In perhaps the most abstruse exploration of an economic theme in a video game since Ms. Pac-Man tackled workplace sexism, game designer Colin Northway says his quirky indie puzzler Incredipede is really a game about … global economic inequality.

Northway talked extensively with the thinky games blog Polygon about how his travels around the world with his wife brought them face to face with the extremes of wealth and poverty that characterize our globalized economy. This, in turn, inspired the design of his game about weird bouncy multi-limbed bug creature named Quozzle making her way from a subsistence farming village to an opulent city apparently based on San Francisco:

“So Quozzle undergoes all of this work and effort to collect all these things, and then she has to trade it to this guy who has power over her, based not on what he’s accomplished in life or what she’s accomplished in life, but where they’re born,” Colin Northway says. “She was born into a tribe where cherries were very valuable, and he was born into a society where cherries were almost worthless.

OK, if you say so, Colin. To be fair, he does recognize that his message may not have come across to most players. “I guess I wish I was less subtle with the story now because I don’t think anyone got it,” he said.

The whole story is really worth a read.

Image via Incredipede


1 Comments / Post A Comment

mygoldies (#2,349)

This just sounds like a normal video game to me. Granted, I haven’t played any video games since MarioKart. (“What up gamers!” – GOOP)

Reading the article, what strikes me as odd is how uncomfortable the developers were with having a housekeeper when they rented a house in the Phillippines. They actually considered firing her to make themselves more comfortable. I understand being uncomfortable with the combination of the low value of human labor with the lack of opportunities for other work that makes full-time help common. But being a housekeeper is honest, respectable work. While one is in that situation, the best thing to do is treat the housekeeper with respect and pay her (or him, but it is usually her) well. Remember to leave a good tip if you’re a guest!

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