Fat is a gaming issue

The always interesting Persuasive Games launched its latest serious/political/cultural game project today. Entitled Fatworld, it's an exploration of, "the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the contemporary U.S." Your role is to select a character and control them through an accelerated lifespan, planning and implementing their diet based on financial and cultural constraints.

The game explores the sociopolitical paradox in which consumers are told that good nutrition is important, but are often forced into lifestyles where good eating becomes almost impossible. "Packaged foods make our overworked lives more convenient at the hidden cost of poor nutrition. Our hyper-consumerist, debt-driven culture impels us to work more, both pushing us toward high-fat fast food convenient and appealing and structuring our lives so we don't think we can make any time for exercise."

It's an intriguing idea, carried out in Persuasive's usual graphical style, which blends satirical cuteness with gallons of peripheral detail. If you've read Fat Land, Fast Food Nation or one of the many other books dealing with the politics of junk food and obesity, give it a look. And considering the recent comments of McDonalds UK chief Steve Easterbrook, who claimed videogames are a key lifestyle element in the rise of childhood obesity (more here), the game couldn't be more timely.

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