John Oliver skit on a peace negotiation game World of Peacecraft

The first season of John Oliver’ s new HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is becoming a game-changing news entertainment show. John Oliver is certainly less smug, creepy and bigoted than Bill Maher, the host of a similar news entertainment show also on HBO. John Oliver’s show is also employing social media to great effect, as when he called viewers to message to FCC on Net Neutrality. The show also addressed native advertising’s influence on news media, which delighted me as an alienated news practitioner.

The August 10 edition of Last Week Tonight featured a skit about a game  based on peace negotiations instead of military combat. World of Peacecraft satirizes the banality and despair of ongoing peace negotiations.

A few games have tried to employ nonviolent conflict resolution as a theme and as a gameplay tool.  Games that come to mind are  A Force More Powerful(2006), Peacemaker(2007), and Fate of the World(2011). However Most of these games were educational, were made by small developers, and have not gained as popular a following as military-based shooting or strategy games.

One of the most popular games to address violence in the medium is Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil(2003). In the game, players control a character that uses photography and less-lethal martial arts to subdue enemies and achieve their goals.

However, given that graphic violence is the norm in video game marketing, peaceful methods as a theme or gameplay tool will likely not catch on among big publishers anytime soon.


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