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Layoff: The Game, Learn About the Crisis While You Play

Michael Santo's picture

The recession and its toll can be seen every time new unemployment figures come out. And a new game by Tiltfactor's Layoff: The Game, which lets you save companies untold billions by laying off sets of workers.

Layoff: The Game is very similar to Bejeweled. You swap worker figures to create matches of 3 or more, which then clear off the board. But bankers can't be laid off. And as you layoff people, more and more bankers appear.

If you match 5 or more workers, you get a corporate takeover (in other words, more cash than normally).

To make things more humanistic, if you hover your mouse over a character, you get a brief character description. This enables you to feel what many do not when they layoff people: rather than just a number, you are laying off a person. You learn their their hopes, dreams, fears --- and what will happen if they are laid off.

Additionally, Layoff: The Game displays depressing little factoids about the financial crisis in a scrolling headline running across the lower part of the screen.

Tiltfactor describes itself as follows:

The Tiltfactor Laboratory is the first academic center to focus on critical play–a method of using games and play to investigate issues and ideas. Our mission is to research and develop software and playful art that creates rewarding, compelling, and socially-responsible interactions, with a focus on innovative game design for social change.

Here's a comment that Tiltfactor Labs posted on their front page:

"Kind of a sad game if you start reading the personal info of all the people. They become real people and it becomes hard to lay them off. Maybe I just feel this way because it hits close to home. This week is my last week at my relatively decent and moderate good paying job before I get put on a 'indefinite' layoff.

Unemployment rate is 11.6% here so that means I probably won’t be getting another job anytime soon."

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