The Failings of 'Serious Games': Packaging Man Ian Bogost has a short little note on a 'serious game' called Packaging Man , which was apparently intended 'to raise awareness about the destructive impact fast food paper packaging has on Southern forests.' Unfortunately for Dogwood Alliance , the creator, the game is a slightly retooled version of Pac-man , and the 'environmental message' seems confined to the (skippable) intro. Ian wasn't terribly impressed:

So when I received creator Dogwood Alliance's announcement I took them up on their offer to answer questions. Explain to me, I asked as nicely as I'm probably capable of, how your game, a straight port of Pac-Man with some colors changed, represents "saving forest creatures by collecting excessive packaging and recycling it?" They were kind enough to reply, citing the opening sequence and the end-of level "call to action" petition. They also pointed me to environmental blog Gristmill's mention of the game, which generally mirrors my opinion. So many missed opportunities. I may have built a reputation for taking pleasure from negative reviews of serious games, but I'd really much rather write positive ones. I just never seem to get the opportunity to do so.
As he points out, the short page on the creator's website does a much better job of informing the audience than the game, which does very little informing at all. 'If the two pages of text on a webpage offers so much more rich and subtle information than a game, then why bother with the game?' he asks. Why indeed — I've played some interesting 'serious games,' but really, a mere Pac-man clone does not a 'serious game' make. At least, not an effective one. Packaging Man: Skip the Wrapper and the Game [Water Cooler Games]