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New newsgame: Xtreme Xmas Shopping

My friend Ian Bogost — and his insanely talented group of designers at Persuasive Games — have just released their latest newsgame: Xtreme Xmas Shopping. As they describe it:

Only in America can shopping be considered a contact sport. And Christmas is the Super Bowl for competitive consumers. You’ve got a list of must-buy toys for your little toddler, and you’ll be damned if someone else gets those gifts before you! Use whatever means necessary (physical harm?) to snatch this season’s hottest toys before the other greedy shoppers get their hands on them!

Oh — and merry Christmas!!

It’s actually quite fun! I confess that I’ve always enjoyed the spectacle of toy crazes that produce Australian-rules, smashmouth holiday shopping. Back when Tickle Me Elmo first came out and kids went nonlinear over it, there was an incident in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in which a Wal-Mart employee was sent to the hospital after being stampeded by rabid parents. (Up in Canada, newscasters started referring to the doll as “Trample Me Elmo”.) If there actually were a “War on Christmas”, which there isn’t, one could scarcely ask for a better culprit than America’s annual, Caligulan orgy of consumption.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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