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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sandra Day O’Connor Caulks Her Wagon To Float Over a River of Civic Indifference

posted by on June 5 at 12:02 PM


Will a video game co-created by a Supreme Court Justice win over the kids? You might think edutainment died with the Oregon Trail, but even if next year’s Our Courts bombs, there’s something to be said about an influential person giving games the benefit of the doubt—and passively-aggressively bashing Bush’s educational policies in the process.

O’Connor said that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 has “effectively squeezed out civics education” from public schools. “We can’t forget that the primary purpose of public schools in America is to produce citizens who have the skills and knowledge to sustain our form of government,” she said. “Public education is the only longterm solution to preserving an independent judiciary and constitutional democracy.”

A good place to start is to let kids digitally re-enact court cases… which sounds LAME (wha, no shotguns to pwn n00b judge5?), until you see that the game’s cases revolve around teens and their rights as students. If the Wired story is correct, Our Courts will take on the “Bong Hits For Jesus” case, which should make computer lab class a little more awesome for every tie-dyed T-shirt wearing pre-teen in suburbia.

I’m all for games with a social conscience, though they’re a tough sell in a GTA world. From this writeup, it looks like O’Connor is at least smart enough to market this one directly to schools and classrooms—kids will play anything as long as it gets them out of doing real classwork—but wake me up when Gears of War sets up camp in, say, northern Uganda.

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i would play this game in a hearbeart. different strokes for different folks.

Posted by tfifany | June 5, 2008 12:17 PM

@1: I should've put "LAME" in quotes. I would play this game as well; I also happen to be a total goody-goody who has an active interest in the judicial system. So, you know, there's that.

Posted by Sam M. | June 5, 2008 12:22 PM

Speaking of GTA, this reminds me of the fake radio ad for the Sim-City-like Civil Service game.

Posted by harold | June 5, 2008 12:34 PM

p.s. the oregeon trail game was also rad.

Posted by tfifany | June 5, 2008 12:48 PM

A good place to start is to let kids digitally re-enact court cases… which sounds LAME

You've obviously never played Phoenix Wright. (Well, neither have I, to be fair.) But it could be a fun game if it had lots of "OBJECTION!" and "OVERRULED!" thrown in.

Add Harvey Birdman, Matlock, and Sam Waterston as playable characters and you're on to something.

Posted by K | June 5, 2008 1:24 PM

@5: There's actually a Harvey Birdman game for the PS2 and Wii. It's supposed to be funny but simple. And I don't count Phoenix Wright as the same thing as what Sandra's doing here--that game's a cheesier Law & Order. Fun, but sensationalized.

Posted by Sam M. | June 5, 2008 1:28 PM

Ironic that when she was sitting on the Supreme Court, she opposed having cameras there. That would have been more helpful for civic engagement with the Supreme Court. Count me as a skeptic on this upcoming title.

Posted by shalini_avvo | June 7, 2008 8:51 AM

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