DISCUSS THIS: Riot Simulator Video Game Based on Actual Events

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Stephanie Alderdice


You can't escape the nitty gritty details of humanity in forensics. From the personal aspects in interp and oratory to the political impacts in extemp and debate, the core of our conversations boils down to understanding the human condition. True, it is messy and complicated, but that is also what makes the activity so thought provoking.

Perhaps it is the intersection of the personal and the political that makes the game, Riot, an interesting topic of discussion. A small team of game designers in Italy are working to produce a "a detailed and polished simulator based on the actions of real riots happening around the world." The simulator would allow players to choose whether to play as rioters or police. They are soliciting funds on Indiegogo with the hopes of releasing the game on iOS and Android - then eventually for PC and Mac. According to the creators:

"The main purpose of this project is to create a game that will get people to be interactive with two opposing forces during clashes between rioters and police while showing the moral aspects and viewpoints of both sides."

 The game has sparked interest amongst a handful of gaming sites such as Kotaku and IndieGames. While the Indiegogo page lists "a way to visit and observe the various riots and manifestations happening in our world today," as one of the objectives of the fundraising campaign, details about *which* protests they are targeting are sparse. 

What do you think? By stating that the purpose of the game is to show the "moral aspects and viewpoints" of rioting, do you think the game can effectively move from entertainment to education? Or is it simply a game of violence and strategy with an interesting twist? Given that the game is based on real events, what does that mean for the people and politics on which it is based? While 8-bit characters may evaporate in the game, rioting can have far greater consequences in the real world.

 Check out the official game trailer above and see it for yourself. Whether you need a conversation starter or an example for a speech, Riot is sure to draw some attention.

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DISCUSS THIS: Fantasy Forensics Round - 2012 Election Edition

Posted on September 07, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice


If you've been following the upcoming presidential election, then the past two weeks have been bursting with noteworthy events. With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions having wrapped up, Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan have been officially nominated by their respective parties. More notable than the nominations, however, were the speeches. 

So we're wondering, what if this were a tournament? I mean, sure, based on Bill Clinton's 49 minute speech, it would be a very, very, long round. But if you were handed a ballot and asked to rank the following six individuals based on the speeches they gave at their respective conventions, who would you award first place? 

Barack Obama
Mitt Romney
Bill Clinton
Paul Ryan
Michelle Obama
Ann Romney

Join the conversation on Twitter and at Facebook

Image via Hollywood Reporter.

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DISCUSS THIS: Life Changing Performances

Posted on September 04, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice


Yesterday afternoon, news broke that actor Michael Clarke Duncan had passed away due to complications from a heart attack that occurred earlier in the summer. Affectionately known as a 'gentle giant,' at over six feet tall and 315 lbs, Duncan appeared in films such as Armageddon and his voice to Kung Fu Panda. His presence was hard to miss. 

His most recognized role, however, was his breakout performance alongside Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. An adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a death row prisoner with supernatural abilities, Duncan's portrayal of the sensitive Coffey earned him numerous awards and an Oscar nomination. Though the events of the film were set during the Great Depression, it struck a nerve with modern audiences. Viewers left not only talking about the performances, but the complicated message regarding the death penalty. 

Duncan's legacy is an important one for forensics. It is proof that powerful performances find a place in our hearts and minds. It is a reminder that performances are an opportunity to entertain, educate, and spark discussion. Even if we disagree on how we would "rank" a round or even interpret a text, pieces with a message force us to go from passive viewers to active participants in the discussion. Trophies are nice. But changing someone's mind about how they see the world is so much more impressive. 

So tell us: Have you witnessed a performance that changed your outlook on the world? (It can be an interp, speaking event, or even a debate round.) Have you ever discussed the message of a topic or piece when you went home? As a competitor, what subject matters are you interested in exploring?

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