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House Of Cards + Monument Valley: The gaming metaphor that works

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house of cards monument Valley. the action pixel. @theactionpixel

house of cards monument Valley. the action pixel. @theactionpixelOf course you all are getting you fix of the great Mr. FU- President Frank Underwood as he cuts a path through Congress and DC to further his grip on America’s political landscape in the original Netflix series House of Cards. Played by the superb Kevin Spacey, we can’t help but love and despise the president and his dubious tactics. Like a Light Yagami. No Death Note, just pushing people in front of trains.

It is no surprise to anyone who has been watching House Of Cards that Frank Underwood’s character has a passion for the video game. Often seen (forcibly sometimes) bashing away at some (Playstation) controller, or checking out that PS Vita controller.

But in Season 3 (no SPOILERS per say, but cover your eyes anyway) House Of Cards interesting uses a game to represent symbolically the ever shifting landscape Underwood faces traversing the DC political minefields; the iOS/Android puzzle game Monument Valley.

monument Valley. the action pixel. @theactionpixelIn the series we see Frank Underwood, who prefers his 1st player shoot-em-ups, get convinced by a writer’s article to play the puzzle game Monument Valley. In the game players try to get a protagonist, princess Ida through labyrinths and illusions to reach her ultimate goal, solving puzzles and manipulating paths to get there.

Frank Underwood and Ida have much in common, as he also manipulates his environment, i.e. congressmen, his wife, diplomacy, the law and constitution, FEMA, his subordinates…. to achieve his end.

Unlike the Sony’s placement products, this game seemed less forced in the narrative. This was further confirmed by the game’s creator Ustwo claims there wasn’t any deal in place re product placement of Monument Valley in House Of Cards.

Just from the strength of the film series alone is sure to get even more traffic to the puzzle game. The game its is addictive and I do play to give my brain some crunches, but to think an indie title could receive more organic fanfare than those other forced games and devices in House Of Cards is proof that game experiences is not monopolised by triple A games, and the fact writers worked this game in as a metaphor for Frank Underwood’s political traversing through American politics shows Hollywood and Film’s attitude toward gaming is maturing.