It’s been a few weeks since we saw inexplicably famous white nationalist Richard Spencer punched in the face, and the world has only gotten stranger. Luckily, games are an excellent outlet to explore the world around us. Handväska! is a silly response to the rise of modern fascism.
Handväska! was made as part of the 2017 Global Game Jam. It was inspired by the 1985 photo of Danuta Danielsson swatting a Nordic Reich supporter in the head with her purse. Danielsson was a Polish Jew whose mother died in a concentration camp during World War Two. It’s a serious source of inspiration considering Handväska’s comedic tone.
The game is simple enough. Line yourself up and charge towards a blocky group of fascists. With enough speed and a powerful swat of your purse, you’ll send them tumbling into the air in a dazzling display. It’s a game that you play in bursts, a sort of digital stress ball for the current, dire zeitgeist.
It’s definitely healthy to use games as an escape from the world from time to time. To enter into a less political sphere where you slay demons, kiss aliens or cruise the countryside. Handväska! leans in the other direction, wearing politics on its sleeve and turning real anxieties into a cartoonish but cathartic experience.
Even small gestures like this help express how powerful games can be for confronting dangerous realities. Handväska! is silly and brash. It’s a reminder to find some humour in the day to day messiness around us and a great example of how politics don’t always have to be depressing.