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October 22, 2005

Corridos at InSite05

Anne-Marie Schleiner and Luis Hernandez have collaborated on a project called Corridos commissioned by InSite'05 by curator Mark Tribe. Corridos is a game inspired by the Mexican "outlaw ballad" musical tradition. Professor Americo Paredes first brought this popular musical form to academic attention with his groundbreaking books, With A Pistol In His Hand, and A Texas-Mexican Cancionero.

While the historic corridos commemorated injustices, the contemporary ones glamorize drug trafficers. Both elevate outlaws to hero status, a trait shared with elements of gangsta' rap. The song forms accentuate inequities and insufficiencies in the rule of law and its application.

The game, Corridos, puts the player in the driver's seat of someone wishing to buy and sell drugs and smuggle them across the US-Mexico border at San Ysidro-Tijuana. The developers had precious little time to assemble the work, and so don't expect high levels of polish, but the gameplay allows an adventurous time.

Putting the player in the position of a drug merchant/smuggler does that complex critical thing that games and corridos (the ballad form) does. It elevates the "bad" guy (or gal) and draws attention to the screwed up situations that put her in a situation doing "bad" things.

Corridos (the game) is open-source, and was developed in the open-source and free environment called Blender, so there is an opportunity to contribute to and to extend the game. In this the game emulates that song form, which is itself an open and extensible architecture which accepts extemporaneous variation in song lyric with each performance, as well as the elevation of new (anti)heroes with each passing generation.

Corridos is a smart contribution to the growing canon of border games.
See also:
Ilich, Fran. Beaner
Miranda-Zúñiga, Ricardo. Vagamundo
OnRamp Arts. Tropical America

and of course, Crosser and La Migra, a product of SWEAT

Posted by SWEAT at October 22, 2005 02:16 PM


This is just crazy! I'm apoplectic over this news. Does this deter you from working on political and social commentary in the future?

Esto es unal locura! Tuve mucho miedo de mostrar a Crosser y La Migra mientras viviamos en la frontera. Nuestro collaborador Francisco Ortega fue interrogado mientras que hacia una investigacion para su juego de mesa con temas fronterizas. Lo soltaron despues de tres horas. Estamos viviendo aqui en los estados unidos en una zona de lay martial no anunciada, en la cual los derechos de expresion se han erodado bastante. Por favor cuidanse.

Posted by: Rafael Fajardo at November 24, 2005 09:31 AM

During a luggage search in the Denver airport, the FBI came across the 'Corridos' game. I was interrogated by an FBI officer based in Denver, who asked me if i knew of any terrorist activities in the border, he also asked me if i knew of any secret tunnels in the area. I answered that all the information used in the game was based on what the newspapers and researchers have published and that I ignored of any terrorist activities across the border. He anyway wrote down my address in Mexico City as well as Anne-Marie's in Colorado, with both our phone numbers.

We don't want to be part of a witch hunt in which artists are the target of organizations such as the above mentioned, and showing some knowledge about the life in the border is considered to hide information on terrorism.

November 23, 2005.

Posted by: luis hernandez at November 23, 2005 07:55 PM

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