The Cat and the Coup is a free documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. It plays like a simple physics puzzle game, it looks like a storybook with artwork inspired by Persian miniatures, it features music by Nine Inch Nails, and if you give it just 15-minutes of your time, it'll teach you the story of a really fascinating period of American and British history involving communist paranoia and a CIA-funded coup d'état.
A video, screenshots and some thoughts below.
The game starts at the end of Mohammed Mossadegh's life, and you control the cat sleeping at the end of the bed. Using only the arrow keys and the space bar to swipe, you then coax Mossadegh through the significant events of his life: from his imprisonment, to the coup that overthrew him, to his nationalising of the Iranian oil industry and the beefs with Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower that inspired. Each scene is a little puzzle with which you interact in simple, cat-like ways, and in so doing the game creates an easily remembered metaphor for each event. It's a compelling way to teach the things that matter about historical events.
It's also fun. Go grab The Cat and the Coup on Steam for free right now. You won't regret the 15 minutes you spend with it.
Still not convinced? There are a few more screenshots of the game below, a bunch more on the official site, and the release trailer below gives you a sense of it:
The Cat and the Coup - Release Trailer from Peter Brinson on Vimeo.