Bankster Games began in 2010 when Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki could not find steady employment after receiving their graduate degrees from UCLA. As their dreams of pursuing the career path that led them to graduate school gradually faded to hopes of finding any job that would allow them to pay their rent with ease, the two found themselves cleaning apartments, painting houses, and performing other odd jobs that made the years of higher education and student loan debt feel like a malicious prank. As they began to put the research skills they had learned to use, reading countless news stories and government reports documenting the massive and blatant fraud that lead to the economic conditions they found themselves in, it became clear that these stories and reports were not accessible to all members of society. One difficulty seemed to be that absorbing certain financial terminology and understanding some of the events was simply an arduous and boring process. The pair hypothesized that perhaps the form of a game could mitigate this obstacle, and Bankster Games was born.
Bankster Games is currently a loose collective dedicated to creating both digital and analog games designed to explain aspects of financialization that may be difficult for people not familiar with finance to understand. Some of our games focus on specific stories that emerged from the financial crisis, while others are intended to provide a more general understanding of a particular aspect of finance. All of our games are available for free, or are sold at cost. Financial support for Bankster Games is provided in part by the Puffin Foundation. If you have also made a game about finance, we would love to hear from you.