Political Game Choices

I think we are all finding it a bit difficult to find political games, although every game I’ve played recently has Deep political undertones, Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and the Witcher. The Hard part lies in finding the actual game that has been made from the design up to be a Political Game.

I really want to Play This World of Mine, it sounds an amazing concept and a great survival game to boot with a powerful message.


The game I decided to run with in the end was Civilisation Beyond Earth, Which although SIFI has a definate real world Politics feel to it. The Very starting choices you make can be difficult and riddled with ethical and moral choices, whether the colonists should be from one demographic or the other. Or what Cargo you should take to start the colony, these decisions set out the very way you colony will develop and have you questioning who you really are for choosing what you did.


Should you choose refuges that are prepared to work and increase your food output, Scientists who will help you develop things faster, engineers for construction or artists for culture? I personally found this was a very difficult decision, who should choose who comes and who stays? and what makes a great civilisation? Of course I chose Artists, I can’t imagine a world with out art, but then I started to think about the poor refugees.


It’s Quite clear from the progress options and the decisions for the various tasks that this is not tagentially political, and more forcing you into making complex political decisions and think about your every move.


The Tech Trees have a large diversity to them and the choices you make litterally decide how your nation evolves, and eventuall leads to not only how you colonise the planet, but also how you take the human race into this new millenium.


Virtues and another Dynamic to your choices, some have you jumping away from your chosen route and picking up Virtues just because they help you more with colonisation or defence.


Purity, Dominance and Harmony are the main outcomes of all your work and decisions within the game world, this effects what units you can create and how you can interact with the environment. I personally went for the Harmony route, living out my idealistic dream of working with my natural surroundings, training the wildlife to ride them and overcoming the dangers by working with them.


The Diplomacy between the nations is a major focus in the design of the game, and adds more decisions to the game that move more away from the survival on an alien world and remind us just how hard it seems to be for nations in the real world to work together for the common good. I genuinely found this frustrating in places but the game plays on this frustration because you may get annoyed with one nation complaining about you building near your borders, and never wanting to make open borders trade agreements, but decide they want to walk all their forces around you small city. This could make you take this as an act of war and make you retaliate, but if like myself you want to take the peaceful diplomatic route you may find that you could up trade to improve relations, even if you do seem to give more than they give back.


I think the Rules work very well in relation to the real world, with the differing nations all working with different outlooks on the way forward. It makes me feel frustrated with it at times, but it also drives me to work at things and try to make a better world. It may just be me who feels that way, but if it can effect me like that then maybe it could have the same effect on others. Although giving you only two choices in some cases can be a little hard to pick from, I’m not sure real world politics are always that black and white.



This week’s topic was political games, and the task is below:

Primary Research Task

• Play a political game

• Is it deliberately political? or TANGENTIALLY political? Is it disruptive in some way – Carnivalesque?

• Is it fun? If not, why not? If it is fun, how does it achieve that engagement for the player? Does the game emphasise player agency?

• What are the rules of the system? Does it employ procedural rhetoric?

• What do the rules mean in relation to the real world?

• How do I feel in response to the rules of the game? Manipulated? Happy to engage? Why?

May need to look at the links Sharon put up for us:

Online articles

http://www.gamasutra.com/views/ news/180775/ Video_Cutthroat_Captialism_educates_ without_manipulation.php

http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/ september-12th-a-toy-world