It’s a pretty interesting time for politics at the moment (although when isn’t it?). A few days ago the Polish President was killed in a plane crash, last month the US saw a health care reform bill pass and last week the current political party in the UK (the Labour party) called a general election. It’s no surprise that politics affects us all but what has been surprising to me is just how people take an interest in it. You only need to check out blogs like Rock Paper, Shotgun to read their take on democracy and even a casual remark in a non-MMORPG post I wrote a couple of weeks ago sparked off a fascinating debate in the comments section. Seems that more people are interested in politics than I thought or, possibly more accurately, cared to notice.
Has there ever been a politics video game? I know a fair number of games with political elements but most tend to focus on something more, well, exciting like global conquest or strategy. I guess a game revolving purely politics doesn’t hold much appeal because it’s seen as being quite boring and maybe it would be. But what a politics MMORPG? Surely interacting with other players in a mock bid to govern countries would be a lot more exciting?
A politics MMO might see every player roleplaying a politician. When they start the game they can choose a country and corresponding party to belong to. After that, it’s completely up to them and their interactions with other politicians to decide on who leads the party, what responsibilities members have, what their party agenda is, and how they interact with other parties and countries. Parties wouldn’t need to be restricted to classic democracy systems either although, assuming every country has some sort of voting power and military coups aren’t possible, they would still need to rely on electoral votes to gain power.
Obviously the game would need to have sophisticated AI to help mimic the results of elections and the general happiness or unrest of the population as well as simulate random events such as natural disasters and recessions. Graphics wouldn’t be an issue because, really, what would you do apart from stare at your avatar sitting in building all day? I imagine the interface to be more high level and Football Manager or Civilisation-esque.
Naturally the game wouldn’t, and couldn’t, be a perfect simulator of the real world but it could be very interesting to play and even study from a anthropological point of view as it focuses on the interactions between players more than anything else.
Would you play a politics MMORPG? And if so, what would you try to do? I can’t decide if I’d go for Communism or Fascism.
P.S. Turns out there is already a politics video game called The Political Machine by Stardock. Found it when I was looking around for an image to make a quip about.