Serious Policy?

By Jim Rossignol on November 19th, 2007 at 12:43 pm.

A “serious” game based on driving government policy. What what? The website goes some way to explaining what this free sim is all about:

The SeriousPolicy Game sets the player on a mission to win Treasury funding for a new policy. Players can get advice from Tony Blair, get on Alistair Darling’s nerves, or get congratulated by the PM. Along the way you wander through a virtual Members’ Lobby, pop into a simulated Treasury and are summoned to a stunningly realistic digital Number 10. A Paris Hilton look-alike provides some light relief and the MC has more than a passing resemblance to Keira Knightly.


Passing resemblance, riiight. I’m not sure whether I learned anything about making government policy by playing this, especially as the various characters say pretty much the same thing, no matter what angle you take on things. If a serious game is going to rely on principles of teaching people how to understand the workings of real-world processes, then it needs to provide them with interesting decisions and demonstrate some consequences from those decisions. Serious Policy doesn’t do that, at least not yet.

Popping balloons in a harrier didn’t really give the idea that I was making serious decisions about millions of pounds of tax-payer’s money much credibility, either. There’s probably a pretty good governmental RPG to be made, one that can talk about some of the complexities involved. This isn’t barely a proof of concept, although I suspect (vaguely hope) that it might evolve over time into something a little more fruitful.

The 23mb download is right here.

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8 Comments »

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  1. Jarmo says:

    Sounds like the status of Balance of Power and Hidden Agenda as the reigning policy simulators is not yet threatened. It’s a bit sad that they are both so old and still haven’t been toppled from their thrones.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_Power_(computer_game)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Agenda_(game)

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Funnily enough, someone passed me a copy of Positech’s more-recent Democracy…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_(game)

    Which is a fun internal policy game.

    KG

  3. Iain says:

    The best politics-based game I’ve played was Dictator on the Spectrum.

    It always ended up pretty much in the same way (either getting put up against a wall and shot, or you escaping to Switzerland with a helicopter specially purchased for the occasion using money defrauded from government coffers), but it was quite replayable. I think this might actually be the game that gave me my megalomaniac complex. Graphically, it wasn’t great even for the early 1980’s but it was still a heck of a lot more accessible than Republic: The Revolution…

  4. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Gaming: serious business.

  5. AbyssUK says:

    Warning political joke : Upon asking Tony Blair on how to get funding, is his answer is to simply ‘give’ out a few more honours

  6. nectarine says:

    The most fun policy making game has got to be galactic civilization 2. Not exactly a “serious” game, but the implications of actual governmental policies are most definitely played out.

  7. Bob Arctor says:

    Floor 13 as well. Not quite running a country more keeping a country ignorant of events.

    http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=419

  8. Merman says:

    Retro gamers will remember “Yes Prime Minister” based on the BBC TV comedy, an icon-driven game where the civil service frustrated you at every turn and a week was indeed a long time in politics…