I Got Election: Time To Invest In Democracy?

By Kieron Gillen on April 6th, 2010 at 2:30 pm.

Yeah, it better not end up like this.

In an example of the sort of shameless marketeer behaviour with we loathe, fear and high approve of, Cliffski of Positech has celebrated the just-announced opportunity to choose our evil masters for the next few years and/or until a mid-00s Fascist Putsch by putting his Democracy 2 on sale. Just for today, it’s 50% off if you enter the code, meaning you can pretend to do a better job than any of the actual candidates in the comfort of your own whatever-room-where-your-PC-lives. Press release follows…

Today, 6th April, with absolutely no surprise to anyone in the UK, the UK government has condescended to allow an election and ask the voters their view.
British games company Positech Games is frankly so appreciative of this opportunity for voters to have their say that today it offers it’s award winning ‘run the country’ simulation game ‘Democracy 2′ for half price, to celebrate a rare outbreak of Democracy in their native country.

UK Voters have a choice between three married, wealthy, middle class, middle-aged white men, and a voting system that means they are statistically likely to be wasting their time, but they can show Brown,Clegg and Cameron how things should be done by running a country of their own, as they take on the role of Prime Minister in Democracy 2.

There is a free demo of the game available here
http://www.positech.co.uk/democracy2/index.html
And a special buy page with a discount code for today only here:
http://www.positech.co.uk/democracy2/UK2010.html
Democracy 2 is the political strategy game designed by ex-lionhead developer ‘cliffski’, generally known as the man behind ‘Gratuitous Space Battles’.

And here’s Turbonegro.

Due to my knee-jerk innuendo fevered thirteen-year-old’s mind, I’ll spend the next month or so snigger at headlines like ELECTION FEVER. Missus. OO-Er, etc.

, , , , .

56 Comments »

  1. M says:

    Definitely worth the money. Great developer, and the game’s a good way to whittle away a few hours. Had a load of fun with it.

  2. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    Yep, I’m in. I’ve had my eye on this for yonks. Nice and topical and £8 looks like a bargain.

  3. wyrmsine says:

    Very much fun, and highly recommended. My only issue with it is that I laughed beer out my nose when I realized that “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!” was actually a sustainable policy.

  4. Lambchops says:

    Bought. I quite liked the demo at the time but never got around to buying it. I’m sure I can run the country better than those fuckers!

    Cheers for pointing this out; no way I would have spotted it otherwise.

  5. Lambchops says:

    Also the fact that it’s going to take about half an hour to downloaad 33 MB of game is bringing me back to the glory days of 56k!

  6. Otagan says:

    I almost bit the bullet and bought this a month ago, but decided to hold off. Looks like now is my time.

  7. Him says:

    It’s a telling sign that I’ve read a lot of RPS that I caught the Turbonegro pun immediately, and the impending Positech article a picosecond later. What has your mad science done to my synapses?! Still, at that price it’s hard to *not* buy Democracy 2. Pun about Democracy being on sale notwithstanding.

  8. JB says:

    Hmm. I hope Tei doesn’t notice the crossbow in that youtube “video”, or we’ll be on the Wookie defence again…

  9. Lack_26 says:

    Just brought it, to be honest I’d forgotten about this game so this was a nice reminder that I was intending to buy it. That and I like the cut of Cliffski’s jib.

  10. Grunt says:

    LOVE the press release, Cliffski. It says exactly what we’re all thinking.

  11. Lambchops says:

    Haha, my first go ended in me getting killed by extremist patriots. Bastards!

  12. Banana says:

    “Dig a hole in the ground – Erection”. If you have Spotify listen to “We’re gonna drop the atom bomb” for even better lyrics.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    We played this for a forum participation game a while back. It was good fun, although there was an issue where the support for different voting blocs didn’t save properly, so we were forced to abandon the game. I don’t know if this has been resolved since then.

  14. Flimgoblin says:

    Sold!

  15. GYAD says:

    ‘…UK Voters have a choice between three married, wealthy, middle class, middle-aged white men…’

    The sniff of disapproval is so tedious. How dare those party members not realise they should be electing figures from PC central casting. How dare those people actually join a party and then expect to be allowed to pick the leader they want. Of course if class, sex and race really mean nothing then it remains a mystery why middle class white men are somehow worse than the alternatives…

    But yeah, nice deal.

    • TeeJay says:

      “…and lower taxes in sweden will mean poor people get less money…”???

      Please Mr ‘I was parliamentary researcher for anne widdicombe’ tory-boy, if you are going to start talking politics here, make sure you don’t run off crying “but I was just joking” whenever people call you out on what you’ve posted, eh?

    • TeeJay says:

      Of course a bunch of silly ‘political activist’ twats can join their twattish parties and pick the other stupid twats of their choice. Noone is saying they aren’t allowed to do so. People are free to be utter twats and carry on with their pathetic shit-for-brains game playing and bullshit all they want. Sadly the political set-up in the UK makes it very hard to break into politics outside of the ‘big 3′ parties in most places so most people who do want to contribute end up joining in with one or other of these stupid micro-clubs of self-appointed twats.

      You are right that there is nothing intrinsic about wealth, skin-colour or gender that makes someone unsuitable as a leader. The comment is more about how the supposed “choice” isn’t really much of a choice for most people. I for example live in such a safe seat that I might as well not have any kind of vote at all in General Elections (as opposed to the european or local ones when it is in fact worth voting). It is this lack of actual and meaningful choice that is the problem, both in the voting system, the almost identical policies, the identical mealy-mouthed bullshit, the identical control-freakery and expense-claiming-theivery or the identical people pretending they are somehow different to each other. Yeah one of the “big 3″ may be so, so different from the others, but I can’t see it from where I am sitting. The wealth, skin-colour and gender just underlines or is symbolic of this, rather than being the reason or criteria for it.

      And what do you think?

    • James G says:

      My current MP is Alistair Darling. In the last election he had a 20pt lead over both the Tories and the Lib Dems. Other candidates barely made an impression. The election is a bit of a forgone conclusion in my constituency, even given the swing. In some way its liberating, at least I don’t have to consider if I’m wanting to vote for my favourite, or to stop the least favourite.

    • GYAD says:

      Err…Hello again.

      I made two serious points in the previous thread (1. lower taxes don’t automatically mean the poor suffer and 2. The French health care system is better than the US system) and replied to you on the former account (without receiving a response) whilst we agreed on the latter. The rest was jokey hence me admitting it was a joke when the use of ALLCAPS or referring to La Thatch as a ‘devil’ apparently didn’t trigger awareness.

      That aside, nope, not Tory, though I am right-wing (I’m gonna guess that you aren’t). And sad to say, I haven’t even met Anne Widdicome- though I did accidentally end up in David Cameron’s office once with a Labour researcher by mistake (oh, the japes).

      “silly ‘political activist’ twats”

      Charming. How silly and twattish to actually, y’know, engage with parliamentary politics. My point was simply that the leaders of the parties are chosen by their party members, so if you want a different leader then join the party and help choose. And if you’re one of the people who isn’t ‘white/middle class/wealthy etc.’, or you even know one, and you/they are political then friggen’ well get (them) involved in politics rather than complaining.

      “The comment is more about how the supposed “choice” isn’t really much of a choice for most people.”

      Why? Cliffski’s comment didn’t mention policies, it mentioned utterly irrelevant aspects of the leaders character which you yourself admit don’t matter. If he’d said we had a choice between 3 men who all actively support democracy and capitalism or something similar then I couldn’t have commented and would have gone back to replaying Vice City.

      “Yeah one of the “big 3″ may be so, so different from the others, but I can’t see it from where I am sitting.”

      I agree. Though probably for very different reasons to you. What would you like to see the parties proposing, or do you just want clear divisions between the parties?

    • TeeJay says:

      @ GYAD

      What you claim you were saying:

      > “lower taxes don’t automatically mean the poor suffer”

      What you actually posted in response to “Taxes get lower and poor people get even less money”:

      > “Err…no. Poor people get to keep more money rather than handing it over to the Govt which then gives them a little back. Low taxes usually not only increase tax revenues (more rich domiciles, less tax evasion, increased growth) but are actually good for the poor because (unsurprisingly) they spend the money better than the Govt.”

      As for “without receiving a response” – both I and another poster pointed put that many poor people don’t pay income tax yet recieve a lot of benefits and services that depend on government spending and that the tax cuts in Sweden were on high income bracket taxes, yet you didn’t engage with this at all.

      What you said about the Obama health-care bill:

      > “…its a really goddam stupid idea. Just adopt the French system already. Its cheaper and it works.”

      When I pointed out that the French system is funded by an extra 14% on income tax your response was:

      > “The French System: I didn’t say the US would adopt it, only that it ought to.”

      I can’t see where I “agreed” with you.

      I would have debated all this with you back on that thread but you were the one who failed to engage with any of the points being put to you, and your last post included the comment “my whole analysis of the article wasn’t exactly serious”.

      Now here you are saying rubbish like: “If anything we should celebrate that Eton is so successful in producing Prime Ministers.”

      Do you actually realise what a moronic comment that is? Or was it another of your little “jokes”?

      Sorry, but why should I even bother *trying* having a proper discussion about ‘what I’d like to see the parties saying’ with someone who is either so utterly ignorant or confused about really basic issues (eg tax, meritocracy) or gets out of every argument via spouting sarcastic nonsense then flounching off.

    • merc says:

      Bravo GYAD, took the words right out of my mouth. What the fuck is that? What, policy isn’t even a consideration; you’re all white men so ya’ll must be exactly the same? Cram that racist shit up your arse.

    • TeeJay says:

      Except that their policies *are* all more or less the same.

  16. Kierkegaard says:

    I may have to buy this game solely for the pleasure of listening to Turbonegro while playing… Reminds me of playing risk and listening to Sepultura’s “War for territory”…

  17. Alastayr says:

    Finally a chance to send cliffski some money. I’m only laterally interested in the game so 9€ rubs me the right way. Oh yeah, that’s some nice rubbing there Democracy 2. Go on, rub further and a bit to the left… mhh…

  18. TheApologist says:

    @GYAD

    Really? Really? Seriously? You’re honestly getting on the defensive about a light-hearted press release?

    The capacity for white middle class men to get ‘sniffy’ every time anyone hints at their advantages in life never ceases to amaze and annoy.

    Particularly when in six weeks we are likely to have voted in the 20th prime minister from Eton school.

    • TeeJay says:

      Women in parliament:
      Rwanda: 48.8%
      Sweden: 45.3%
      Norway: 37.9%
      Finland: 37.5%
      Denmark: 36.9%
      Netherlands: 36.7%
      Cuba: 36%
      Spain: 36%
      Costa Rica: 35.1%
      Argentina: 35%
      Mozambique: 34.8%

      UK: 20%
      Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan: 0%
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4758036.stm
      and
      http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/world.htm

    • TeeJay says:

      “Ethnic Minorities in Politics, Government and Public Life”
      http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/briefings/snsg-01156.pdf

      Current estimate of “non-white” population of UK = c. 10%
      Number of MPs = 2.3%

      cf.
      France = 0.4% versus c.13% pop
      Germany = 1.3% versus c.5% pop.
      Netherlands = 8% versus c.11% pop.
      USA = 14% versus 35% pop.
      Canada = 7.8% versus 16% pop.
      NZ = 24.1% versus 32% pop.
      European Parliament = 1.1% versus 5%

      (PS The fact that people like David Lammy, Diane Abbott & Keith Vaz are morons is beside the point. the issue isn’t about specific individuals, it’s about the way the political machines work)

    • TeeJay says:

      …and here’s Trevor Phillips (admittedly also a moron), but also a New labour groupie & friend of Blair talking about whether Obama would have become leader in the UK:

      “The public in this country would, he [Phillips] believes, embrace a black leader but the system would prevent it happening. “Here, the problem is not the electorate, the problem is the machine.” It was no coincidence that there were only 15 ethnic-minority MPs, he said. “The parties and the unions and the think-tanks are all very happy to sign up to the general idea of advancing the cause of minorities but in practice they would like somebody else to do the business. It’s institutional racism.”

      The Conservatives had done better than Labour at increasing the number of black and Asian candidates. “They are less democratic. They are happier to impose candidates on the local parties.” Labour was too in hock to “the trade unions, the socialist societies, the left intelligentsia, and until you get them to accept that they have got a responsibility to do something it is almost impossible for the party leadership to make progress”.

      It would, he thinks, have been impossible for Mr Obama to become prime minister in this country. “If Barack Obama had lived here I would be very surprised if even somebody as brilliant as him would have been able to break through the institutional stranglehold on power within the Labour Party.”

    • GYAD says:

      @TheApologist
      I found cliffiski’s comment symptomatic. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy (he sounds it in the comment below) and I can see the humour but what he still made a statement which suggested that the leaders of main political parties were somehow invalidated by their class/race/gender. You’re doing exactly the same thing with the discrimination against Cameron because of his schooling. If anything we should celebrate that Eton is so successful in producing Prime Ministers.

      @TeeJay
      And? Women/non-whites in Parliament are indeed under-represented but this is a meritocracy. I’ve met Trevor Phillips and he’s a smart bunny but his golden boy, the Tories, have achieved high female/non-white representation only by trampling all over democracy. Forced representation is not a good idea.

    • Pantsman says:

      @GYAD: There’s nothing about his comment that suggests that their station invalidates them as candidates, though I can certainly see how the kind of person who gets defensive when people start talking about discrimination might think there were.

      The natural interpretation seems to me to be that he’s just pointing out that there’s a discrepancy between the representatives and who they are supposed to represent, which is a sign that the society in question is not as much of a meritocracy as some might like to believe – unless one accepts that married, wealthy, middle-class, middle-aged white men are on average simply more meritorious than other kinds of people.

      And yes, these men were chosen by the people who choose to be involved in the parties. That doesn’t answer the real question that should be raised in someone’s mind by this discrepancy. It just means that one should look for the answer by studying these people.

    • GYAD says:

      @Pantsman
      I don’t want to blow this out of proportion but the original PR release suggested that a choice between the three party leaders was no choice at all. This was demonstrated by defining the leaders by race/gender/class which is a dodgy metric.

      I’m afraid your understanding of representation is flawed. MP’s aren’t supposed to represent us physically, by race or gender, but are supposed to represent our best interests in Parliament. Similarly your understanding of a meritocracy. Every MP could be black, female, upper class and lesbian it could still be a meritocracy if they were the best people for the job. Race and gender (amongst others) have nothing to do with merit.

    • Pantsman says:

      @GYAD
      “Similarly your understanding of a meritocracy. Every MP could be black, female, upper class and lesbian it could still be a meritocracy if they were the best people for the job. Race and gender (amongst others) have nothing to do with merit.”
      Yes, exactly. And so, in a meritocracy, one would expect to see a distribution such people in power that roughly matched the distribution of such people in the population. But we don’t see that. Ergo, we don’t live in a meritocracy. I think it’s your understanding of meritocracy that’s a bit off. Either that or your understanding of statistics.

    • Pantsman says:

      @myself: It occurs to me that perhaps I shouldn’t talk about “we”, since I’m not a Brit. But the same thing can be seen to a degree here in Canada as well.

    • Pantsman says:

      @myself: And one more clarification. “Every MP could be black, female, upper class and lesbian it could still be a meritocracy if they were the best people for the job.” That would be rather unlikely in a society not comprised entirely of such people. And a mostly black, female, upper class and lesbian pariament with exactly such PMs being the case for decades is so unlikely as to be essentially impossible in a society not comprised entirely of such people.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ GYAD

      I’ve been fairly involved in local politics in the past (and helped on some national campaigns and in NGOs etc) and I have seen certain people going from student politics to local party activist or researcher to local councillor and then onwards into national level politics. I have had people suggesting I should stop the campaigning I was doing (which was making them uncomfortable) and join their party as it offered ‘future prospects’. I’ve known people who are active in all the main parties as qwell as lots of other politically active people.

      The idea that the end result of who gets what posts is “meritocracy” is bizarre. It’s far more about joining a certain ‘club’, putting in the time leafletting, supporting the right ‘patron’, stabbing people in the back at the right time, bleating the party line, turning up to endless meetings and having various other contacts, friends, family, school mates, union involvement, business contacts or millions of pounds in the bank. Being able to avoid answering questions and turning every answer into a by-rote party-political broadcast is as much ‘public speaking’ skill needed.

      So I suppose if this is what you mean by “merit”, then yes, then British party politics is a “meritocracy” – in a system based on twattishness, the biggest twat wins ‘on merit’.

      …and then the public get to vote on which of two twats will be the next uber-twat.

    • DaveyJones says:

      “in a system based on twattishness, the biggest twat wins ‘on merit’.
      …and then the public get to vote on which of two twats will be the next uber-twat.”

      TeeJay, that quote’s gonna live on forever, haha :D

  19. cliffski says:

    For what its worth, I’m white, middle class and middle aged myself :D
    I was working class once mind… Till I got a cushy job making games…

    • GYAD says:

      I still love you man, *sob*. ;)

      I like John Peats idea of a ‘The Thick of It’ version. Peter Capaldi being your tutorial would be pretty special. And a ‘cock-up-ometer’.

    • Bullwinkle says:

      Is this why the game comes with 40 loading screen quotes, and they’re all from Obama?

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’d rather see bushisms. I’m playing to be entertained after all.

  20. John Peat says:

    Curses to you swinish discount fairies – I’d convinced myself so many times I should not pay money for a game which is just drumming the futility of life into me (I bought The Sims once too!!) but then you go and do this!!!

    Upside – if more people buy it Cliff might do a D3 with corruption, lobbying and all that stuff (the soul of politics) in it.

    Think “Democracy – The Thick of It Edition” and you’ll make a fortune… :)

  21. MWoody says:

    So both this article and the linked website just say it’s “50% off,” which is useless. Why not just say the price? Putting it in the shopping card says it’s $20, but I can’t tell if this is the discounted price (which would be a pretty poor deal for a three-year-old indie game from a non-Steam website rated 69 on metacritic) or $10 (which is getting closer to reasonable).

  22. Bhazor says:

    Yoink!

    Really enjoyed the demo of this when it first came out but was put off by the price because I am a massive whore who hates everyone.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Surely if you’re a massive whore you should have LOTS of money. Or are you not very good at it?

  23. cs says:

    Mr. Cliffski, if you’re still reading this, there’s one change in Democracy that I’d like to see.

    Last time I played it, I was happy to see legalizing drugs as one of the policy options and unhappy to see that it increased crime in your simulation.

    Legalization should reduce crime overall. Gang-related crimes should be greatly reduced. I could see individual crimes possibly going up slightly. But the police would be much more efficient since they won’t have to chase after people who are just smoking a joint. The worst effect would be possibly a small reduction in overall productivity.

    Loved the game but this was always a small sticking point for me.

    • GT3000 says:

      A good website that dispels some of the myths regard decriminalization of illegal substances. Easier access to addictive substances does not decrease use but in fact encourages it as it becomes more readily available and inexpensive. Crime will still exist as people need to steal to support their habits. You’re far too confident in the human condition to resist addiction.

    • GT3000 says:

      http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/debate/myths/myths3.htm\

      Almost forgot to post the website. Off topic but Hell I love a good rabble on drug policy.

    • DaveyJones says:

      The “legalization” option, due to varying opinions amongst players (regardless of correctness), should have been left as purely superficial.
      That being said, including even more superficial options in the next patch/version of this game would give it much more personality :P

    • Sam says:

      GT3000: the wonderful thing about that link is that is totally ignores the experiences that countries have had decriminalising drugs. The Netherlands hasn’t seen any significant increase of use of drugs since it decriminalised cannabis (and, indeed, much of the current use appears to be due to people visiting the country to legally partake, so presumably the native use is lower). According to that page, they should be having significant problems with drug-related crime…
      See also: the effect of prohibition in the US.

    • GT3000 says:

      You’re marshalling it to jsut cannabis, drug legalization isn’t just cannabis. What about crack cocaine? Heroin? Cocaine? Cannabis is but a small problem.

    • Ffitz says:

      Not quite the same as full-out legalisation, but this is interesting reading on the after-effects of Portugal’s decision to decriminalise drugs, including cocaine and heroin:

      http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

  24. Kierkegaard says:

    Or one could arrange upperclass twit of the year contests and make the winner supreme ruler. Would certainly be interesting…

  25. Rich says:

    Very good game. Bought it for my Dad a year or so ago.

  26. Kab says:

    So narked I missed this… loving the demo at the mo – really fun (more so than most AAA titles of recent memory – Bioware titles the honourable exceptions to this)….

    Would have loved to have picked it up at 50% cost.. my car blew up (literally – at least the engine did) the other day so need a new one asap else I don’t get to work or paid… so any money savers are a good thing… /sigh

    Must. Resist. Full. Price. Purchase. Wife. Would. Cut. Nads. Off.

    (PS. WTF is with the ‘captcha’ thing – entered it correctly about 7 times so far and every time it rejects it and makes me redo it… KABACH DISSAPROVES (-12))

    WTF (#2)… on the speech option it says ‘W.R.A.N’ – the graphic says ‘RTN8′ – RPS sort this bugged pos out please – no wonder it is rejecting everything.

    GRR

  27. prom gowns says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!!