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Democracy Released: Democracy Fails!

The New Scum do us in AGAIN.

Look, we have a graph to prove it and everything.

So, yeah, playing my first game of Democracy 2 and things went awry. The National Front’s got a landslide, so it’s Jackboot stomping on a human face forever time. Pah. Anyway, if you think you can do better, the demo’s over here, but there’s a little post-match analysis and some more on Democracy (And its prequel) beneath the cut.
Here’s the voting turnout statistics, broken down by demographic.

Old people and soldiers. I wish them all dead.

As you can see, Socialists and Smokes dig my shit while the conservatives and the religious hate me. And in the game. I’ve no idea why the Smokers stayed on side with me, as one of my things was to introduce a tobacco tax in one of my many (completely futile) attempts to solve the budget deficit. That the religious hate me is perhaps a little more predictable – I legalised prostitution in another of my hare-brained schemes to try and balance the books and completely banned schools even mentioning creationism whatsoever. And increased funds into stem-cell research. And… well, lots of stuff. That the liberals deserted me is a little more disappointing, which I’d put down to me increasing funds to the police massively and infringing on a civil-liberty or two in my attempts to battle the organised crime, riots and lynch mobs which were crippling the country upon my arrival. In fact, put like that, I don’t think I did that bad. Yeah, we’ve even more awesomely in debt than when I walked in, but history will judge me kindly. I’m sure. Yes.

Fucking electorate.

As the first Democracy, it’s either a game you’ll immediately find yourself scratching your head over the possibility of why anyone would even want to play it or have downloaded it already. For anyone who gives a damn about the state of the nation, a game about trying to govern the (primarily internal) politics of a place is an appealing one. It’s also an appealing one cross political spectrum – while I’ll want to put my English Centre-Left-left-llleeeefffft policies (translation for Americans: Probably Counts As A Communist) into action by legalising everything bad in the world, people from the right can bring back national service. We’ll both want to bring back milk for kids though. When I played the original, I found myself boosting the budget by legalising and taxing everything, and then spending it all on health care. By the time I was voted out by pissed off conservatives, I’d raised the life expectancy by years. Which was worth it. Walker, who makes me look like Oswald Mosley managed to get himself assassinated by an unholy alliance of military, big-business and religious groups. Meanwhile, Dan Gril – friend of RPS, Ex-housemate and now glorious PR whore – put the time he spent hanging around MPs into practice, went fully Keynesian and made a paradise on earth full of flowers.

So, if the opportunity ever arises, vote for Gril, yeah?

I think Democracy is my favourite of Cliff Harris’ – Positech’s one-man dynamo – games. I suspect because it’s the one which fits best with his design style and presentation. For something like Kudos, his stats-heavy games can feel a little cold in their presentation. It lacks Glamour. Conversely, this approach is absolutely perfect for modern politics – that sense of adulthood and seriousness adds to it. And Democracy 2 is probably, in its details, the most attractive of Harris’ games.

That said, most of the times you’ll be looking at screens like this:
Aieeeekkkkkk!!!!.

And when you hover a mouse over one of the nodes, something like this’ll happen…
Aieeeekkkkkk!!!! Mrk 2

Which can be a little intimidating, but in practice is a clear way of showing how factors relate to each other. What influences – say – Crime? Move over crime, and it’ll tell you. Click on the connected police node, and fiddle with spending – or, at least as much as your political capital will allow.The main game-like feature is the capital, which is generated every-round and allows you to alter legislation or bring in new stuff. The main changes for the new version is a more sophisticated modeling of the demographic, so individuals are scaled in their sympathies to the various groups rather than “just” being a Liberal Car-driver or whatever. The addition of your cabinet ministers adds another level of things to worry about. For example, my highly talented minister dealing with Welfare threatened his resignation over my complete alienation of religious groups. Also, the game’s moved away from trying to simulate real countries – which was never its strongest point – instead dealing with abstract nations, which can be personalised by altering various sliders. Obviously, trying to – say- abolish faith schools in a fundamentalist nation is a little trickier than doing the same thing in a Secular one.

The demo’s a couple of Peggles big and there’s more information on the site. And, as a final note, it’s the first game I’ve ever played which features a slider to alter the level of “cynicism”.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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