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11

Degradation Keeper: No Pineapple Left Behind

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A not very fun fact: stuff about being mean to kids immediately turns incredibly sinister once you’re a parent. Innocence lost about innocence. So I guess I grimace rather than smile at management sim No Pineapple Left Behind‘s satirical take on efficient-education-through-dehumanisation – but I think/hope I’m supposed to.

Here’s the high concept. Pineapples are unintelligent, but orderly. They are easy and cheap to educate to a basic standard, or so it goes in No Pineapple Left Behind’s world. Children are potentially far more intelligent, but chaotic, and expensive to educate. In running your school, which is the greatest priority? Is a stupid pineapple that doesn’t cry or take selfies during a class a more valuable student than a pupil who might be capable of all As but has feelings to contend with?

Sure, it’s a stretched metaphor, but I’m interested because it’s playing with one of the most appealing ideas from my beloved Dungeon Keeper that more recent treatments – including quasi-remake War For The Overworld – didn’t spend much time exploring.

To whit, the populace of your base/business have thoughts of their own, and in turn will misbehave. Do you cater to their needs at length in order to make them happy and productive, or do you simply get rid of them in favour of more compliant denizens? And how much do you hamper yourself if you choose the latter? In this case particularly, how will you feel about yourself if you turn children into dumb, compliant robots as part of your own pursuit of the almighty dollar?

Enough talk, let’s trailer:

Which also puts me in mind of this:

I was worried that this game might fall too far into zanywackyhahalol, but it looks to me like there might be a proper management game with decent amounts of humanity in there, which is highly appealing. Let’s hope it all hangs together in practice.

You’ll also be managing the needs and complaints of parents and teachers, which is a pretty decent analogue for combat, to my mind.

An ‘open alpha’ of this new game from Neocolonialism devs Subaltern Games’ latest is due later this year. Apparently it draws on lead dev Seth Alter’s own experience of a teacher, which I’m guessing he didn’t find to be entirely positive. It’s bounced back into being after a failed Kickstarter late last year, and is now being published by Mastertronic.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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