Have You Played… Fate of the World?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Would you like to learn about the Human Development Index and global fuel policy? No, I suppose not. What about playing a videogame where all your decisions lead to the entire earth becoming a slowly decaying barrel of human sadness? I thought so. Here’s Fate of the World.

Ha ha, tricked you. They’re the same thing! Yes, this is a game about learning. You’ll learn about climate change statistics and endangered species and where the Maldives is. But you’ll also be trying to wrestle the global community into shape and avoid the slow-burning trash fire that we are all sure to become. You’ll use cards and clicks and turns. Many people will die.

It’s a strategy game, with plenty of nit-picky UI ugliness and the accompanying learning curve. It might take a couple of games to understand how all the various systems and decisions you make interact, but learning is half the journey. The other half of the journey is spent piling corpses in Barcelona. It’s up there with the Democracy series – a game of balancing priorities, making compromises on your principles, and trying not to ruin everyone’s lives in the process.


  1. Xocrates says:

    My foremost memory of playing this game is that I lost in the tutorial.

    It was an interesting and even enjoyable game but damn it was bastard hard (and yes I realize that’s the point).

  2. Ent says:

    I remember there is a quite nice unofficial patch somewhere that cleared up many UI confusion and fixed a few bugs.

  3. MiniMatt says:

    Oooh gosh, I have.

    I wasn’t very good at setting policy to stave off disastrous climate change & millions died every time I played.

    Doesn’t seem to be going much better in real life, not sure we can start a new game.

  4. tigerfort says:

    I tried, but the fact that you had to click close/accept on a million info boxes between each actual action meant that I lost both interest and the ability to continue pretty rapidly.

  5. Tiax says:

    Loved it, until I realised that the best way to win most of the scenarios was to kill 3/4 of the Chinese with two special virus developed by black ops operating in their country.

    For a game with educational ambitions, I wasn’t too sure what to do with this.

    • DEspresso says:

      Finally I get to link the Mitchell and Webb – Kill the Poor sketch. My time has come!

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I don’t know, it seems like a valuable lesson to me. Not the attempted genocide bit, mind you, but the idea that not all problems have nice, clean, moral solutions.

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    subdog says:

    Easily the most depressing game I’ve ever played. Sure it’s hard, and frequently asks you to compromise your ethical standards for the greater good. That said, if you do everything right (and get lucky), you actually can save the world without hurting too many people.

    The depressing part is that so many of its most powerful and ethically responsible tools are political non-starters in the real world. Watching a global cap and trade system bring the world away from total economic and environmental collapse is so much worse knowing that it’s something we likely won’t see in our lifetimes.

    The game is both an eye-opener and a bittersweet fantasy.

  7. Jerppa says:

    Does this game have a trump card?

    • MiniMatt says:

      There’s a “Denial” scenario, if you’re looking for a Trump card…

  8. daraujo says:

    George Soros – THE GAME

  9. Captain Narol says:

    Added to my wishlist.

  10. Raieldon says:

    Ah, ecosocialism. The newest product of that old magical Chomskyian formula: One part legitimate concern, one part unfalsifiable pretense, and just enough obscurity and echo-chambering to put off repeated efforts to reply and voila, the perfect feeling of an unanswerable final abrogation of truth and policy.

    Those were the days.

  11. malkav11 says:

    I really wanted to like it but I just couldn’t get into it. It all felt very abstract and opaque.