Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Democracy 3 - 2/20 hours

For a game ostensibly about the peaceful transfer of power, Democracy 3 is quite the bloodbath. I've played three separate games so far, and so far I've been assassinated three times. That's not a normal part of the process. In fact, it's actually quite rare. I mean, what is even the point of having a Secret Service if any random capitalist, black power activist, or liberal extremist can barge in and overturn the will of the majority.

And the thing is, I'm not even sure why it happened. I can sort of get the capitalist killing me, because I raised the income tax rate from 31 to 34 percent, but as for the others, I don't have the slightest idea. Perhaps I was to gradual and indirect. One of my primary goals was to end vigilante killing, but there's no button for that, so I had to rely on increases to education and poverty reduction, and thus maybe it wasn't clear what I was going for. I don't know, though, it definitely seemed like an unrealistic way to end an otherwise typical presidency.

I had an idea going into this that the simulation would have its flaws, but I never expected it to fail in this particular way. Maybe it's just specific to the simulated United States and the other simulated countries will be less lethal, but if so, I think my patriotic pride is wounded. We may have our problems here in the US, but we're not nearly so lawless as the game would make us out to be.

Then again, Democracy 3 doesn't really do that great a job in general of simulating US politics. There are no mid-term elections, divided governments, Senate fillibusters, or court challenges. The thing I did where I eliminated the tax credit for private school tuition and added the budget penny-for-penny to the public school budget would have been more or less impossible in the real world. Maybe that's what the assassination mechanic is supposed to represent - a stand-in for Sean Hannity screaming at me every night.

Probably not, though. I think it's more likely that it's just a misguided mechanic that's incidental to the fact that the game was developed in Britain and has some baked-in assumptions about the relationship between legislative and executive power that doesn't map well to the American political landscape.

I think this means I have to stop being President of the Unites States. I don't have quite the same emotional and cultural connection to the UK, but at least it won't violate my suspension of disbelief quite so much . . . at least, not until the second or third time I'm assassinated.

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