This post is a response to the following article on Democracy 3 Africa (the game): http://za.ign.com/…/democracy-3-africa-will-showcase-the-di…
Interestingly, I played Democracy 3 on my laptop when I was in Gabon... and now they're coming out with a stand-alone expansion that features African nations! The series is an educational political strategy game that characterizes the political landscape and systems of differing democratic nations as you take on the role of its elected leader. It forces you to think in terms of "the big picture," making sense of the connections between policy decisions, interest/voter group approvals, GDP, poverty, crime, etc.
And for those concerned regarding the portrayal of these African nations (as I was initially), some quotes from an interview with the founder and designer of the game:
"A significant portion of Democracy 3: Africa's development schedule was spent researching the candidate nations....From day one, I let the numbers guide me, using a broad range of credible social and economic indicators to build a profile for each African country. This process was augmented by studying each society's history in-depth, so as not to just understand where their people are now, but to gain insight into where they have come from.
I have learned a lot in the process of making Democracy 3: Africa, and hope that I am representing each country respectfully. We are in full listen mode, and will be throughout launch and beyond.
We hope that Democracy 3: Africa will be an insightful tool for learning about the continent, sparking interesting discourse, and that the launch of the game will be a starting point for modelling an even broader gamut of societies than previously possible."
But also some food for thought: Would understanding the mechanics of the game and its associated models influence my own understanding and perceptions of politics, and human behaviors/responses? To what extent are the models accurate, and have a place in informing real-life political decisions?