Monday, May 21, 2007

Michael's Game Diary

Better Business Game

Initially I wanted to play a military game (to do my part in the war on terror and spread oligarchy around the world) but I couldn’t figure out how. So I figured the next best thing to the military is—corporations. In this game you are a Corporate CEO and must learn to “manage social and environmental issues in a business,” while making your stakeholders happy. Your tenure as CEO is supposed to be twelve months, at the end of which you attend the Annual General Meeting and face the stakeholders with the goal of balancing out their expectations and needs.

You have to enter your name, so I chose “Dick Cheney” who was this old CEO of this company called Halliburton. My company name— Cheney PLC. On my first day I received a “Dear Dick” letter telling me the board just approved a corporate social responsibility statement, and that the company wanted to operate with integrity and avoid destroying the environment or human rights…and that the success of the company was the most important thing. What follows for the rest of the game is a series of questions concerning day-to-day decisions you have to make as CEO. The chart graphing the satisfaction of all the different stakeholders you are responsible for (e.g., customers, employees, neighbors, opinion formers, and shareholders) becomes hard to read after a while because everyone has different interests in each question. So, I stopped paying attention to it.

I did what the real Dick would do—only worry about the line on the graph that matters, the light peach one representing shareholders who represent profits. All my decisions were to ignore the new corporate social whatever it was called because I knew it was a contradiction to begin with, and sure enough—my highest approval ratings were from the shareholders. I was also described as “charismatic” and Cheney PLC was a company “to look out for in the future.” But seriously, if anyone wants the real challenge of navigating this huge contradiction, you should. The game has an easy and visually pleasing set up and progression, and at the same time, has many important environmental and social justice issues in it. It's just not the right platform for me. No thanks, false corporate hope.

Find Your Inner Republican

Since my first game was way too hard, I thought I would chose one that seemed easier. This one consists of answering 10 questions about different issues with answers provided by past and present NYC republicans, with the goal of trying to find and nurture your inner republican. The first is your opinion on what the role should be between the federal government and NYC, with 4 answer options ranging from using “the law of the jungle”--so that maybe NY shouldn’t survive because some things don’t survive, to believing the government has a moral obligation to treat NY as an equal partner. I chose the former because I thought that was what my inner republican would do. It turns out the ‘law of the jungle’ quote was actually from good ole’ Richard Nixon! You can’t get more upstanding and honest than that.

I won’t ruin too much of the rest of the game for everyone because it is really fun to see who your answers belong to in real life. A silhouette of your character has body parts put on it from different republicans after each question. I got Bloomberg’s nose after I said education boards should be dissolved and all kids should have to take standardized tests—which he apparently makes 3rd graders do. But there are some better republicans, I guess. After I said that immigrants contribute more than their share to society, I got La Gaurdia’s chin. There is also a ‘learn more’ button where players can read about each answer’s original speaker and about articles on each subject. Overall—fun, interesting, simple though deep, sickening, etc.

Monster Nutrition

After this I spent far too much time clicking on games in the political section that weren’t available, required downloads and still didn’t work, or had to be paid for. Out of frustration, I clicked on this kid’s game about nutrition in the Health section and heard this really great song that I listened to for about 15 min. Yes, “Feed the monster. You have to the monster” over and over again sounded more and more brilliant with each passing loop. Everyone should go here to listen to the song, and the nutrition info can just be an added (but not a necessary) benefit. In fact, the song turns into some drum and bass and bubbles sounding catastrophe when you start playing and it ruined the game for me. So I went back to the game intro and listened to the acoustic “Feed the Monster” some more while I had some cookies and silk.

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