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By John Massey
Democracy 3: Africa, is the latest standalone game in the indie game darling “Democracy” series, by Positech Studios.
The “Democracy” series places the player in the position of the head of government for a country, and gives the player the ability to tinker with policies, with the eventual goal of being reelected, and maybe solving a few social problems.
This is complicated by the existence of several mutually exclusive, or otherwise contradictory interest groups vying for your attention, i.e. Conservatives and Liberals, Capitalists and Socialists, etc.
“D3:A” takes several creative and technical leaps from the more “vanilla” Democracy 3.
Positech Studios is in fact a one man show; the brainchild of developer Cliff Harris.
RISE NEWS contacted Harris via email to expound on some of these additions, and how they reflect the realities of policy making in the variously depicted African countries.
Central to what Harris wants players to take away, is the caveat that Africa is not homogeneous.
” Its not just how you see it portrayed in the media, especially the US media,” Harris said. “The continent faces some really tough problems that are far harder than the problems that Western Democracies face.”
Some of the problems in “D3:A” do crop up quite often, and central to that is the addition of a new game feature- Stability.
“Pretty much everything else becomes an irrelevance unless you have stable government.”
“I think the one thing that I have learned from the modeling of these countries is the importance of stability,” Harris said. “Pretty much everything else becomes an irrelevance unless you have stable government.
“Nobody invests in a country where they may lose their whole investment in a coup, or a currency devaluation. Nobody takes a holiday somewhere where there are riots or a civil uprising. It’s something that we absolutely take for granted in the West.”
Managing stability becomes more so pressing when capital deprived environments are unable to attract investors.
This led Positech to make Foreign Policy a more active component of the game.
WATCH: Trailer for Democracy 3: Africa
“We have tended to skirt around foreign policy in the original game… We felt that it would simply be impossible to do this with African states, because the impact of foreign policy, especially when it comes to foreign investment is so large,” Harris said. “There is an assumption that corruption is low, stability is good and there are no major human-rights abuses that may reflect poorly on investors, but none of those statements are true for certain African states, so it would simply have been inaccurate not to be able to reflect that in the game.”
This line of thinking lends itself to institution building, a commonly echoed theme in addressing floundering democracies in the region.
Harris illustrates an inherent contradiction in efforts to build institutions:
“Essentially, it’s easier to fix a countries problems if you are an all-powerful dictator, because things just ‘get done’ without argument, so there is a temptation to keep hold of power to make the job of government easier. Obviously the end goal is to fix a countries problems AND have a functioning Democracy, but there is tension between these two goals when your country has real problems, and I think that gives some insight into how so many dictators originally feel they are acting ‘on behalf of the people’ and then cannot let go of power.”
This kind of paradox is perhaps most prevalent in the rule of el-Sisi in Egypt, who simultaneously is backed by the military, but has arguably improved the standing of women in Egypt and taken some measures to secularize education.
While “Democracy 3: Africa” is not a survey of African politics, it does offer a cursory look at the challenges that affect countries on the continent in an accessible interactive platform.
Perhaps most importantly, and optimistically, the game can be seen as a lesson for those that care about democratic institutions.
“Ultimately all political problems *can* be resolved given the will to do so,” Harris wrote in an email.
Democracy 3: Africa is available on Steam, GoG, and Positech’s own website.
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What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
Ellen DeGeneres reimagined Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) as Drake in a “Hotline Bling” style campaign ad on her show today and it was pretty funny.
Sanders, a 74 year old candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination made an appearance on DeGeneres’ weekday show on October 15 where he got his funk on.
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Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Ellen Show (Youtube)Post Views: 159
What Do You Think?
By Allyn Farach
Will Oremus of Slate hypothesized “What Twitter probably has in mind….is a feature that will allow some users to publish full notes or articles directly on Twitter, rather than simply linking to them. In all likelihood, the text of tweets themselves will remain capped at 140 characters in most cases (albeit with some tweaks, as I’ll explain). As a result, your Twitter feed will continue to look much the same as it does today.
The difference will be that, for certain tweets, you’ll have the option to click or tap a button (“Expand,” perhaps) to view the full article or blog post without leaving your Twitter feed.” while Kurt Wagner and Jason Del Ray wrote “Twitter is building a new product that will allow users to share tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans. It’s unclear what the product will look like, but sources say it would enable Twitter users to publish long-form content to the service.”
Why would Twitter take on such a big undertaking, whatever it is? According to Twitter’s investor website, they have earned over $74 million in their first quarter. While nothing to sneeze at, this amount is still under what the company originally believed they would make back. The platform could be looking for something to shake up.
Cover Photo Credit: Andreas Eldh/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
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What Do You Think?