Totem's top 10 serious games for UK politics
Today’s the day for the 2015 General Election! Have you all been avidly following the news? Keeping informed on the world of Politics? Polling offices close at 22:00 but as long as you are in the queue before then you can still vote – a handy fact I learned from 'Election Game', featured below!
There was no question what the theme for this week’s list would be. Politics, Government, Voting and Party Issues are all covered! Keeping it ‘close to home’ this week to ensure maximum relevance.
First off and possibly the most relevant for today: Election Game - Developed by Sponge UK, this short game is packed full of the do’s and don’ts of the voting procedure – from polling station opening times to unacceptable behaviour when carrying out your vote. Signing the ballot paper with kisses or making up your own political figure to vote for just won’t be accepted in this game!
Verto – A very useful app for people who are unsure who to vote for. Take the quiz and order issues in priority of importance, the app will then suggest the party that best matches with the answers given. Previously there was a ‘call to action’ button built in so users could easily register to vote; on their website they boast over 500,000 people have registered after using Verto.
MP for a Week – This was a pretty challenging game. It goes in depth to an average week of an MP. Play as the opposition or in Government, both roles prove a challenge. Keeping public opinion and the media on your side while balancing personal and party views, will you make it a week in parliament?
Ballot Bots - A ‘10’ level puzzle game packed with facts and smatterings of questions to answer on current politics. Developed by the BBC, it can be played online or on your phone, be wary of those campaign pitfalls though!
Campaign Trail – Another game brought to you by the same group who created ‘MP for a Week’, ‘catch’ people who will vote in favour of your cause, convince those on the side-lines and avoid those in opposition. This game teaches different practices used to raise awareness while testing your reflexes.
Think you can do better than any of the parties around today? Why not try your hand at running your own country then? See how easy it is, or isn’t! As there aren’t too many non-biased ‘serious’ serious games on the market to finish of this list, delivering the promised ten, the following five games all put you in charge as decision maker.
Democracy 3 – Available on Steam, this was recommended to me by a fellow Totemite. It is a very addictive game with the freedom to rule the country how you see fit. Oppress the people or bend to the population’s every whim, it is up to you! In this game you will have no one to blame but yourself for the state of the country. BONUS: it is currently on offer on Steam!
Nation State – The game that lets the player decide every aspect of their civilisation – the name, money (or ‘the monies’ in the ‘Land of Bored and Unmotivated’), what kind of people live there, when were they discovered, ideologies and religion and so on. I’ve only just started a civilisation but I am looking forward to growing my own personal civilisation and seeing what the Nation State community has to offer!
Zeus: Master of Olympus – A favourite of mine as a child, I recently spent hours trailing the internet to find a copy of this game! Sierra need to bring it back! There are various missions set to Greek mythology, the player builds up their city, balancing wages, taxes, imports, exports and so on. There are other cities who can be allies or rivals; using politics and careful espionage it is possible to change their views but if that sounds like too much effort, war is an option. Many hours spent playing this along with others in the series developed by Impressions Games. This is a game for people who want to run the country but not a modern country, with real issues, instead this is for the player who enjoys reacting to Poseidon attacking your little fishing village or a Hydra randomly appearing in your mine.
Civilization – Has to be mentioned! A similar but more accurately historical game than ‘Zeus’, it is rich with historical figures. There are multiple ways to win ranging from a unique space program to total domination of the world. This game series produced a generation of dedicated fans; Civilization V was released by 2K in 2010 but the community is still going strong today.
Branches of Power – Developed by Filament Games, the player explores the control different branches of government possess and the limitations attached. There are a lot of aspects to juggle while playing this game, as in real politics, less time taxing than Nation State and Democracy.
Happy voting everyone, exercise your right to vote – or don’t, as is also your right.
Not strictly all serious games in this post but they are relevant for today and hopefully you found them useful and informative. Don't forget to let us know your thoughts using the #TL10 on twitter.