The Bruises Of Patriots: Thoughts On “Democracy 3”

It is a very simple thing to have all the answers.  Just ask anybody.

Check Fox News, or any number of naïve “Like & Share” posts on your local Facebook Machine–the answers are all around us.  Of course, they’re conflicting and vague, but they are there. From Ayn Rand to anarchists, everyone seems to know what’s best for us.

Then the fine folks at Positech attempted to step up and shut us all the hell up. They started in 2005 with their original government simulator Democracy, and have grown in leaps and bounds since then, finally unleashing Democracy 3 on an unknowing public in 2013.

And when I call the public “unknowing”, I say that because the public must not know about Democracy 3. Because Facebook and the internet at large are still crawling with the uninformed opinions of the masses, talking and talking and talking and talking.

“Who are these people?” I wonder to myself. “Why do they think they can turn the tide of government so easily? Haven’t these fools played Democracy 3? Don’t they know that it’s impossible to be happy?”

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“Impossible without flow charts, I mean.”

And it’s true: Democracy 3 is a royal bitch. It’s slow, and sometimes tedious, and there’s a massive learning curve. But those moments can lead to an amazing game experience. Because I wouldn’t say that I had a hell of a lot of fun playing Democracy 3. But I was glued to my computer. Because learning the minutia of politics and government is a massive undertaking, and Positech knows this. That’s why they set you up to largely do anything that you want, which is amazing and mind-boggling in scope.

Want to establish Communist-paradise, sans bread lines? Start growing that beard, Fidel. Read The Virtue of Selfishness one too many times? Pandora awaits, Mr. Galt! Want to establish a theocratic rule and do everything in your power to stop the populace from touching itself? Democracy 3 has your “Procreation, Not Recreation” banner right here.

Because the goal is to lead a nation in any way you see fit, everything is available. And that leads to this game’s greatest triumph and it’s greatest downfall.  On one hand, Democracy 3 is massively difficult, heavily intellectual, and lacks the stylish graphical bells and whistles of other modern games.  On the other hand, it is massively difficult, heavily intellectual, and lacks the stylish bullshit of other modern games.

If you need your games to contain aliens (the outer space kind, I mean) or epic sword strokes, then this one might be something to skip.  On the other hand, if you value a heavily cerebral game and happen to be constantly glued to C-SPAN, I’d advise you on putting Democracy 3 at the top of your wish list.

Democracy 3 is available from Positech or Steam.

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