McDonald’s Video Game McDonald’s Game

FreeCiv

April 15th, 2008 kbyorick

           FreeCiv is an interesting game to say the least. It relies on the idea that everyone wants power. This seems to be a fantasy of many as history has clearly shown. Maybe it is a human quality that we want to see if we could really “rule the world”. This game attempts to give people that opportunity while not causing and real disaster or harm if something goes wrong. We can build a civilization, try to expand, decide whether or not to go to war or make treaties with neighboring civilizations. While it may seem like you are expanding an empire all on your own, based solely on your decisions, there are certainly aspects of the game that are beyond your control.

            This does create a certain parallel to real life (not the ruling a civilization part but everything else). Oftentimes people think that every little decision they make will truly be the deciding factor in what happens in their lives or the lives of those around them. This is not necessarily so. Some major decisions, especially those made by people in government, like going to war, do affect the lives of a huge number of people. However, the day to day decisions made by the average person may not be that big of a deal. There will always be aspects of life that are out of our control. This game, if played more than once really has a great opportunity of showing that to people. Yes decisions do affect how the civilization will grow or fail, but sometimes things are going to happen no matter what you do. Different empires will collide, either because you are expanding or the computer is having another civilization expand. Just because you are happy as a small country doesn’t mean you can stay that way. The game is sort of telling people to relax and stop worrying so much about the little things, make decisions but let what is going to happen, happen.

Entry Filed under: Game Log

2 Comments

  • 1. eolson3  |  April 30th, 2008 at 5:19 am

    "It relies on the idea that everyone wants power"I feel this is an aspect, yes.  On one hand this can be seen as quite ironic.  One of the things we have continued to stress about the difference between the videogame world and the real world is the removal of consequences.  So with a Civilization-like simulation you will find many individuals playing who find themselves fearful of seizing power and cannot perform leadership functions in the real world that, as you say, are glorified in history.  So they really do not want any real person under their control, hence the irony.  But then this is where the videogames world comes in.  This is their escape.  The short kid who always sits in the back of the class and never talks is suddenly thrust into the role of world leader.  Unlike leadership functions in the real world, his actions face only digital consequences.  He does not have to save face if he makes a poor decision.  If things don’t go the way he likes, he simply starts over.  He is a god amongst a population that lend him their unwavering support.  Would you be afraid of leadership if you were gauranteed 100% approval ratings 100% of the time?  I think not.Oley

  • 2. eolson3  |  April 30th, 2008 at 5:36 am

    A little while back, while flipping through channels, I came across the series Stargate Atlantis.  I have only watched maybe 10 minutes of this series and cannot say it held my interest.  However, the episode that happened to be on fit perfectly into this discussion.  I found a quick description of the episode on wikipedia, since I didn’t see the whole thing. "Major Lorne’s team discovers a planet that fits the description of Lt. Col. Sheppard and Dr. McKay’s competitive video game. It turns out that it has been controlling real people through a series of Ancient satellites, who now stand on the brink of war and destruction." I don’t know who Lorne or Sheppard are or their capabilities, but let us just dabble in the hypothetical for now.  Say we throw the kid mentioned in the above post into this situation.  Suddenly he finds out that all of these actions that he has been taking in his consequence-free videogame HAVE CONSEQUENCES.  This is when the poor kid feels all of the blood drain out of his face and his feet turn to steel.  Oops.  I just blew up a bunch of REAL people in my omnipotent power grab, eliminating years (moments in the gamer’s time) of piece amongst the peoples of this world.  Now he has to justify his actions.  He has to explain to these people why he took such action, excersised his hunger for power, on their peaceful planet.  He probably didn’t count on that when he paid his $50 bucks for this game.  I think this also fits in well with the "Wargames" topic.  The plot is very similar.  Though I think an interesting question to ask is which is worse; accidentally controlling the fate of the people on your own world or the previously unknown people of another?  I presume we would all just as well avoid creating an environment of tension and destruction in both, but it is still intriguing.E


HNRS 353:002 (Spring 2008)

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