I teach policy and politics at a University, and have been writing a health policy choice-based game to try and bring the subject to life for my students (twine version, renpy version) . I’ve been trying to find political narrative/choice games to draw inspiration from and wonder if anyone has any suggestions? I guess the major big-budget release at the moment is Suzerain, but it’s probably too complex to use in class. Any thoughts gratefully received.
I’d recommend 'Ostrich’ - it’s nicely replayable and your choices heavily impact the outcome.
Not gonna help you too much, but for something like 5 years or more, folks over at Choice of Games have been talking about how much they want a political game (campaign trail game). Alas, despite the interest, nobody seems to have enough motivation to author one.
You might have better luck over at IFDB finding something suitable, however.
I spent a few minutes with this and it felt good. I like the style and structure. Was surprised it didn’t score higher.
That’s probably the risk for an author of a political work. In a competition you’ll encounter those on the other side of the fence and you’ll have to take the brick-bats which may ensue.
This Is The President This Is the President for PC Reviews - Metacritic
I remember American Election got a lot of attention at the time.
Out of Choice of Games, Congresswolf is about running a campaign (while also being involved with werewolves).
There are a lot of games about specific political issues, like rendition about torture and American aggression. Almost all of the work of Bruno Dias deals with communism/capitalism in some way, of which Cape is a notable example (a gritty superhero story).
The political tag on IFDB could help, there are some other good examples there.
For public health games in particular, the ChooseYourStory game The Covid Assignment > ChooseYourStory.com was educational, and Hana Feels was an excellent game about self-harm written under a government contract, I believe.
I was going to mention American Election too. Mind you, it’s a slice-of-life piece, not about policy.
There are quite a few games that present policy as parable. Papers Please is well-known. I’d also mention Orwell (Steam Franchise: Orwell-Game).
Thanks to everyone who responded, I’m going to go through and look at all your suggestions.
To try and find more games I’ve gone back through every issue of Computer Gaming World (US) to try and catch early games, and there are several US election games in the 1980s/early 1990s. In the UK there was a ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ and a game called ‘1984’ on the 8 bits, and ‘A Mind Forever Voyaging’ by Infocom is very political, but I fear my current students would struggle with it. There were US-based election simulators (‘On the Campaign Trail’) and Presidential choice-based simulations (Crisis in the Kremlin, Shadow President/Cyberjudas). In the modern era the ‘Democracy’ games nicely capture the trade-offs between decisions, but aren’t very narrative based. The nearest modern equivalent I can find seems to be Suzerain.
Thanks to everyone again,