Democracy 3 is a political/government simulator that positions you as the leader of a democratic country. More specifically, you may choose to rule over the UK, France, Germany, the USA, Canada, or Australia. When you play for the first time, the game takes you through a hefty tutorial on how to govern, which kinda runs like one of those work training simulators at a huge corporation. The initial feeling is one of simultaneous boredom and sweating-in-distress over being thrown into your job after a day of crappy training exercises and sexual harassment videos.
You will soon find out, though, that this game is anything but a sexual harassment video (thank goodness). It’s known as a political sim, but it really should be called eXtreme Government Simulator 2013. I mean, just look at this thing:
That’s just your main menu. The MAIN MENU. Each one of those little bubbles opens new menus or diagrams, which feed into other menus or diagrams, and soon you’ll find yourself lost in the vast menuception. You’re not supposed to fall asleep while sleeping, and you’re really not supposed to menu while menu-ing. I don’t want to talk about the massive menu system anymore. You’re all smart; you can figure it out.
If you can keep from getting lost in the menu/interface hell, the game actually has quite a few lessons to teach you. The biggest one I learned (or rather, was reminded of) is that you cannot fix everything. You can only choose what’s most important to you and hope that you’re going in the right direction. For instance, you might dream of improving public infrastructure by fixing and building roads. You can allocate more money to this by raising taxes, but in the process you piss off the middle class voters and also the environmentalists, who will inevitably generate more issues, because that’s just what people do when they’re mad and you take their money for the “general good.” This is just a very basic example of a chain reaction that could occur.
Let’s not even get into GDP.
The brilliance in Democracy 3 lies in its ability to connect things to other things, produce stimulating cause-effect-cause-effect-ad-infinitum scenarios, and also to frustrate the hell out of you with voter groups (which is pretty realistic, right?). Why won’t they just understand that a totalitarian police state is absolutely necessary to build the foundations of an ultimate utopia?! Why can’t the poor just behave themselves?? Time to crack down with the iron fist of justice and politics! It’s for the good of the country!