The project is a world leader simulator game that focuses on the current Canadian political climate and policies of major political parties in the country, specifically the Liberal, NDP and Conservative parties from the most recent 2019 election. The game is a branching narrative/choice-based game where players are told they have to make important political decisions as the leader of a futuristic sci-fi country. It was important to create a fully immersive experience not only through the game but with the surrounding environment as well. This is done through physical objects and props allowing players to sit at an office desk with objects that interact with the game such as physical buttons, stat bars, an emergency alarm and a printer. Players are presented with multiple dilemmas with a binary choice that they choose by pressing a button. These choices impact their country in different ways through four specific stats: the environment, world relations, wealth, and happiness. The results of these decisions are displayed through a procedurally generated city outside an office window where the player is located, as well as physical components that display the changes in the country’s four stats. The environmental impact is shown through the loss of green space, world relations through the amount of generated boats that represent international trade, wealth through the types of generated buildings, and happiness through the amount and type of generated civilians and sound effects.
The problems that the country faces are based on real-world political and social issues from the 2019 federal election, with each choice being based on a policy from at least one of the three major Canadian parties. These are presented without the real-life connections to the players throughout the game. Their answers are secretly recorded to keep track of which political party their choices most align with. In the end, players are able to see a visual representation of their choices throughout the changing city, LED bars, and a tower alarm light. They will receive a physical print out that shows them their country’s name, final stats outcome and which party their choices most align with. The receipt leaves users with a physical reminder of their experience while also provoking players to think deeply about their decisions, the effects they had, and how this is mirrored in Canada and the world.
Kristen Grinyer, Dan Li, Jingliang Sun, Kyra Younan