Thursday, December 8th, 2005


Gamasutra has a piece up with their first impressions from a game they saw on display at the Serious Games Summit in Washington, DC.  The game is called A Force More Powerful, and it’s – get this – a nonviolent sociopolitical uprising simulator & strategy game.

Awesome.

I cannot express how neat this sounds to me.  Conscript agents, train them in nonviolence, assign them tasks and send them out to (non-)fight The Man.  How much more fun can it get than that?  I want this game.  I want it so bad.  It’s being developed as a coproduction of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, York Zimmerman, Inc. (producers of a number of documentaries, including the PBS mini-series on the history of nonviolent conflict in the 20th century called, unsurprisingly, A Force More Powerful) and Breakaway Games.  If that name sounds familiar it’s because they’re the developers of a number of games friends of mine (and I) have played:  Tropico: Paradise Island, Cleopatra and Emperor.

Gods almighty, I want this game NOW.

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The other night, I dreamt The Boyf and I were in a zombie movie.  The zombiepocalypse had come, yes, even to the small and remote college town to which we had moved.  The dead didn’t rise where we were, not right away – they’re shufflers, remember, and the urban areas were hit first – but we knew that things were wrong out in the world.

For one thing, the TV stations went off the air (after the newscasters were bitten on-camera).  The radio stations went silent.  The power went out, though it would flicker on for a few moments or a few hours from time to time.  Someone in town proposed that perhaps a zombified engineer somewhere occasionally dragged their knuckles across a control board as they staggered back and forth and thus managed to restore power until their return trip turned it off again.  

In our town, we just waited for the zombies to arrive, our defenses in place, our fingers crossed.

A bunch of fratboys tried to form a vigilante gang, but with only middling success.  They were scary but lacked gravitas, so people mainly just went inside when the frat cheese were on "patrol."  They mayor of the town was nowhere to be seen, and a few of us formed a quiet agreement that when the time came we would band together.  I wondered where my friends were, imagined Kath leading them to freedom as our recognized Zombiepocalypse Group Leader, wished desperately that we were back in Durham so that we could work with those we already knew and trusted and not a bunch of untested strangers.  

Personal dramas broke out here and there.  Marriages dissolved, people went missing, rumors flew that the zombies were just outside of town, marching towards us, perhaps even already here and we just hadn’t noticed yet.

The moaning started, way down the mountain (we were in the mountains, and the town itself sat atop a ridge so that the surrounding countryside was all down the mountain no matter what direction you went).  We knew the zombies had arrived.  The frat boys and their crowbars and their bravado were nowhere to be seen.  I remember lighting a cigarette in the dream and passing the lighter to the leader of our group so he could do the same.  We had rakes and shovels and baseball bats and a few guns and it was bitter cold, the lights flickering on and off again, and the moans would waft up the mountain and across the town on the frozen breeze.

Then I woke up.

So now that’s what I want to write for NaNoWriMo next year.

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