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Jennifer Government: NationStates

Written by Alcides Fonseca at 2007/11/17

Welcome to paradise! The world is run by American corporations (except for a few deluded holdouts like the French); taxes are illegal; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; the Police and the NRA are publicly-traded security firms; and the U.S. government only investigates crimes it can bill for.

Hack Nike is a Merchandising Officer who discovers an all-new way to sell sneakers. Buy Mitsui is a stockbroker with a death-wish. Billy NRA is finding out that life in a private army isn't all snappy uniforms and code names. And Jennifer Government, a legendary agent with a barcode tattoo, is the consumer watchdog from hell.

Jennifer Government is a novel by Max Barry about politics, consumerism, greed and how people survive in the between. It is in my “to read” list yet. So why do I mention it? Because it inspired a game, NationStates, that is now the daily talk between me and the guys.

It’s not a web-based MMORPG as you should be expecting (if you are looking for one, check this one!) but a politics game. You are the ruler of a nation you create and you have two issues per day that you have to either dismiss or choose one advice. Pretty simple, hein? But the issues are pretty hard to solve since, just like in real life, one option may benefit the people’s freedom, the other your economy and you may even have a third one that you can’t predict its consequences.

And if you want, you can also have external politics, since there is the “United Nations” that has its own political system, and depends on other players/nations to decide rules that apply to everyone in it. You can even vote for delegates or be one yourself.

So, if you are interested in knowing how your own politics will do to a nation, this is a pretty cool way of finding out!