Variation on the Word Sleep

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Nation States?

I recently ran across Nation States which is a fairly basic, yet interesting nation simulator. This is the nation which I've come up with: Haliconia. It strikes me though having played with it for about a week that like any simulation or game there is an inherent bias. Not that it is necessarily a concious bias, but in writing a program (or I suppose a book or a movie) reality is simplified into a set of rules. These rules are never completely accurate and often end up containing a bias.

For example in Nation States one of the measures of your country is its economy. As far as I can tell from playing every time you choose to regulate industry the economy gets worse, and every time you choose to deregulate it gets better. I would never argue that a command economy is going to be the most successful economy possible, but conversly I would also suggest that a laisse faire, completely free market based economy would not either. A careful combination of the two is the secret to success, but in Nation States a careful combination of the two leaves me with a "developing" economy and there is nothing I can do to challenge that.

To sum up: every simulation of reality whether it is in art, science, literature, film, or television, simplifies and skews reality towards the perspective of the designers. At some level there is no arguing with this simplification -- because you have to approach it from within it is very difficult to critique.


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