One of video games’ most indulgent pleasures is their ability to model and put you in charge of complex human endeavours. Whether it’s a nascent space program, city planning, running a prison or managing multi-generational medieval eugenics, games can provide just enough semi-accurate complexity to lull you into a sense of superiority while remaining fantastical enough to be actually enjoyable.
While I laud any dev studio willing to tackle Africa at a sociopolitical level without relying on “Darkest Africa” clichés to do so, I hope Stargazy Studios (who are handling development of this expansion on behalf of Positech) continue to rigorously research the various statistics they’re using to power the game. For example, I note on the game’s site that they list South Africa having a GDP per capita of $12,700, when it’s closer to around $6,500 in reality. Similarly, while we report a literacy level of 94.3, the survey to determine that figure employed some, uh, creative interpretations to get to that result.
Regardless, Democracy 3: Africa should be an engaging way to get people interested in some of the challenges we face on the African continent, or at least provide some perspective on how challenging it is to balance policy.