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👀 Dystopian Times
#343 | This is not the news you're looking for
In what feels like ancient history, I had a course in college called Literature and the Other Arts where we were taught to identify narratives in video games and other forms of media.
One game that cropped up during our discussions was Republia Times.
An indie, free-to-play, browser-based video game, it has the player act as an editor to a newspaper in a fictional country, Republia, and influence the citizens using relevant articles.
The story goes that Republia’s totalitarian government has recently come out of a war with another fictional country, Antegria, and wants to increase the loyalty of its people through positive or deflective articles. And of course, the government threatens the editor’s family to ensure their compliance. Meanwhile, rebel forces want the editor to sow seeds of discord and decrease people’s faith in the new regime.
Doesn't sound familiar at all no?
Spoiler alert: This is a no-win Kobayashi Maru scenario, and you can't James Kirk your way out of this one. The game is cynical and ends badly no matter what stance you take.
The reason I'm fascinated by it, though, is that it's given me a few lessons that have stuck since I first played it eons ago:
1) Never judge individual actions without some backstory
2) Question every fucking thing
Go try it, and tell me if your worldview is radically affected.