Jan 17 2013

The Most Poorly Run Governments in Video Games

im-from-the-government“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Does V from V for Vendetta speak the truth? Well, if you lived under any of these regimes, you should at least be at least concerned. These are a few of the most poorly run government in video games.

The Enclave from Fallout 3

"Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation, for it is better to be alone, than in bad company."

“Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation, for it is better to be alone, than in bad company.”

The remnants of the United States’ federal government after nuclear war manifests itself as the Enclave in Bethesda’s Fallout 3. Their claim to power is based on the idea that since they were the ones in power when the Capital was destroyed, logically, they should remain in power. While playing Fallout, I found no person, with the exception of Nathan from Megaton, and those actually employed by the Enclave, that thought that the Enclave was a responsible and reliable governing body, and even Nathan admits they were wrong when you run into him in Raven Rock. In fact, your time spent at Raven Rock is all the evidence needed to demonstrate how ineffective and poorly run the Enclave is. First, you’ve got a colonel disobeying the President’s orders, a decision that cost the lives of innocent Enclave soldiers and scientists. Colonel Autumn pooh-poohed the words of President John Henry Eden, and as General Melchett says, “you should never ignore a pooh-pooh.” And if any of you get that reference, we are officially best friends, and you are granted permission to shout “Bravo” at an annoyingly loud volume. Finally, the Enclave fails because of the circumstances that allowed their base of operations to be destroyed. Spoilers ahead, but it is Fallout 3, so if this is new to you, congrats on making it out of the Vault. After being tasked to contaminate the water supply with the FEV virus, you can convince the President to destroy himself, the Raven Rock facility, and most of the Enclave, by either passing an average difficulty speech check, or by using your Science skill to confuse him with circular logic. Keep in mind, this is done by a wanderer who gained access to a cavern town by telling the mayor that his face looked like a butt.

Any AI-controlled nation in Civilization 5

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 3.26.54 PMYour computer controlled adversaries in Sid Meier’s Civilization V show up on this list for three reasons: their stupidity toward powerful nations, their negligence toward their own citizens, and their conflicting opinions regarding cooperation and coercion. I can’t tell you how many times a rival nation has seen my country and thought “Gee, they’ve got twice as large an army that’s outfitted with tanks and infantrymen, and we just researched muskets last turn. Let’s leave all of our cities unguarded and go attack them.” I’m trying to win the game without conquest for once, but they’re forcing my hand. But it’s when I take over the cities of my enemies that I realize how horrible their nation is. No roads within the cities, making it slower to move workers and soldiers through the area. Cities aren’t connected to each other, so no trade bonuses are being taken advantage of. The citizens are unhappy and starving because all of the land is dedicated to trading posts and lumber mills. Even coastal cities aren’t taking advantage of the great amount of fish and whales they can harvest. I hate having to take over cities, because it reaches a point where I’m in charge of almost twenty cities, and it’s a lot of work. And after doing Model United Nations in high school, I love seeing nations cooperate. It’s almost like a lover’s story between me and the other countries. We start off getting to know each other, and we soon realize we can both benefit from each other. We start trading resources, researching new technologies together, and whispering about the nations that built monuments that don’t apply to their culture, (nice pyramids, Germany). But then we get too close, and they say they need their space, that I’m smothering them. Suddenly everything I do is wrong, and is impeding on their sovereignty, which is nation-talk for “you don’t care about my feelings.” That’s when they get aggressive, and start lashing out. Unfortunately, that’s where the relationship ends, but instead of them getting half of my possessions, I take all of theirs.

The Council from the Mass Effect series

Council_ME3Let’s just run through the list on this one. Once again, spoiler alert.

  • Doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the Reapers until the series’s third installment
  • General mistrust of humans until a human saves the galaxy, twice.
  • Cerberus rebuilds Shepherd, savior of the galaxy, and the Council declares them as a terrorist organization
  • Shepherd’s status as a Spectre is denied or given solely symbolically at the end of ME2, despite saving the galaxy, again.
  • Despite allowing humans to finally join the Council, when Earth is taken, each species seeks to protect themselves and essentially tells the human race to go fuck itself.
  • Councilor Udina betrays the Council and attempts to assist Cerberus in a coup, as well as assassinate the other members of the Council, then accuses Shepherd of working with Cerberus. This is done after the human race (well, mostly Shepherd) worked so hard to finally earn a spot on the Council.

Apart from specific instances, the Council in itself doesn’t seem reasonable. One person makes the decisions for an entire species? And the only system of checks and balances are the other councilmen? I feel like nothing would get done, as each representative would only care about their own species. Only four individuals decide the fate of the galaxy? I’m pretty sure Shepherd has boned more aliens than there are Council members.

Honorable Mention: Province of Skyrim

Civil war and guards who care more about chicken kicking than destruction of property, enough said.

BONUS: Best Run Government: City government from EA’s Skate series

You’d think a city government that dedicated its entire police force to combating the evil scourge of skateboarding would be representative of an inefficient system. But think of it this way: in this society, no other such crime exists. There’s no murder, theft, arson, or corruption. So if you live in San Vanelona or Port Carverton, with the exception of the occasional shredder slamming into you in the middle of an intersection, you’re living in a utopian urban environment.

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