A VR Sim for Those Who Think that Politics Is Real

Game developers should make a virtual reality simulation for people who enjoy the endorphin rush of outrage.

The simulation would have to be so engaging that it draws everybody deeply entrenched in the cult of politics out of everybody else’s way. Imagine if facebook or twitter were filled with people living unique lives with interesting perspectives! Instead, both forums are a series of endless arguments and troll-wars and preachy moralizing between the two most bottom-of-the-barrel, played out perspectives that ever simplified the unimaginably complex human narrative: the old liberal versus conservative paradigm. What a shame!

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VR Sim: Politics Is Real would be a two-disc set, with one set of games for liberals and another set for conservatives. Pick your poison! There would be many games on each disc. Here are some game ideas, in no particular order.

For liberals, a game called RE-EDUCATION CAMP. The point of this game would be to find people who are not one hundred percent on board with a futuristic utopian society and put them in re-education camps. The guests at the camps must be turned into good human beings through hard labor, food restriction, and challenging indoctrination mini-games.

For conservatives, a war sim called CALL OF JESUS: MODERN WARGOD. This highly popular game would be a perfect way to get ultra-conservatives from the world’s most annoying religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – and stick them in a world where they can kill one another over and over and over again while leaving everybody else free to relax and read a book or take a dog on a walk.

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For liberals, a game called ESCAPE FROM KITCHEN. In this game, a female protagonist has been chained to an oven by an evil husband who guards the exit. The player will have to use their wits to avoid making her captor anything to eat, thus starving him to death while avoiding starvation herself. Once the cell phone item has been found, the player will be able to eat food by downloading it from Pinterest photos. Other bonus power-ups: college diploma, CEO suit, and abortion machine.

For conservatives, a game called DON’T BE GAY. The point of this game would be to navigate a labyrinth full of homoerotic imagery and tantalizingly forbidden sights, but still make the choice to be a straight man. Successfully getting through the labyrinth would require you to move away from monsters that look like physically fit, scantily clad young men, and yet somehow not have sex with them. Occasionally the player would find an “assault rifle” power-up that would allow them to rack up points by shooting homosexuals, sort of like when Pac-Man ate a magical bean or whatever and was able to eat ghosts for a limited time.

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For liberals, a game called FANTASTIC RACIST VOYAGE. In this game, racism has nearly been eradicated, but a few molecules of racism still exist deep inside one single human being. Players are shrunk down and injected into the body of this individual, and they must cooperate to hunt down the last few molecules of racism and blast them before they can grow into racism-cancer and spread from host to host, once again turning humanity into a bunch of shitty, awful racists. The player will only have about five minutes to hunt down this facet of humanity that has slowly formed over hundreds of thousands of years, so it will be a really pulse-pounding race against time.

For conservatives, a game called FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE BROTHERHOOD. In this game you enroll in a fraternity and engage in a series of drinking games while avoiding taking any classes or learning anything about the knowledge your species has accumulated over thousands of years. At the end of the game you become so inebriated that you can barely even see the family business you inherit.

For liberals, a game called LOVE-COP. “Part man, part liberal, all cop,” is the tagline. In this game, the player would be a police officer patrolling a dangerous neighborhood armed only with hugs and good intentions. I’m sort of drawing a blank on this one… other than crawling into a sewer drain and waiting until your shift is over, I’m not sure how the player would survive. Ultimately I think the game would turn into a shooter, but with little hearts rather than bullets taking down violent perpetrators.

For conservatives, a game called ALWAYS A REBEL (SOMETIMES). In this game, every stage begins with a rousing quote from the freedom-loving founding fathers. The player will be filled with a sense that they should fight to pursue happiness based on their individual will. But then the gameplay will juxtapose that with a grueling level-grinding system in places like military bases, corporate offices, and churches. The classic gameplay design “A jumps, B shoots” will be replaced with “A means ‘yes sir!’ and B proudly tows the line.” How much of a rules-obeying lickspittle can you be for your corporate masters? Are you willing to defend freedom and human dignity by shining your military officer’s shoes like a good boy? Gameplay will do another 180 during boss-fights against pacifists, hippies, people from technologically undeveloped nations unlucky enough to be sitting on valuable resources, and women who ruin football season by speaking out against wealthy rapist athletes. In those instances, players will have to ruthlessly smash any opposition by generally being a shitty person.

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For liberals, a game called GENDERFLUX. Since gender isn’t based on biology, but on social conditioning, players will have to give a child the freedom to choose their own gender by indoctrinating them into believing they are a different gender than they appear to be. Keeping toy guns and cars away from boys, and dolls and cooking sets and anything pink away from girls, is a must in this Super Mario-inspired run-and-jump game that shows you how shitty you are for assuming Mario is a man and the Princess is a woman.

For conservatives, a military shooter with the challenge rating turned all the way down. The player is a soldier equipped with modern weapons and dozens of heavily equipped allies, and even tanks and helicopters, in an endless war against outnumbered enemies equipped with Stone Age weapons or a few shoddy firearms cobbled together during the Cold War. If the player ever feels the least bit challenged, he can call in an airstrike from a stealth bomber flying so fast and so far above the playing field that the enemy cannot even target them. All boss fights are merely accidental friendly fire incidents due to some levels being so choked by friendly units. Every stage begins with a briefing given by a military commander who has an extreme right-wing Israeli politician whispering in his ear.

For liberals, a game called EVERY CULTURE IS GREAT EXCEPT YOURS. A game inspired by Civilization in which players don’t manage their own civilization, but everyone else’s. Players will work hard to promote and cultivate computer-controlled opponents who gratefully accept resources and charity workers. Players will have to ignore the advancements of their own civilization with a series of eye-rolling and head-shaking as they accumulate Guilt Points. The player can gain Smug Self-Satisfaction points for ignoring or downplaying the atrocities committed by other civilizations.

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For conservatives, a game called ONLY AMERICA EXISTS. In this Civilization-inspired game, computer controlled opponents do not look like humans, but instead look like the resources they have. The player already begins the game with an incredible array of military units, but the challenge of turning the whole world into one giant red, white, and blue paradise comes from your own limp-wristed, gutless, whiny civilian populace, who have to be carefully managed. Getting resources won’t be easy. Instead of developing Achievements or Great Wonders, the player will have to develop a research tree that includes carefully controlled narratives, media manipulations, and Political Hero units who can say incredibly simple jingoistic phrases that will get people excited about stealing resources from other nations – or, rather, liberating foreign people from tyrants who oppose freedom and democracy.

The trailer for the liberal set of games would show a group of Democratic politicians hugging each other and petting a group of deer peacefully making their way through the senate building. “Let’s pass a bill that will create world peace and end hunger and equalize equality equally everywhere!” one of the peaceful Democrats would say. Then a terrible shadow would fill the room and a Republican with glowing red eyes would say, “I’LL GO ALONG WITH THAT… BUT ONLY IF WE EDIT THE BILL, EVER SO SLIGHTLY, TO INCLUDE DEATH CAMPS FOR ALL POOR PEOPLE AND MINORITIES! HA HA HAAAA!!!”

Well dear reader, the flow of ideas has suddenly ended, so I’ll end this here. If you hated this, please let me know.

CONTRA: The Great American Novel

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I just remembered something ridiculous from my childhood.

I was a little kid when the NES game Contra came out. Maybe it’s not safe to assume everyone knows about Contra… it was about two shirtless military guys who go to a remote island to shoot a bunch of alien invaders. These guys could do flips in the air, so they were pretty hot shit, even compared to “regular” special forces soldiers. I could only beat it using the “thirty lives” cheat code, but I think most people who claimed to beat Contra without using it were lying anyway.

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Anyway, I tried to write a lot, even as a kid. I heard the term “Great American Novel” somewhere, and I was pretty dumb back then, so it stuck with me. Because I was really into Contra, and because I was a pretty balls-out kind of kid, I knew that Contra would make the perfect Great American Novel. So I had to do it.

I pulled a few books off the shelves and looked at them. They were freaking enormous. I started to doubt myself. Surely it was impossible for a human being to write an entire book… but I knew that I couldn’t let the guys from Contra down. They never backed down, never, even if you killed them twenty-nine times, they would still kick ass for America. I had to do the same.

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I pulled out my parents’ piece of shit typewriter. I’ve never understood people who are romantic about typewriters. I spend a lot of my life getting angry at my computer, but a typewriter is even worse. It weighed as much as I did, plus I had to wind a ribbon through it that made my hands look like a coal miner’s corpse. I had to jam paper in there and nothing was ever even.

As I was messing with this awful machine, I realized I couldn’t just write down the events of the game itself. Everyone already knew that story. Plus the thing that intrigued me about the game was wondering who those guys were, why they were chosen to take down an alien invasion force without any backup, why they were capable of flipping through the air, why they wore red and blue pants rather than normal military gear, etc. So I decided that the Great American Contra Novel would have to be a prequel. Keep in mind that “prequel” wasn’t a term commonly thrown around in the 80s, so I was really being a pioneer.

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I started writing. Chapter one started with… and don’t worry, I think I got only a paragraph or so into the Great American Contra Novel… it started with the guy in the blue pants sitting in an air plane. I’m assuming he had his shirt off. But a terrorist got up and started making a real shit-show out of everything. “Not on my watch,” the guy in blue pants and no shirt probably said out loud, then he stood up and walked toward the terrorist… and then… and then…

That’s about as far as I got. As stupid as this story sounds, I saw it recreated in a popular military-thriller while browsing a book store. I was in my twenties. The book opened with a military guy sitting on a plane (I think he had his shirt on in this version) when a terrorist started causing a real ruckus. The military guy was like, “Not on my watch,” and stood up. He made his way over to the terrorist… and then… and then… I quit reading.

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It was pretty bad, but at least that famous writer finished his awful book. I never finished Contra: A Tale of Two Dudes (or whatever it was called). I ended up figuring out that if you slammed your entire palm onto as many keys as you could, it would make all of the metal bits of the typewriter move at once. They would get hooked on each other in mid-air and it was super fun to flip them back down. Oh man, it was great!

Who wants to write a shitty book when you got that kind of action goin’ on?!

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I did end up writing some books, though. They can be found HERE. And one of them is free! Can you believe that?