American Dream

Your browser broker the American Dream. Nice.

Warning: I get the impression that there may be epilepsy issues with some screens of this game.

"Oh great," you're thinking. "Another overwrought and politicized work mocking modern consumerism. I bet you can't even win."

Well that's where you're wrong, Mr. or Ms. Smugface McSmartypants. You totally can win this game. Mind you, it's Drugwars with horse armor, but still totally winnable.

Here's what you can do: Work (trade celebrity stocks) and go home to upgrade your apartment with cooler apartment stuff. When you've got all your stuff upgraded, you throw a party to show it off. Someone at the party gives you a hot stock tip, which, as far as I know, always pays off. After the party, you go back to work. When you return home, there will be a new catalog (portrayed as a white Holy Bible), informing you that everything you owned is out of style again.

Turns out that everything gets more expensive (maybe 5x more?) with each fashion update.

At this point you start to wonder if this is supposed to just be about the endless cycle of consumerism and inflation, or if there's an end to it. There's only one way to know, but you're not sure you're willing to find out.

I do like that, when you're holding down a button to buy or sell (for trading large volumes), it flashes giant "BUY BUY BUY" or "SELL SELL SELL" in hypercolors behind the display. Increpere games have this elusive kinda-fun kinda-bullying feel to them. Why are you even playing this?

The answer, of course, is because I told you to play it, and I totally have that sort of control over you. Whatever; play what thou wilt. It might help you talk about this game, though.

Talking Points: I like the Increpere style. I think it lends itself to shocking us out of just playing—a sort of Brechtian distancing move to keep us from being swept along, half-cognizant of what and how we play. Is that a worthwhile move in video games? Do you think it is used well here? When I won the game, I certainly was relieved to have won, but I didn't exactly feel fiero. Do you agree that the victory feels empty? How might that be accomplished, or might that feeling of emptiness be increased?

[size=20]Play Now[/size]

Comments

Fyi - your play now link is bad. It has an extra %20 in it

Edit: Fun little game. What's up with the sheep?

The stock market sim itself is a fun little mechanic. There's definitely a statement on conformity and superficial appearance. (It's not just a stock market--it's a stock market of '80s celebrities!)

Commenting on the ending...

Spoiler:

Once I figured out the trick, the million seemed trivial and the "doing what I love" seemed so facile...you did this because it made money, and it made you look good in front of other people who mostly only cared about appearances, sex, and cash.

I'm a millionaire now! Where do I pick up my check?

This game is pretty hilarious. I didn't get to the millionaire status but I bought a bunch of stuff. I then found out that bidding when a stock is negative more often than not leads to a positive result. Which is how my father explained stocks to me. Buy low and hope it goes up.

I found the stock market in this game way to easy to predict.

Tanglebones wrote:

Fyi - your play now link is bad. It has an extra %20 in it

Edit: Fun little game. What's up with the sheep?

Someone must have ducked in and fixed the link for me.

Also: Sheep?

WizKid wrote:

I found the stock market in this game way to easy to predict.

That's the gist of Gremlin's spoiler, too. It's interesting, because making money certainly doesn't seem that simple in real life (despite what the infomercials tell me).

wordsmythe wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Fyi - your play now link is bad. It has an extra %20 in it

Edit: Fun little game. What's up with the sheep?

Someone must have ducked in and fixed the link for me.

Also: Sheep?

WizKid wrote:

I found the stock market in this game way to easy to predict.

That's the gist of Gremlin's spoiler, too. It's interesting, because making money certainly doesn't seem that simple in real life (despite what the infomercials tell me).

One of the 'sex scenes' is a dude and a sheep

And the 'game' part of the game is really easy, once you earn enough to max out your apartment once. You can stay in fashion without having to break a financial sweat, and get the stock tips that allow you to earn crazy money. It's an intentional self-reinforcing cycle, and what I think the game is trying to say is that you need to have that kind of social connection to get knowledge, which leads to money, which leads to better/more social connections, creating an incestuous cycle that's great while you're in it, but terrible if you're on the outside, looking in.

Spoiler:

I liked the orgies.

This game has something for everyone!