First, some housekeeping. As you can already tell, we've moved Fringe Busters to Tuesday in the schedule. This allows people more time to play it during the week and discuss, but it also helps us roll out our new format.
Fringe Busters will now have a live viewing of the game in question, where we can all get together and discuss it on Ventrillo. We setup a specific day and time for a given game and then we all can get together and talk about it live every week! The article gets posted afterwards. Look for next week's viewing at the end of this article. Now we resume our normally scheduled programming.
The “tycoon” strategy subgenre has always been rife with tongue-in-cheek humor. After all, the people in those games are reduced to nothing but consumers, and consumerism has always been a healthy target for irony. Ironic commentary on consumerism is almost as abundant as ironic commentary about religion.
Super Cult Tycoon 2 combines both into a hilarious mishmash of satire and strategy gaming. You play as a cult leader trying to build your cult by capturing acolytes in your windowless “Enlightenment Van” and taking them back to your barn. You then have them work in sweatshops generating money, or in Kool-Aid factories generating more Kool-Aid for their fellow acolytes.
The entire time, the FBI is investigating the existence of your cult, which you see as a progress bar along the top of the screen. When the progress bar becomes full, the FBI alert level is raised and it goes from quiet rumblings from FBI agents to black helicopters sent out straight to your compound. When the FBI agents make it to your headquarters/barn, the game is over. You can bribe them away with PR agencies or kill them outright with a “Robert,” which looks like a magical/Tesla sphere that zaps people.
The irony is thick in this one. When you get an Enlightenment Van full of fresh recruits, your daughter warns you, “Don’t let the oppressors of our religious freedom stop your Enlightenment Van!” The contrast between talk of religious freedom and gaining new acolytes by abducting them in your Enlightenment Van are just one of the ways the game presents irony. It’s a rare thing for a comedy game to provide irony in such abundance. Though it’s clearly a rough and incomplete alpha, it’s a clear example of how strategy games can be both funny and interesting.
Check out next week's game after the break!
Next week we're taking a closer look at A Closed World. The live viewing will be on Monday, October 17th at 9pm eastern time. Voice chat and other details will be posted, for now, on my Twitter feed later this week at pyromanfo. See you there!