The Democratic Socialism Simulator Is (Unfortunately) Still Just as Relevant in 2024


Happy Fourth of July, I guess.

I don’t feel so patriotic after the double blow disastrous Trump-Biden debate June 27 and The Supreme Court is turning our presidents into unchallengeable monarchs. July 1st? Same thing, mate.

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On the (very tiny, faint, fleeting) vivid side, it’s a great time to talk about socialism. And that’s Always great opportunity to talk about games, that’s why I visit Molleindustria again Democratic Socialism Simulator. The turn-based decision-making simulation, released in February 2020, lets you act out the presidential process as if you were a democratic socialist elected to office. (Yes, Democratic National Committee, I know you’ll never let that happen. You did it Very Of course.)

Scenarios are presented through political actors illustrated as animals, such as a lobbyist who looks like a shark or an activist who looks like a panther, which helps this game avoid becoming more depressing than informative. As you make decisions, such as canceling student debt and openly supporting unionization efforts, a series of indicators and graphs appear at the bottom of the screen that show the impact of your choices.

Image: Molleindustria

Your decisions don’t just affect actual things like the budget; you also have to pay attention to how much power you give to society, how your choices affect the environment, and which voters you might alienate with your rhetoric. You have to hold on to enough seats in Congress to make decisions. In brief, if you go all communist, you’ll lose the next election or be overthrown. If you commit yourself to a free market, the same thing will happen.

But the goal of the game—to be re-elected and serve two full terms as president—isn’t necessarily the goal of the game. At least not now, four years after the game’s release and after months of disappointment that have come from literally every branch of the U.S. government.

I am pleased to inform you that the only parts Democratic Socialism Simulator that are no longer relevant are things that actually happened. The game’s developers had no way of knowing about the January 6, 2021 uprising when the game was released in February 2020, despite the in-game joke “Who would have thought America would overthrow its own government?”

The simulation assistant says,

Image: Molleindustria

The Framers also couldn’t have known that President Biden would actually withdraw from Iraq unceremoniously, that expanding the Supreme Court would be something liberals seriously talk about, that we would flirt with recession for most of the last four years, or that we would actually “expand our operations” in Yemen.

Ultimately, it’s melancholy to watch the game walk you through all of the endless options that could improve the United States and its citizens, and explain why and how they would be effective, only to then be returned to the reality that neither political party adequately represents the people.

But I still think this game is a great way to teach the people in your life about the benefits of democratic socialism. Even as someone who is relatively well-versed in socialist political philosophies, there are scenarios in Democratic Socialism Simulator I would never have thought that it would be possible to give employees priority to buy shares of dissolved companies.

In my last replay (each game lasts between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on how long you spend making decisions and how quickly you lose), I proudly went on to a successful second term with a ton of cash and seats in Congress. But I lost focus halfway through my second term—not because I turned 84, but because I had to move laundry—and ultimately got ousted for spending too much money trying to make America as social as possible before my presidency ended.

The election results for my second term as President say, “You have been re-elected and won your seats in Congress.”

Image: Molleindustria

The best part of the game is its replayability. Even after dozens of runs of the simulator, sometimes I see a scenario or character that I haven’t seen before. So if you’re sitting around feeling depressed about the state of our great nation this Independence Day, maybe consider escaping to a version where you can Actually make a change and make your voice heard.

The game is available for free on the App Store and for $2.99 ​​on Steam, Itch.ioand Google Play.

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