Mimic Metropolis: Advocating Change
“Hey mate, have you checked out this game that came out just yesterday?” I looked up from my computer just in time to see my friend Michael plop his computer bag nonchalantly on the table next to me, disregarding the looks he was receiving for the sudden loud noise.
“Check this out, bro…” Was all he said as he took out his computer and flipped the lid open.
“Oh, is it that game that allows to you take control of a suburb as the person in charge of that area?” I asked, intrigued as similar games such as the Civilization Series, Sims, SimCity and Skylines appeared in my mind.
“That’s the one, Mimic Metropolis…except the game base is established off of actual reality…Australia was recently patched into the game.” Michael said, a beaming smile on his face as he showed off his developed area to me.
Just like that, my focus was divided until I was able to get home and purchase the game through Steam. I was amused to see that there was a Facebook and Twitter share function that allowed for the progression of any player to be seen by other players. Immediately starting up the game once it was downloaded, I started a new game and I was impressed by the likeness of each area compared to its real-life counterpart. After locating Panania, where I am living, I clicked ‘Select’ button.
The concept behind the game was simple, the player plays as the representative or councilor in charge of the area of their choosing with the character being fully customizable to their tastes. The game is revolutionary to its genre in that it will allow for the player to interact with various non-playable characters within the game world that made up the population. Essentially it would fit in the city building game genre but mixed with the best qualities of a role-playing game. The player is placed into the view of 1st person with an alternate 3rd person view.
They would also be required to talk and inquiry with regard to what the people in their particular suburb are concerned about and their needs. Besides ‘patroling’ the suburb to talk with various in-game characters there are multiple ways in which the player is notified with regards to what needs to be done, one being that the player is able to pull out a smartphone and browsing the in-game social media platform, MeRant. Through it, the player is able to recognize matters that are classified as top priorities due to the amount of people behind the movement.
There are many objectives within the game but the main objective of the game is to keep the happiness level of the suburb the player is in charge of above 50% and if the requirement were not met then the amount of people with poor stress levels would rise as a result thus leading to poor health conditions and in turn generate animosity from the in game characters towards the player. The long-term goal was to further develop and improve the area the player was in charge of.
The population’s happiness is also the key factor in keeping the player in office. There are scheduled press conferences in which the media would grill the player on certain issues and the player would have a maximum one-minute to answer the question through clicking one of several responses listed on the screen.
I smiled to myself as my plan of increasing the number of local jobs available was slowly coming to fruition as another large modern looking mall was constructed. It had been no walk in the park to transform what were just a few individual stores to the busy bustling suburb that it was now. I was amazed of how much people could actually walk to work in oppose to the overwhelming majority that drove to work. The game does a good job in embedding actual statistics and facts that would periodically show up on the screen.
2 in 3 Australians drive to work, the average Australian car is driven 12,881 km/year, there are 13 million registered Australian vehicles which amounts to 167 billion kilometres which equates to driving to Pluto and back 20 times per year.
I smiled as I received the mandatory monthly medical report, who would have thought that reducing the time needed for travel to and back from work could significantly reduce stress levels and therefore lower the risk of getting diseases such as blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Saving the game, I left my room and walked downstairs and decided to make coffee for myself.
Turning on the television, I distinctively heard the familiar voice of the local councilor in charge of the suburb saying in a rather firm tone that he was fighting for the improvement of this neighborhood to reduce the time spent traveling to work and therefore raise the quality of health as well as stronger unity of the community. Hearing those words formed a small smile on my lips as a sense of déjà vu flashed within my mind.