Hi Willi,
Jason Stauffer
1

Thanks for your writing. I would like to say that I really like your tone in this article. In my opinion it shows that you think like a game designer because you open up concepts and explore their underlying mechanisms. I would argue that in this manner your tone is reminiscent of a scientist. I say that in the sense of a scientist from the Renaissance such as Leonardo da Vinci. It is a certain kind of curiosity that assumes that the world is not made up of predetermined categories and that the world is made up of complex systems that have internal logic and interrelationships.

The game Secret Hitler and mainstream American political discourse both work on the principal of preconceived categories and the assumption that people are forced to choose between them. When players buy into the assumption that they need to pick sides then the game wins and the players give up conceptual sovereignty and they submit to the authority of the game to define reality.

You raise awareness of this issue with these articles where you highlight that one of your goals was attention hacking. By engaging in a game, the game is capturing and holding the participants attention.

Participating in the game of US Democracy operates of the same principle. There are only 2 parties that are feasible within the game mechanics. You have to choose one of the two otherwise your choice has no agency. But you have no agency to determine the agenda of either of the two parties. So if you either vote or don’t vote you have no power over the outcome of the game. This is why American democracy is such a brilliantly designed game. It gives the illusion of participation in power. Its real aim is to prevent the masses from picking up thier toys and going home because they won’t support a corrupt system.

I would argue that your response to secret Hitler, is also the best response to US Democracy. You won the game by quitting the game. Then you publicly confronted the creators and owners of the game and revealed the methods that it uses to conceptually enslave people by attempting to hold attention for as long as possible while convincing them into believing that they have no individual agency and they need to fit within the categories and permissable choices setout by the owners of the game.