Their marketing is really on the nose for how the game appears to give players a lot of agency and exposed the grey areas in corporate decisions…
“ones which treat (but importantly do not cure) chronic illnesses”. What a load of crap. If my competitor is making a drug that treats an illness, and I have one that cures an illness, I would rush mine to market and make more money. This is stupid on the par of “they have a cure to cancer, but it is more profitable to keep it a secret”. It is also a big slap in the face of researchers that have dedicated their lives to curing disease.
I’ll also note that they are charging the absurdly high price of $19.95. Where do they get off charging that much for what is just electrons?
Yes. This is how to do political commentary in interactive media. Don’t just hit people over the head with a message. Allow the mechanics of the game to present the point to the player as an emergent property of the world you’ve created.
(which is why games can also be very good at being propaganda- you can make game actions, results and the emergent ethical lessons diverge very sharply from reality.)
Also, One of my first thoughts was that this sounds like the sort of game that would get the interest of Ben Goldacre- and yup, he’s already tweeted about it.
If no one profits, nothing substantial ever gets done. Welcome to real life, where we all have bills to pay and families to feed. Would you rather that no effective treatment exist? Would you rather the FDA relax safety and efficacy standards? No and no? Well, then get ready to pay for it somehow because drug development is expensive and clinical trials are really really expensive.
I just bought this and though I’ve only had time to swim around on the beginner end of the spectrum so far, it’s still interesting and tricksy. It’s sort of like a business sim and a puzzle game had a baby and it decided it wanted to go in to pharmaceuticals when it grew up. I suspect I’m “failing to optimise” somewhat though because I can’t seem to bring myself to cut corners when I know I can create a side-effect free version. Strangely not because I find myself thinking “those poor digital people!”, but because I demand “perfection” even though that costs more and eats in to my profits.
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