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May 20, 2007

<< Database Democracy | A Delicate Poke to the Body Politic >>

History Games

Historian Niall Ferguson loves simulation games. The piece (by Clive Thompson, natch) is so tightly-written that it resists blockquoting… so just go read it.

Okay, one blockquote. This is a pretty rad statement coming from a Harvard historian:

“Serious games are the next big platform,” he says.

I’ve been reading “The End of History and the Last Man” to get ready for Francis Fukuyama’s fast-approaching Long Now talk and now I’m wondering what the End of History game would look like…

I think it might involve holding down for two seconds, then pressing up and the A button to make Hegel do a lightning kick.

Posted May 20, 2007 at 10:47 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Society/Culture, Video Games


I see where Ferguson is coming from with that quote. What happens when the Secretary of State is someone who grew up playing Civ II, who has all the economic and political data of the nation fed into an army of simulators (honed via evolutionary algorithms on decades of data from the past) in order to predict the likely consequences of each policy shift?

What happens, in other words, when policy makers have a crystal ball -- and it's a computer game?

Posted by: Matt on May 21, 2007 at 07:38 AM

I think we might be on to something like the 21st-century equivalent of the RAND corporation.

Also, when Hegel does his Lightning Kick, he shouts: "Aufhebung!

There's a thread of Ender's Game here, as well: When the kids get good enough in the simulations, can't we just plug their commands into the central bank and/or the army?

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