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Gaming Idea: Mariocracy

So we have on one hand government simulation games, like the board game “Diplomacy”, and “Balance of Power” – it’s not a very prominent genre, although lots of strategy and simulation games have elements of government simulation. On the other hand, we have Super Mario Bros. And we have a lot of other platformer games – suffice it to say that it’s a very popular genre, although when it comes to big budget games, we usually see FPS and adventure stuff integrated in. What if we combined the two? I had a “Democratic Mario Bros” idea quite recently (independently of the most recent ‘Bad Ideas’ installment), and for some reason I ended up fleshing out what would otherwise just be a bizarre mashup.
Anyways, the player would not directly control Mario – an AI would. There would also be a body of “voters” – basically a set of abstract numbers that have “opinions”. Frequently, they would vote to change some aspect of the level that Mario was playing through, such as removing or adding a type of enemy, giving Mario a powerup or something, etc. Less frequently, they would vote to change the abilities of the AI – changing their ability to perform certain tasks, giving them talents, removing them, etc. Your goal would be to influence these voters to maximize Mario’s progress – if the voters don’t change their positions enough, or vote entirely randomly, Mario would die. A lot. Then the game would end and you’d have to start over.

For instance, let’s say that a level was coming up with lots of Lakitus, and that the current Mario AI wasn’t good at dealing with them. You could perhaps run attack ads against Lakitus, shifting the voter opinions of them towards the negative, or try to replace the Mario with one better at handling Lakitus. You could also try and manipulate the voters into giving Mario more powerups, like a cape, or a fire flower, or even just some extra lives.

This on its own would be pretty bare-bones, but there’s plenty of ways to enhance it. For instance, you could give the player a reputation system – they have to keep it high, otherwise their influence on the voters dwindles, and at the lowest levels, the player could be ignored entirely. A funding system could be added, in which the player needs to keep themselves cost efficient, and possibly handle fundraisers. Intrigue and scandal could be added in to, at the very least, give the player the option of random events, or perhaps allow them more influence on specifics events.

I bet that, if handled properly, this could make a fun game. Then again, lots of things could be fun.

 

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