The website of the Maoist International Movement (MIM) has posted video game reviews from a Maoist point of view. Here are some comments from the review of Sim 3000.
"Sim City" has completely bourgeois assumptions, which is why it is not MIM’s
favorite economic strategy game. The mayor has the power to set tax rates and
this influences the level of development. There is no option to nationalize
factories…. People who believe the mayor set taxes too high may leave the city. [Interesting that Maoist’s would comment on this so openly! AT]…
The Sim City economy may go through cycles including crises which reduce the
population and destroy city government revenue, but the explanation for that is
not Marx’s labor theory of value. What class struggle appears is actually within
the government, with police, fire and mass transit workers occasionally going on
strike…[That wouldn’t happen in a Maoist society!]
In actual fact in the capitalist
world, having more or fewer police stations does not affect the crime rate, but
in "Sim City 3000," police hiring levels affect the crime rate and thus property
values. This is an example why it is important for Maoists also to write
computer games. Propaganda and conventional wisdom say that police exist to
reduce crime instead of perpetrating it. The truth that there is no effect of
police hiring or budget levels on crime is difficult for the public to swallow.
[I guess the MIM has not read my paper on this issue.]
MIM does make a good point about Rise of Nations but naturally I draw the opposite conclusion:
…RoN cuts through the dense fog of bourgeois
economics which focuses on consumer choices, markets and profits….
The RoN economy does not depend on individual choices, sales or profits. The
marketplace does exist but it plays no directing role. It is the player who
directs the economy and if for no other reason, that is why MIM has to recommend
Thanks to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing Blog for the link.