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    Feb 16th, 2018 at 19:41:04     -    1979 Revolution: Black Friday (PC)

    In my last play through, I got introduced to Ali who exemplifies the violent aspirations of the revolution. He rejects the fact that violence should be avoided, and shows a lot of hate for the people who work for the current regime. While Babak, on the other hand, shows sympathy for the works of the regime calling them oppressed as well. He notes that they have to do whatever they can to support their families. It will be interesting to see how their rivalry and differing viewpoints advance in the story.

    As I said in a previous log, the game leans on the same mechanics as Telltaleís adventure games. This includes the moral side of things, where you are given choices and told that other characters will remember it. One thing I noticed is that a lot of the time these choices have very little short-term effect. For example, dialogue often results in the same response line or action no matter what, giving you the illusion of choice. Iím sure these will cascade in the end though as you get different endings depending on the results of previous chapters. That said, this does kind of feel weird as a player.

    This play through had a lot of focus on violence and its place in revolution. Personally, I think it is good to minimize this as much as possible. Revolutions often criticize those in charge for their cruelty and insensitivity to otherís lives. However, if the revolution resorts to murder and heavy violence, in many ways we just replace one tyrant with another. One who just emphasizes different qualities in his government, but with the same authoritarian flair. I think if a revolution instead relies on changing peopleís minds and hearts, it will do better. This can be seen in the game where some of the military refuse to use lethal force or exert much force at all due to them disagreeing with the government. The government can be overthrown for this, as it only has power in so much as it has support. That said, violence in response to violence from the governmentís military could be required or important as a government lashes out before dying. Iím excited to see how these issues evolve in the story going forward.

    Another portion of the game returns you to the interrogation. Here you are asked what you know about Bibi. She is a character that is part of the revolution working with Raza, who was betrayed in the last section. While interrogated, you watch your brother be tortured in order to force answers out of you. This represents another interesting moral dilemma, as potentially the information could be damning to the revolution if shared, and that could have far-reaching consequences. But in order to not share it you have to watch your brother be tortured, causing him immense pain. This pits the wellbeing of everyone against the wellbeing of those close to you. This is an interesting situation, and would definitely be a difficult choice for many people to make. In my play through I avoided giving as much info as I could, but as a player Iím far removed from having that character actually be my brother.

    This brings my game logs to an end. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this game. I do plan on putting a lot more time into the game in the next week to prepare for my OPA. I donít feel that I have played enough yet for that, but I do have a good feel for the game and the themes it will explore. I really liked this game so far.

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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 20:42:23     -    1979 Revolution: Black Friday (PC)

    One thing that stood out in my second play session is how the game integrates real history with in the game with little journal entries. Certain events or historical facts are highlighted, such as in the photography session of the gathered crowd, and then you can optionally choose to read more which I did. This gives a lot of good background info for those ignorant of the story like me. The game seems to explore a lot of the ideas about deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong rather than having the government tell us what is right and wrong which was at the heart of the revolution. Even if a government ďmeansĒ well, it should not necessarily enforce its views on the people.
    I found the protest fascinating, itís crazy to see such a massive gathering of people all united under the same cause. Itís amazing to examine the movements and see what elements led to them and how they are politicized by both sides. Even within the protestors there seems to be a big rift in what people want out of the revolution. Some want more secularism and freedom along the lines of western capitalism, while others want something less drastic that retains the Muslim religion at the heart of government but with more democracy to guide it.
    One other aspect that is interesting is the reflection of media and journalism in the game. Thereís definitely an emphasis on what sharing the truth with the wider world can do for a movement, as well as how the media influences people. In this second play through you run into a guy covered in photographs. The man is called ďThe Walking DeadĒ as he is covered in the photographs of murdered revolutionaries. This helped evoke the cruelty of the current government towards those who would question it. This also gets into the violence aspect. Some members of the revolution stress that violence will be required for them to get any traction. Others, like those who put together the demonstration and mass prayers, emphasize peaceful protest.
    An event where a theater was lit on fire is brought up as being something necessary for the resistance, even though over 350 people died.
    Iím interested to see where the story goes, and what kind of stances and viewpoints are represented on all these divisive topics. Also, due to my ignorance on the topic, Iím excited to see how it all plays out.

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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 20:37:46     -    1979 Revolution: Black Friday (PC)

    The intro for this game is interesting, in that you are largely dropped into a scenario with little background. For me, I was unfamiliar with the history behind the event which made it even more confusing. However, it is still clear that this is a story that takes place in Iran, and that involves revolution against the current regime.

    In the opening moments your character is captured by the regime and treated like a terrible criminal. Hints at horrible acts are mentioned multiple times by your interrogator, and then you are questioned about bombings that your organization supposedly planned. From here the game jumps into a flashback, seemingly to fill in the missing details. It jumps back to when you first meet someone named Babak, who is named as the leader of the resistance.

    Overall I really enjoyed the intro as it gave a good flavor to the experience. It seems very similar to a Telltale adventure game in its style and delivery. I like that it keeps it a little vague over whether the resistance or the regime is being honest, however there is definitely an emphasis on the regime being cruel and potentially torturing their captors. The interrogator also mentions that he executed the others captured with the main character, while itís not clear if this is a bluff it does not reflect well on the characterization of the regime.

    From a moral standpoint it seems like the game will play with various ideas about when is revolution okay, is violent or peaceful protest more effective, and explore the pains that an out of control government can cause. All of these themes seem super interesting, and I look forward to analyzing them deeper in future weeks.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 22:45:11     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    For my final gamelog of Prison Architect, I simply played through most of the third campaign mission. This mission focused on the topic of prison rioting, tasking the player with cleaning up the riot, and handling the immediate aftermath. This mission played the most on the game side of things and a little less on the story. You are tasked with rebuilding the prison after, as well as directing riot crews and paramedics through the prison to bring it back to order. This is my favorite mission thus far due to this freedom.

    From an ethical standpoint, there was not too much of a statement about rioting itself, but there was an interesting statement made about prisons in general. A hostage situation takes place, and reveals details about the prison in doing so. The original riot started due to a set of judges being caught extending harsher sentences for bribery. It turns out this goes all the way up to the Mayor and Warden of the prison. They want longer sentences since they make more money for each prisoner kept in prison, through keeping costs low and pocketing the remainder. This is an interesting implication that plays well into the idea of for profit prisons.

    From my perspective, a for profit prison seems like a poor idea. It incentivizes poor treatment of prisoners to maximize profits for a private company. This is a good example of something that a more impartial government might do best to manage. Although the gameplay suggests this might result in similar flaws via corruption, at least the incentive to mistreat prisoners is not necessarily baked into the business model.

    Back to the overall gameplay involved, I enjoyed moving the riot crews through and cleaning up the prison. I liked that another gameplay oriented moral choice appeared in the form of firing crews which would shoot on sight, and were a more aggressive alternative to the riot crews. However, this seemed half-baked as you only received one and were unable to call more making it less of a moral choice and more of just a showcase of other paths riots may take. That said, it was still a fun idea, and could be seen as necessary if the prison riot is getting out of hand and already costing many lives.

    Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Prison Architect, and plan to continue playing in my own time. I look forward to playing it more to fill out my future analysis as well. I do feel like maybe it could have been handled with a little more tact, but for just some random game about prisons it does a great job of handling it with care and interest, while also keeping the gamer engaged.

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