osengar64's Prison Architect (PC)
| [March 3, 2016 01:13:08 AM]
| For my last playsession, I managed to finish the campaign. The last two missions were quite difficult for me. Particularly the last one.|
In these types of tycoon games I tend to struggle keeping a net positive cash flow as I attempt to maintain and expand my areas. In this one, I found it particularly troubling as there is a massive moral consequence.
This entire game is based off of the For-Profit prison industry. The worse the prisoners are treated or the longer their sentences, the more cash the prison generates. I find this extremely unpleasant.
From the start I had a feeling the game was pointing out problems with For-Profit prisons, and that was confirmed in the G.A.B.O.S mission. I felt that the idea would be changing to something more idealistic - reform over retention with less of an emphasis on cost.
I was incorrect. The last mission requires a net positive cash flow, meaning there are sacrifices that must be made in other areas - livable conditions, adequate medical care, safety, etc, in order to meet the requirement.
I find this kind of prison system heavily flawed. When a prison is converted into a for profit system, it becomes an industry similar to what we find morally wrong about exploited workers in other countries. The argument could be made that the inmates don't deserve better treatment as they did something wrong to be placed in prison to begin with, yet this is a flawed argument as the prisoners are now being treated as a means to an end.
To me prisons should not be an industry. These institutions serve a purpose - to keep those who are not fit for society out of the populace while attempting to reform them.
I am not saying that prisoners should live off society as leeches, but they should not be exploited for monetary gain either. To me, a prison would work best as a
system that generates just enough revenue to be self sustaining.
Overall, I enjoyed Prison Architect. The game gave an interesting view on three (that I've noticed) moral flaws with some prison ideas we currently use.
The death penalty, racist sentencing, and For Profit system were all well pointed out by this game.
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| [March 2, 2016 12:41:13 AM]
| Two playsessions into prison architect and I've noticed an interesting trend in scripted enemy characters.|
I've just cleared the chapter where the CEO dies and begun the next mission afterward. From mission one to this point there have only been two
white enemies. The first is the man you execute in the tutorial. The second is the broken man in the mission I ended the playsession on.
The others are minorities: itialian mobsters and black men.
The game portrays the minorities differently than the white men. The first is shown to have regret over the premeditated double homicide. The second was partners with Benedict
until the confrontation that got them both arrested, where he did not fire a shot at the officers. Meanwhile Benedict himself is portrayed as a thug. He is hyperviolent, cruel, and free of remorse
for his actions. Similarly the Palermo family (including Nico Tamoretti) are mobsters. They're actively smuggling drugs and alcohol into the prison, and running a criminal organization from behind bars.
The family is of italian descent, fitting with the mobster theme, and completely cold. Nico sets the prison on fire in an effort to kill his brother-in-law, but kills the Don instead. Later he hires another
prisoner to kill his brother-in-law (Sonny Palermo), and succeeds.
I found the difference in portrayal interesting. In the current American prison system this seems to be the general reasoning behind most inmates. The current climate, particularly in America, tends to be that minorities
are viewed as more thug like than their white counterparts. This is fueled by stereotypes and the game does a wonderful job playing off these and portraying them in an interesting way.
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| [February 29, 2016 11:42:41 PM]
| Right off the bat Prison Architect hits you with an interesting delema: is execution moral?|
The first mission of the campaign is just teaching you the ropes: how to build basic rooms, how to hook up utilities.
From the art the game looks tongue in cheek hilarious - simple graphics, with music reminiscent of the Tycoon games (Roller Coaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, etc) and Theme Hospital.
I spent the first few minutes, while the workers were building the new foundation, looking through the prisoners list of crimes, looking for differences in sentences based on skin color.
I was wondering if the game played to the general trend of people of color getting longer sentences for lesser crimes.
So far it seems fair, but that is only from the first chapter of the campaign.
I was calmly watching the workers scurry around while they completed the foundation when the CEO calls.
He had me build an Execution Area, with an imminent room and electric chair.
The game still presented the same art style, up until the Polaroid picture giving you the backstory of the man scheduled for execution.
The photos are similar to a comic book, and are much more serious than the game appears.
The backstory of the man scheduled for execution was not what I expected. Instead of it being something fantastical, which would have matched my expectations given the art style,
the story was dark. The man's wife was cheating so he followed her and killed her and her lover. Legally everything is in order and the man is to be executed. Then the priest
enters. He briefly questions the chief about the morality of the action. The chief responded that we are not to decide whether the action is moral or amoral, the law already decided his sentence.
To advance the story, the only option is to carry out the execution. This plays another cutscene where you see the priest comfort the man on his way to the chair. Then the guard throws the switch, the screen goes white, and the next chapter loads.
This related to a story in Oklahoma a few weeks ago. A prisoner was sentenced to death for her role as mastermind in her husband's murder. By the time of the execution she was reformed, held a Master's degree,
and was a model prisoner. Yet her sentence was carried out. I had to question, is this the best practice? I am generally for capital punishment. There are people who should not be part of this world. But if the reform is successful, which is the goal
of the prison institution in the first place, should the sentence still be carried out or reconsidered in light of new evidence?
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osengar64's Prison Architect (PC)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Monday 29 February, 2016