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    Mar 30th, 2018 at 00:45:27     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    Another session down, and though Iím really enjoying the game, I gotta say Iím kind of disappointed by the lack of meaningful moral choices. The game provides the tools to manage the prison however you wish, though it seems youíre heavily incentivized to reform prisoners through educational programs and therapy rather than punishment. Sure, you CAN create a prison with awful conditions, liberal use of punitive reform, with no visitation or chance of parole, but thatís a fast track to rioting and bankruptcy. Itís hard being a tyrannical warden in this economy. The game encourages the improvement of prison conditions through grants, which serve as side-quests that reward you with essential funds for running your prison. The vast majority of them push for the betterment of prison conditions, such as the Health and Well Being and The Reform through Education Initiative grants. Thus, as far as I can see, thereís really only one way to play the game, which makes it unfortunately linear. Iíve put about 22 hours into it so far though, so that certainly doesnít mean it isnít fun. I just worry Iíll be scrambling for a thesis for my OPA when the time comesÖ 😊

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    Mar 28th, 2018 at 22:59:56     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    Iíve just completed my first session with Prison Architect, and boy do I like where itís going. The premise of managing a prison is a fantastic foundation on which to place all kinds of moral dilemmas. At the very beginning of the campaign, youíre tasked with building an execution facility for a prisoner named ĎEdwardí, who murdered his wife after catching her cheating on him. While you canít do much about his sentence, even if you were so inclined as to spare him, the game does give you optional objectives to improve Edwardís cell to make his last moments more comfortable.

    There seems to be two Ďsidesí to the morality in this game: those who favor punishment and those who favor reform through educational programs and therapy. At first, the two sides seemed pretty black and white, but as I got further into the session, I was happy to see the lines blur a bit. For instance, I decided to lower the quantity and quality of food the prisoners got in order to make enough money to expand various reformation programs. Do the ends justify the means? Well, in this case, yeah probably seeing as their hunger was temporary whereas the life skills theyíll learn are permanentÖ thatís what Iíll be telling my prisonís investors anyway 😊

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    Feb 17th, 2018 at 00:53:28     -    This is the Police (PC)

    Iíve now reached Day 17 on this third and final session. As expected, things are picking up with the mafia. Iíve gone from one request a day to now getting two, sometimes three, and they usually want more officers for them. This might just be random chance, but I like to think that itís indicative of the deepening of the relationship between the mafia and Jack Boyd. Though they donít have any huge leverage on him (yet), if he wants to meet his goal of making half a million before he leaves the force, then heís inexorably tied to their desires, as itís only through them is he going to be able to meet his rather lofty goal. Thereís just no legal way to make that much in 180 days as a police chief. Iíd say theyíve got their claws deeper in Jack than heíd care to admit.

    Some interesting new mechanics were introduced since my last session. For instance, I chose to side with Sandís criminal organization because what can I say, heís old-fashioned, Jackís old-fashionedÖ it seemed like the best match. In doing so, Jackís pitted himself against the rival gang leader. Their battle for the city of Freeburg is represented by a scoreboard of sorts. The goal is keep the leader you sided with ahead of the other. Unfortunately, this dooms you to some less than legal tasks in order to keep your dark messiah in the lead. To top it all off, you also have to keep city hall happy while trying to fight this gang war and those pesky civilians always need protecting, so it all makes for a very busy Jack Boyd. Youíre constantly spread too thinly, and many concessions have to be made, and many people die as a result of these concessions, all in the name of making Jack a wealthier man. Itís such an ignoble goal, but it makes for compelling gameplay in my opinion. Not often is a player asked to assume the role of the ďbadĒ guy, so when it does happen, I cherish the experience.

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    Feb 16th, 2018 at 00:47:19     -    This is the Police (PC)

    Iíve now completed my second session, and it seems like things are progressing like I thought they would. Our intrepid protagonist Jack Boyd is now, to put it in his words, ďthe mafiaís whore.Ē I was given the decision of whether or not to help my colleague who found himself on the mafiaís bad side. I chose to help him, but I wouldnít be surprised if you end up in the mafiaís pocket regardless of your decision.

    So far, all the mafia has really asked me to do is not to send officers to certain crime scenes, and occasionally send them cops for additional manpower. Comply, and youíre typically rewarded handsomely. However, it makes me wonder where to draw the line. I ignored one crime and was paid $8,000 for my efforts (or lack thereof), but unfortunately this oversight resulted in the death of a civilian. Is $8,000 worth the stain that a preventable death leaves on my conscience? Probably not, and I get the feeling that my morals will be tested further as the mafia gets more comfortable with our relationship. My nefarious deeds with the mafia can also affect the public safety indirectly. For instance, there was a case where I didnít have the manpower to respond to a crime as the majority of the force were tied up with a mafia errand, and a civilian was killed because of it.

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