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    S_Beecroft's Prison Architect (PC)

    [January 17, 2018 04:36:07 PM]
    Prison Architect. 50 minutes
    This game is harder than I thought. Turns out that even though it doesn't necessarily get more complex or add new mechanics like some other sim games do, things do start to pile up. Combine that with the problems some of my more... unruly inmates are causing, and you have the recipe for the soon to be disaster of a prison that I have made!
    Imminent failure of my prison aside, I learned that I don't really have it in me to create a prison with a death row on it, so I never bothered to research that, and instead decided that I would try and rehabilitate my inmates instead.
    Apparently rehabilitating high security inmates isn't always super effective. Seems like some of these virtual criminals love being criminals.
    The game is really good at pointing out all the grey area that can exist within an issue that you were sure was really black and white. In my case, I came into this game thinking that the game was either going to be one that trivialized an issue like the prison industrial complex or it would be one that highlighted the issue by pointing out the inefficiencies and corruptness of how the PIC works. I was wrong. The game instead has shown me that it's apparently a LOT more complicated to run a prison. I still firmly believe that the prison system within the united states needs reform, but I know recognize both my former arrogance and current ignorance on exactly how to do that.
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    [January 16, 2018 02:33:45 PM]
    Prison Architect. Day 2. 45 Minutes
    Today in class we first talked about bad arguments and then went on a rampage of coming up with ideas to make arguments about and then examples of arguments themselves. So coming into the game today I had my mind in the right mode to pick up where I left off in my thoughts yesterday.
    My one disagreement with simulation games like Prison Architect is that, at least for me, mastery comes quickly. Yes, there is tons of replay-ability but it doesn't take me long to examine the mechanics of a game like this and figure things out. My prison is doing quite well, and I have reached this point where I can further optimize my prison by focusing it's efforts. I could focus on High security prisoners who are more unruly and maybe even execute them a lot to swiftly deal with them and pump money into my prison by replacing them. Alternatively, which might not make me quite as much money, I could focus on rehabilitating these prisoners instead of just killing them. I really like that the game allows me to make this choice, and I can't really tell as of yet which choice is more "optimal". I get the feeling after this play through that the developers really wanted this game to question your own morality, and I find myself struggling because I know what the "right" thing to do is (not make my prison a capital punishment supermarket) but it isn't necessarily the easiest and it certainly isn't guaranteed to make my prison successful. So I find myself asking if I value efficiency and success over my own morals, even if it is just a game.
    The game has done a really great job so far of creating a sense of difficulty around the decisions you make when dealing with prisoners and with just the actual physical design of your prison, and has really been tugging at that sense of efficiency versus morals. In essence this play through is really starting to bug me and leave me in a state of indecision. Some sort of prison limbo I guess.
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    [January 15, 2018 12:57:30 PM]
    Prison Architect. (1.5 hours)
    Well the first thing I really ought to put down here is that I have never played this game before until today. I had heard really good things about it from friends so after seeing the list I went for it right away.
    This is a really great game as far as games go. I had a really fun time playing it, and I loved pretty much everything about it. However, going into this game thinking about what we had gone over in class regarding the nature of morality (Lecture 1: What is Morality?). The question of whether this game is moral or amoral immediately jumps to my mind due to the setting of the game. The United States has the highest prison population in the world right now, and (I just checked wikipedia to verify this although I think I heard it on NPR a while ago) the second highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. There is a fairly well known concept called "Prison-Industrial Complex"(Abbreviated to PIC hereafter) and this game sort of jumped out as a literal PIC simulator. You are literally acting as a the creator and operator of a privately owned prison that profits off having more prisoners! Granted a lot of the game does revolve around the actual architecture and plumbing and electric work etc. but that doesn't change the fact of the matter.
    I had to ask myself if this game highlights this issue in a way that raises awareness against PIC within the United States, or if it merely trivializes and normalizes this issue. I had this realization in like the first 10 minutes of playing, and luckily I played more of the game and realized that ultimately my fears may not be entirely justified.
    So as I played more I found out that there are multiple ways to run a "profitable" prison. I had initially thought that it would just be get more prisoners and keep them in line and you make more money, and I wasn't wrong, but you can also make money and profit from reforming prisoners, which I really liked that the developers included. I kept playing and my prison kept growing.
    By the time I finished playing for the day (Having spent twice as long as intended) I came to realize that the game itself has been made to neither be inherently moral or amoral, but provides the opportunity for the player to find a balance between the two for themselves. Yikes. So now I have to figure out if I want to go for brutal efficiency that I am not sure will work or a more ideal and humane prison that I am also sure will not work. Suffice to say I am excited to see what path I end up taking

    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Jan 15th, 2018 at 13:03:08.

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    S_Beecroft's Prison Architect (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 15 January, 2018

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 20 January, 2018

    S_Beecroft's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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