Status Quorum is the product of an online game jam called THE ELECTION GAMES ’13 I helped organise on the Italian developer community IndieVault. This was 2013 and the big elections for the Prime Minister were looming on us, and we decided to produce a little bit of satire through a game jam dedicated to the event. And we weren’t alone: the Milanese studio Santa Ragione produced quite a big game of their own about the elections, Final Candidation.
After setting up the jam, I also had an idea in mind and decided to participate. I enlisted my longtime friend Irene Iorio on the graphics (she does some really cool illustrations), and together we created some sort of… “simulation game” about the elections.
One of the biggest political problems of Italy is that the different politicians and parties are so tied to (and depending on) each other that political change is almost impossible. The country is swamped in a political stalemate, and very often elections are won by a very small margin, or end up in a tie and have to be repeated. This is the situation we wanted to recreate…
In the game, a crowd of people (representing the electors) is happily jumping in the middle of the scene. Around them, the different candidates are bombarding them with their promises and lies (represented by little particle-like symbols). If they get to the crowd, they are basically brainwashing them into voting for that candidate on the next elections. This was the initial mockup of this situation:
Now the catch is: every candidate has a problem interfering with their campaign: Beppe Grillo has Angela Merkel with the Euro (Grillo hates the Euro), Berlusconi has his long-time rival the journalist Marco Travaglio, etc.
Eventually each candidate will go off target, and you have to use the mouse (drag and drop) to restore their ballot box in position to allow them to continue the brainwashing.
In the end, the game looked like the image below: the electors are on a pedestal in the middle, and the induction boxes are on little pedestals that you can rotate with your mouse. You can see for instance how Grillo’s box (top left) which is shooting little lighting bolts has been tipped over by Merkel’s Euro symbols, and so on:
Every now and then the elections would come (there’s a timeline at the top) and votes are cast. But be warned: if any candidates wins, the game is lost! Your task, as the player, is to make sure that each election term at least two candidates have “sprayed” the crowds with a similar amount of promises, so that the elections end up in a tie.
Basically you need to make sure that nothing changes in Italy, ever.
Here’s a screen of the votes counting. You needed the two top candidates to be within 10 or 20 votes from each other, if I remember correctly.
Looking back, I really love what we did with this game. It was to the point and effective, with very simple gameplay. I do think though that most of the credit goes to Irene, who enriched it with her unmistakable graphic style.
Finally, because I found it laying around, the banner for the game jam The Election Games, which I made for the jam’s website:
All works and words on this website by Ciro Continisio, except otherwise specified.