The "We Drink Your Milkshake Act" Passed
November 14, 2008 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Oiligarchy is a resource management game reminiscent of their earlier McDonald's Game. Build your empire and keep the shareholders (all old, bald, white men) happy. Social activism wrapped inside an (admittedly simplified) game! via

Make sure to remain politically active by funding both sides in each election (just in case). Be cautious with your resources at the outset; there will be plenty of time to indiscriminately rape the earth later, once you have tons of money and politicians in your pocket. And, most importantly, take the time to really enjoy yourself. You deserve it. You're making a difference in the world.
posted by Eideteker (27 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
game by Molleindustria, reminiscent of their earlier

admin hope pls?
posted by Eideteker at 8:31 AM on November 14, 2008

Aiiiie. These anti-advergames seem like such a good idea, but really they follow the same ol' model of interaction/lesson that has contributed to the lack of critical engagement in the first place. Easy to feel like you've really gotten "smarter" without actually changing anything... I have the same beef with Adbusters and the like.
posted by villain extraordinaire at 8:33 AM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Easy to feel like you've really gotten "smarter" without actually changing anything

Consider it pattern recognition training.
posted by DU at 8:43 AM on November 14, 2008

Yeah, this stuff isn't "social activism", even if they're right. It's just self-congratulatory, self-satisfied self-righteousness.
posted by greenie2600 at 8:44 AM on November 14, 2008 [5 favorites]

When I fuck it up, there'll be bail-outs, right?

They told me there'd be bail-outs! I have bonuses to hand out, damnit!
posted by orthogonality at 8:56 AM on November 14, 2008

Those environmentalists/natives are seriously fucked up. They're willing to sacrifice their lives to blow up an oil well, but humans-to-oil plants don't bother them at all.
posted by daniel_charms at 9:40 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aww, nuclear armageddon came, and I never got to drill in Alaska.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:43 AM on November 14, 2008

I drilled everything to total depletion and I still lost made over $1M!
posted by fusinski at 10:29 AM on November 14, 2008

Am I missing something? I played the game, drilling in every possible area, sending tons of troops to Iraq, and quickly found myself with more cash than I knew what to do with. My shareholders were constantly happy. Rigging elections was almost an afterthought. Then, suddenly, the game says, "Oh, bummer, nuclear war."

What am I supposed to have learned from this? It's not just heavy-handed pedagogy disguised in a game, but it's incredibly inept.
posted by mkultra at 10:33 AM on November 14, 2008

Huh, I was able to get to year 2130 before finally depleting oil and war came. Also maximized returns to my shareholders -- had over $20m last I checked before it ended. That would have been plently to keep producing blood-to-oil or solar plants.

This game taught me nothing except that my contempt for socialist-environmentalist-activists and peak-oil-doomsdayers is well placed.
posted by FuManchu at 10:39 AM on November 14, 2008

The problem with the game mechanics, people, is not with the intended purpose. For one thing, I let demand rise and kept supply tight, and oil stayed at $10 a barrel waaaaay longer than Adam Smith might have expected..
posted by imperium at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2008

The only thing this taught me is that with a minimum of environmental consciousness and the ability to rig elections, I can make as much money as I want. Golly, that doesn't come as any great surprise.

Oh and that liquidating people into crude is totally gamebreaking. Hey, Chevron, hop on that will ya?
posted by majick at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2008

Soylent crude is people!
posted by fusinski at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2008

Solar plants? Man, I missed out. I thought I was boss for getting to a million.

Also, Nigeria and Iraq are a waste of time. Spend all your money lobbying to increase demand and watch the profits roll in with whatever meager supply you put out.
posted by GuyZero at 11:09 AM on November 14, 2008

Oops, didn't mean to imply I saw solar plants in the game -- just that if we've developed blood-for-oil plants, I figure solar price-parity shouldn't be far behind.
posted by FuManchu at 11:16 AM on November 14, 2008

'Yeah, this stuff isn't "social activism", even if they're right. It's just self-congratulatory, self-satisfied self-righteousness.'

But but but... you're making a difference!

It's more satire than social activism. Hover your cursor over the Iraqi women and children. The various headlines and laws are entertaining, as well. It's a fun game, and there's some depth to it. Try keeping oil prices just under $100 a barrel, for example.
posted by Eideteker at 11:18 AM on November 14, 2008

Huh, I got to retire in 2100 with over $2M in the bank, and I was a confused old (rich) man staring at wind farms.
posted by Skot at 11:54 AM on November 14, 2008

Made it till around 2200, with a world full of empty oil fields and human processing plants, with a small force in Iraq only big enough to keep them from nationalizing my people-plants. I wound up pressing the 'next year' button, paying off whoever the people wanted to elect, and waiting for something interesting to happen. Then the world ended.

Interesting, but sorely lacking an end-game.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:59 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Did anyone try and throw cash at the Dems? Minimal amounts tossed at that demonic elephant worked for me every time...
posted by andythebean at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2008

I bribed whichever party was most popular. Paying the elephant when he had a 1% popularity was a waste of time. Bribing the winner seemed like a better strategy. It tended to go back and forth between elections.
posted by GuyZero at 1:44 PM on November 14, 2008

Did anyone try and throw cash at the Dems? Minimal amounts tossed at that demonic elephant worked for me every time...

I really don't think it matters. I tossed cash at whoever had the higher popularity.

I too on my second try had switched to a renewable human-powered economy but the world still ended around 2150.

I feel like the end of the world is triggered by reserves dropping to some tiny percentage? I had blown up all my wells to make room for human processors but I still left platforms slowly draining those last 30 barrels or so, which might have pushed it over the edge.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:44 PM on November 14, 2008

I really don't think it matters. I tossed cash at whoever had the higher popularity.

Well, one lonely data point here, but twice (late in the game when I was rich) I was able to overcome a 75% Democrat lead by pouring money nonstop into the damn elephant.
posted by Skot at 2:30 PM on November 14, 2008

Is mutually assured destruction the only possible ending? If so, this is kind of a shitty game, and off-message too.
posted by tehloki at 12:40 AM on November 15, 2008

I got to 2230, was making obscene amount of money, and absolutely nothing was happening, so I got bored and stopped playing. I guess I got out before the nuclear war. But Africa had been glowing red for about two centuries, so I didn't really see any excitement coming up any time soon. Oh well.
posted by cthuljew at 3:47 AM on November 15, 2008

I can't figure out how to get the retirement ending.

Here's a postmortem from the creators. Explains some of the underlying game mechanics (such as influencing an election). Also explains a bit about how to get the various endings.
posted by Eideteker at 7:41 AM on November 15, 2008

Eideteker, here's my basic strategy:

-Keep supply generally on par with demand. Don't overproduce, you need the oil later. Don't drill a new territory until the current one is fully towered. Go Texas, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq. Alaska is the wildcard for the endgame. The order is roughly in order of difficulty/cost to maintain except for Alaska, but it often hasn't opened up early in the game and it just works this way for me.

-Keep oil prices low for longer than in real-world history. If you do everything right but let oil prices explode even well into the in-game post-petroleum age, you still get the MAD ending.

-Keep govt very aggressively oiled. You need a heavily oiled Congress too in order to pass the Caribou act (essential, opens up Alaska). Some other acts are icing (e.g. Drill Baby Drill gives unlimited free surveying), but others incrementally (perhaps critically) improve your supply-demand-money balance.

-Do all the Iraq missions and then do "Enduring Freedom" (or whatever it's called in-game) every year until the next election. This will send lots of soldiers to Iraq at zero cost to you, and they will stay there until the end of the game or until they get killed. (I'm not sure what happens when you lose HQ, it hasn't happened to me. But I assume you will lose all of Iraq.) This will also make the sitting party hugely unpopular, which makes it easier to win the next election for the opposition. By this time the opposition will hopefully be 90+% popular (I've seen over 100 and negative for the sitting party! maybe a bug but hey), so fund them heavily but still give the sitting party some dough to keep their (few) reps oiled too. Stop sending soldiers after this election.

-Venezuela: do all missions before nationalization can occur.

-Nigeria: raid the village, hang the protesters, keep every well completely full of soldiers and replenish them after every attack.

-Iraq: keep every well completely full of mercenaries and replenish them after every attack.

-When every territory up to Iraq is fully stacked, start drilling Alaska.

-With any luck, at around this time America will be attacked, and you can start rolling out Homeland Security scare programs that keep govt very popular, thus easy to keep oiled in elections. This period is optional though, often you won't have much (if any) time to enjoy the Eternal Presidency age at all, because peak oil occurs. And then:

Two key points for the endgame:

-When news reports indicate peak oil (worldwide, not just Texas), immediately withdraw from politics and not fund any more elections. This will trigger a completely green govt that will start aggressively funding green programs.

-Sap every last drop to try and keep up with demand. Mostly this will be accomplished by creatively building multiple wells on one reservoir. To wit, one large reservoir should be able to accommodate two large towers and a small one. Start from the right (build every territory right to left BTW, it helps with this part of the strat), because large towers drill more or less down the centre and the small ones drill on their right. Often you can squeeze in the third (small) well just at the edge. An undocumented feature seems to be that one can drop wells closer together if you drop the next one while the first one is still in the air. Not quite fair, but exploit it. And don't be afraid to destroy wells for new ones if they fit more efficiently that way, you should be filthy rich by now.

-Besides rearranging the wells like this there is little you can do at this point but hope your past decisions have been sound and hope supply keeps up long enough to keep the shareholders (one of them, at least) satisfied through to the end. At some point, the green programs being rolled out will start kicking in and gradually whittle down demand.

At this point, if you're still sort of hanging on and haven't lost your last shareholders and haven't let the oil price spike high enough to trigger MAD, you should end up in a world where everyone rides their bicycles to the shop to buy an electric car, and you will retire a rich, confused man.

Man, I feel like Satan on coke.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:50 AM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

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