A Hand in the Game
In 1996, the market encouraged teachers to use the newly released simulation game, SimPark, as a means to educate children about ecology and biodiversity. A 77-page manual was produced as a guide on how to successfully use the program for education. The introductory pages claim that the programme provides progressivity and alternative learning. However, the deeper one delves into the system of the game the flaws emerge one by one. On one of the submenus of the basic PDA interface (a tool the player can use to manage their park) there are diagrams indicating the parks’ economic growth curve.
The recommended way of starting the simulation is to heavily introduce flora on the map which in turn prompts the algorithm to introduce animals as more foliage and food source are made available. However, if one does not regulate populations, the ecosystem disintegrates and the top predators are the ones that are left starving. Introducing human objects into the park invites a human population. They are generally ill behaved, straying from their paths to the dismay of the animal population and most notably, they produce a noticeable amount of garbage. In order to get rid of the human waste, one is instructed to populate the park with scavengers such as rats, raccoons and black bears, as these have garbage listed as a nutrition preference. At this point the game starts spreading misinformation.
You can forego populating your park with humans, however they bring a higher influx of money than your yearly tax revenue, and money is a main component to managing your ecosystem. With insignificant funds, it is not possible to add new plants or animals. In essence, the game insinuates that without money, not even the ecosystem can work. Since we have to assert human management to ensure stability.
Thus the work concentrates itself around an indoctrination process conducted by western anthropocentric society executed through means of a supposed - back then - alternative learning method.
Spore was released 12 years after SimPark by the same software company. In contrast to its predecessor, the new game allows for total customization of the evolutionary canon. You start out as an amoebalike creature and go through both bodily and moral evolution until it is time to take on the task of colonizing the whole galaxy. It is a manifestation of our anthropocentrical power paradigm.