In the age of entertainments, the official offerings are increasingly predictable and boring. Instead of inventing new diversions, we subvert those dished up to us. The newest part of the industry, video games, has already established a tradition of ‘gaming the game’, which involves players using their own rules to conquer a personal challenge. These range from the pacifist players of World of Warcraft, one of whom has reached the highest possible level without killing a soul, the fellow who played Sid Meier’s Civilization II for two thousand years after reaching the official completion point and the LittleBigPlanet player who used more than 1600 parts, including 610 magnetic switches, 500 wires, and 430 pistons to create a digital calculator rather than a new level to play.
As a gamer who abandoned video games in favour of chess, I find myself looking for another arena to subvert. Chess can be varied, of course, but the idea that any improvement of mine will stand the test of time is risible. Plenty have tried! The best version is the one that everyone already plays. Clearly, the trick is to find something imperfect, something in need of improvement.
One part of our culture in much need of perfecting is the political party system. Regular readers will know that I am a member of the Green Party. With just one MP and only one council, we can hardly be described as highly successful to date. On the plus side, at least we do offer a choice to the voters. The main parties all compete over the same policies. They all want austerity, they all want capitalism, they all want to carry on much as they did before we discovered that we really had changed the climate. Unsurprisingly, given that lack of vision, their memberships are falling steadily. They need to wake up a bit, to learn to laugh at themselves, they need a joker like me.
I’ve embarked on a project to game the political parties down here in Brighton & Hove. Associates of mine have joined some of the other parties in preparation for the big game. We’ll create fictitious campaigns, spoof crises and hoax events to lure the support of the political parties. Somewhat like the established media, these organisations no longer have the person power to be able to perform any sensible fact checking. Yet they continuously make out that they have all the answers. By this time next year, we’ll be able to count up the answers they have for non-existent questions. Until then, it is a case of watch this space!