Some readers may have heard of a popular game for iOS known as Game Dev Story. For those not familiar with the title, it is a simulation game in which the player is the head of a video game development studio as it progresses from a small independent to a massive corporation producing its own game console. I bought the game a few months ago after reading rave reviews, but the idea that it inspired in me only hit me recently. What I want to do is create a game based on the same fundamentals - managing specific figures to maintain good results -  but have the player be the head of something far larger: the United State economy. 

The premise of the game is that the player character is considered the greatest expert in the field of economics in all of human history. The year is 2009 in an alternate history of America, where Mitt Romney has ascended to the Presidency. The economy is in shambles, Congress is not sure what to do, and the Federal Reserve is unsure of its own effectiveness. So, through the new President's business connections, the player is brought in. As the economy hero, the player character (PC from now on) begins with absolute control of fiscal and monetary policy, thanks to a Democratic majority that wants to do what it can and a Republican minority that wants to make its President look good.

When I say absolute control of policy, I mean nearly all tools available to the government. For fiscal policy, spending and taxes are the tools available. For monetary policy, players will have access to manipulating interest rates through open market operations, and quantitative easing. 

To shake things up, the game will have random events and elections influenced by the player's actions. Monetary and fiscal policy will affect things like unemployment, inflation, the deficit, quality of life, and by extension the approval of Congress and the President. Elections will be held every two years in game time, and different political factions will rise and fall based on the player's actions. With this can come conflict: politicians will eventually stop following the player's every command and try to pass their pet projects. To deal with this, the player can try to eliminate these politicians through subterfuge, perhaps by using contractionary monetary policy to make them unpopular. 

After 100 years of game time, players will be graded on various aspects of their performance: price level changes, the size of the nation's debt, GDP per capita, and net exports. They will then receive an average of these grades, ranging from F at the worst to A as the best. They will then be able to share this grade with their friends on Facebook or Twitter.

I'm hoping to both start and complete this game over the coming summer months before heading over to Berkeley. At the very least I'd like for it to come out on the iPhone and iPod touch, but if I can raise funding I'd like for it to come out on the iPad and Android phones and tablets. If you have any ideas or responses to the idea, please leave me a comment below!

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