Saturday, October 8, 2011

Did I Roll Six, Or Only Five?

Currently on the shelves at work is something called the Logo Board Game. It is just the encapsulation of everything we think is wrong with society today. Just think about the concept here for a second. It's a game devoted entirely to the glorification of corporate brand names.

They'd be fine as part of a larger, general-knowledge game, but when that's all the game is, it's really actually kind of disturbing.

But at least it's disturbing in a nonviolent way.

Meet the Subway Vigilante Game, produced in 1987 by Paperback Games. In this game, you play a guy trying to navigate the New York subway system from Brooklyn to your home in the Bronx; first player home wins. Along the way, you have to get through a number of 'punks'. Your game token is one of four types of handguns, and you begin the game with six bullets. Run out, and you get mugged and have to go back to start.

When you land on a 'Punk' space, you draw a card that plays out the encounter. Among the cards you can draw here are "Stop to watch punks paint graffiti- choice: use 1 bullet or lose turn", "Punk raises arms to surrender- choice: use 1 bullet and roll again or no bullets used", and "Punk shot, but still moving- use 2 bullets".

In addition, there are "Make My Day" spaces, in which you draw more cards. Among the options here: "Bystander gives you bullet- get bullet from player in the lead", "Put gun to Punk's head- move ahead 2 spaces", and "Cock your gun's trigger- move ahead 3 spaces"

The back of the box goes on like this. "The game is a perfect gift for that trigger happy law and order conservative. (Definition of conservative: a liberal who has been mugged.)"

The game, amazingly enough, was designed as a stimulation for debate. A few years earlier, New York did have a subway vigilante, Bernhard Goetz, who shot at four attempted muggers in 1984, paralyzing one of them, and was subsequently subjected to one of the many Trials Of The Century that occurred over the century. A jury acquitted him of the shooting, only convicting him on illegal possession of firearms, and might have acquitted him of that too had they known he'd do prison time.

So in that vein, the game supplied 15 discussion questions. There's no full list available, but one was relayed by the Orlando Sentinel- "What do you think are the main causes of crime?"

This is a question to be asked AFTER you've just gone Clint Eastwood across two boroughs.

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