A Mind Forever Voyaging

This was one of those old Infocom text adventures, one of their most ambitious, and one of their least successful. It came out around 1987, when they had pretty much exhausted the cave crawl (Zork, Enchanter, etc.) genre and were branching out in whatever directions appealed to them, as graphics games slowly eroded their market share. This was not helped by their ill-advised foray into relational databases, Cornerstone (aka Gravestone), but AMFV came at a time when the future still looked relatively bright. Steve Meretzky (Hitchhiker’s Guide, Sorcerer, Leather Goddesses of Phobos) would never attempt anything so ambitious, or so earnest, again.

The game is the only explicitly political game in their catalog, an exercise in liberal agitprop/hysteria. You play a supercomputer who is going to test out a “simulation” of the future after the adoption of an ominous right-wing “Plan for Renewed National Purpose.” Unsurprisingly, it’s a disaster; forty years into the future, the world doesn’t just suck, it’s literally hell on earth, with gangs and vagrants occupying what used to be civilization. The apocalypse comes through pure social decline. You expose this grim future to people in the real world, and a different, liberal plan of social welfare, compassion, and peace is adopted, yielding paradise on earth shortly thereafter.

So the politics are callow, but not much more so than your average John Brunner book. But check out the Plan itself:

The Plan for Renewed National Purpose, Legislative action: * cut tax rates by fifty percent * vigorous prosecution of tax evasion * decentralization of federal responsibilities * deregulation of all major industries * reinstatement of the military draft * emphasis on fundamentals and traditional values in education * mandatory conscription for troublemakers and criminals * a strict “USA First” trade policy * termination of aid to nations not pro-USA * cutbacks on all types of bureaucracy, e.g. registering cars, guns * termination of government subsidies to outmoded industries

The Plan for Renewed National Purpose, Constitutional amendments: * increase the powers of the Executive Branch * increase the Presidential term of office to eight years

Draw your own conclusions.

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