Superpower 2 (2004)

As the band Tears for Fears famously sang “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. We all sit in our armchairs, tutting at the news, writing articles upon articles about how we would have done things differently. For the betterment of humanity, or your own personal glory. Unfortunately, to be able to implement any of those ideas, you need power.  Armed with the most up-to-date statistical information on current affairs at the time, and a simple but effective geopolitical model, Superpower 2 allows you to taste that power.

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It turns out that leaving the E.U. is as simple as clicking a button.

You start the game by selecting a nation-state, any nation that has been in existence since the dawn of the millennium. From there you can set some objectives you want to achieve, like increasing GDP by 50% or you can choose none and just get stuck in. You can also designate control of certain aspects of your nation to the computer mainly military, politics or the economy. You can control all this yourself of course (and that’s the fun) but it’s nice to be able to delegate, especially if you want to focus on a military play-through or don’t feel skilled enough to manage the economy.

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My administration allocated money to where it’s truely needed.

If all that choice seems overwhelming, then there are several hand-picked scenarios for you, ranging from getting Canada to join the nuclear club to trying to lift the trade embargo on Cuba. With or without these scenarios, the game almost expects you to play out the worst case, dystopian paths for your country of choice are readily available. Outlaw opposing parties, ban languages and religions. Legalising drugs while criminalising steel, even launching nuclear warheads has a very Wargames vibe, even the code itself is called Joshua, another tribute to the classic film and demonstrates the inbuilt humour this game has.

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To launch nukes, you need to click on that little red button in the corner.

Super Power 2 boasts utilising the latest data available to the CIA World Factbook, and in doing so, it takes great pleasure in showcasing all the facts and figures it has at its disposal. Most of that information is used to propagate the tables and charts. The visual layout, while simple, is extensive, allowing the menus you need to execute your plans a couple clicks away. Interactions with the game are done from these tables and by a detailed 3d globe. The armies of your nation can be selected and dragged with a simple point and right-click, and provided you know a little geography, it’s easy to pick a fight with any country of your choosing.

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Even microstates like Andorra are playable.

Superpower 2 captures the same charms as subsequent grand strategy games will do in the future. With little more than a globe and some figures and graphs, allows the players to live out their wildest Machiavellian desires, shaping their chosen country and the world in their own image. Superpower 2 won’t be able to realise your plans for the Earth, but at least gives you a perfect simulation to test them in.

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“It’s the economy, stupid” – James Carville

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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