This semester I have taken an interest in a few of the works created by the developers over at Molleindustria. For this post I have taken a look at their management simulation called “To Build a Better Mousetrap”. This game puts the player in charge of developing, making, and selling goods, and as to expect from Molleindustria, this is a political game. However, this game takes a slightly different approach to games of this nature by having the player make sure that your workers stay happy. This places quite a challenge because it is difficult to juggle all of these different areas of this virtual business.
The core of “To Build a Better Mousetrap” is managing and balancing three different areas: the research area, the manufacturing line, and the unemployed. If you get far enough you can create automated research computers and manufacturing robots to replace the workers completely. This seems like the answer to the game but the unemployed mice will get hungry and upset. The workers receive cheese for their work every so often, but soon want more to keep their spirits up. However if I want to keep the company alive, I can replace the workers in a second, showing them how expendable they really are. After all If you want to catch better mice, you gotta build a better mousetrap.
I think its interesting how Molleindustria views the capitalist industrial system. Basically this game demonstrates the process of automation’s impact on employment and emphasizing profit over personal responsibility. At first I thought that the message of the game is that this system is designed to inevitably fail, a metaphor to the collapse of capitalism.