A Hand in the Game – Termination (2017)
In 1996, the market encouraged teachers to use the new simulation game, SimPark, as a means to educate children about ecology. A manual was produced as a guide on how to successfully use the program for education. The introductory pages claim that the programme provides progressivity and alternative learning. However, the deeper one delves into the system of the game the flaws emerge one by one.
The recommended way of starting the simulation is to heavily introduce flora, which in turn prompts the algorithm to introduce animals, as food sources are made available. However, if one does not regulate populations, the ecosystem disintegrates and the top predators are left starving. Introducing human objects into the park invites humans. They are generally ill behaved, straying from their paths and producing a noticeable amount of garbage. You can forgo populating your park with humans, however they bring a higher influx of money than your yearly tax revenue, and money is a main component to managing your ecosystem. With insignificant funds, it is not possible to add new plants or animals. In essence, the game insinuates that without money, not even the ecosystem can work.
Hillevi Cecilia Högström b. 1994, Sweden. Graduated with an MFA from Malmö Art Academy in 2022 and previously a BFA from Iceland University of the Arts in 2018.
The lecture is part of “1,2,3 Playtime. A lecture and workshop series in the field of gamification” organised by Inter Arts Center and financed by Region Skåne.
Photo credit: Hillevi Cecilia Högström