An endemic issue with 90s saccharine consumerism is how it erodes our moral compass, an effect none too dissimilar to what a hefty bowl of colourful breakfast cereal does to our teeth.
In much the same way those vivid dinosaur marshmallows you ate this morning aren’t sitting well with you, we’ve spent the past 20 years with a collective tummy ache learning that luxury commodities are a sometimes food best tempered by moderate consumption and responsible choices.
Thankfully, video games, the contemporary poster child of economic excess, may ironically offer us one of the best educational tools to train ourselves out of our unsustainable appetites.
Set to the tune of cool jazzy beats and stripped bare of emotional rhetoric, Colestia’s experiment in SimCity-flavored presentation approaches the topic of economic dysfunction with a disarmingly upbeat mechanical satire. POST/CAPITALISM isn’t here to judge you: instead it sets out to educate you on your unknowing participation in the system of divisive resource exploitation so that you can be empowered with the knowledge and agency to manifest change. It’s the kind of interactive art piece that offers an opportunity to expand your analytic capabilities and enhance your sense of economic hygiene- there may be no ethical consumption under capitalism, but there should at least be aware consumption, after all. Click on something to convert it to a post-capital model and you may eventually discover that it causes another piece to revert to its old form, a perpetual tug-of-war as nodes of radical models offer a limited yet welcome amount of elasticity within the system.
POST/CAPITALISM effectively demonstrates how the abrasive solvent of market forces quickly dissolve our sense of economic literacy in a sublimely easy to grasp form. Modern global trade, no matter how small a slice, is a very cryptic tangled web of interdependent factors and shows us it’s never as simple as unplugging the ‘Do Bad Things’ module from the giant production machine.
It’s hard to consolidate the temporal-spatial context necessary to debug the flow of capital, but the tasteful and intuitive simplicity on display in POST/CAPITALISM offers up micro-economics 101 in a pleasantly bite-sized infotainment isometric puzzle square.
You needn’t benefit from exploitative systems nor encourage them, after all POST/CAPITALISM warns there is only so much you can do under the capitalist model, yet Colestia’s plausible optimism simulator gives us the ability to dream of incremental progress while helping us understand the limitation of those changes.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but without re-thinking the foundations of production we’ve been taught to take for granted, we’ll be hard pressed to find sustainable answers. The bedrock of education today will pave our way out of this economic crisis, but only if we face the difficulties left to us by our forebears and take responsibility for tomorrow.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice