Three Minutes to midnight
Three minutes to midnight is a moody textual strategy game about political tensions.
It tries to convey the difficulties of balancing internationals relations in a world were the influencial nations have access to nuclear weapons and the status quo it creates.
The player, representing Oceania, will be presented with diverses situations in which he will choose which alliance(s) to back up. The choice is always binary: Support one side of the argument or the other. No middle-grounds. The map will then reflect the state of the world according to the tensions between those alliances.
In addition, three events will occure in between each player decision.
The three main problems were :
- What are the resources ?
- What is the short-term/ long-term dilemna ?
- How to make a game with no win state ?
Since the theme was One Room, we decided that the important things were what actually happens in the room, meaning the frictions between representatives.
Therefore, the ressources are the representatives's level of satisfaction, wich are traduced by three animations, Upset, Iddle and Pleased. The worldmap is an accentuation of that, since decisions taken against a representative are also harmful to his country.
With such a short production time, we decided to fake the Short-term/Long-term dilemna Alliances are announced during events or dialogues but have actually no gameplay consequences. This worked too well since some players found that alliances were broken too easily.
For the player not so easily fooled, the game is still an interesting balance between morality and efficiency.
Finally, you can only loose. Whether a country is happy or unhappy, the game inevitably ends in a nuclear war, destroying all coutries. If you manage to answer all the scripted questions the game will loop.
Retrospectivly, it would have been interesting to keep count of how long you kept the world safe, so the characters always loose but the players can win by beating their own score.
But in the end, it's a great analogy for the status quo created by the nuclear threats.