Thursday, 13 September 2012

heldentum oder the last star fighter

Der Spiegel has an interesting, if rather critical, article on the State Chancellery of Bavaria’s newest on-line presence that comes in the form of a role-playing game, Aufbruch Bayern—which is difficult to translate without sounding too grandiose but basically means, Bavaria, the Awakening. Government officials are under fire for the costs that went into developing the game (as compared to past initiatives, like social networking avatars that spoke for the free-state) but it’s not such a terrible thing—H tried it—with trivia and geography questions and no overbearing patriotism, though there were some not so subtle marks of environmental (Energie Wende) indoctrination—having the goal to charge one’s electric car, conspicuous rooftop solar cells, or a bright idea represented by an energy efficient light bulb rather than a maligned heat-bulb.

All of these things are good and positive, if not a bit heavy-handed—not the questions, nothing about the hero being Siegfried or Parsifal or integration or multi-culti or anything too Deutsch (though the player is guided by Lady Bavaria throughout), but the game may not keep kids’ attention for too long. Watching H play made me think about that sci-fi movie, The Last Star Fighter (DE), where a besieged alien race tries to find new defenders by sending out arcade games to test the competency of players and potential pilots. An Earthling teenager who was the high-scorer on the test-game was picked up by armada’s recruiter and helped defeat the enemies and save the galaxy. I think every young video-gamer back then secretly hoped they were in training, too, and the US military has tried this same ploy. Maybe the Bavarian government’s investment in a game is also a secret head-hunting scheme to search for talent to rescue the euro-economy or to manage the energy-transition—or to hone the right skills for taking on the challenge. Maybe we should keep playing until we reach the end. If this were the case, then Aufbruch Bayern would certainly have been worth the effort.