What’s the draw of Tropico? Why are there 5 of these now? Yes, 5! It ain’t Grand Theft Auto. It’s not Total War. It’s not even SimCity. But the 5th will be out early summer 2014 according to the new gameplay trailer.
So why do so many people want this game? Because inherently, everyone wants to be a dictator.
It’s in our DNA. We want to live the top-dog, Alpha, take-names-later fantasy. As toddlers playing in the sandbox, we made castles and placed our subjects – Barbie, Snake Eyes, Bumble Bee, et al – in our kingdom, only to burn and bury them alive if they displayed even a hint of disobedience. We sent them to the labor camps at the far corner of the sandbox to shovel sand from one pile to another and then back again.
As we got older, we tried to impose our power over the neighborhood kids. The kids that succeeded became bullies. The ones that failed surrendered their lunch money. Then in High School and College, same thing, different form. Then we entered the work force and 99% of us became subjects to one dictator or another, wishing that we could – even for just one day – be the 1% who ruled our worlds.
We all want to be dictators. This game makes us so.
The trailer shows the progression of the authoritarian state from a poor 19th century banana-farming island to a thriving metropolis 200 years later. Yes, even a dynastic dictatorship can become an economic super-power. Kim Jong-un needs to play this game.