Procedural Rhetoric Project

One of the most popular games in today’s society is Monopoly. The main goal in Monopoly is to accumulate as much money and property as possible in order to bankrupt other players. This game can get competitive, but there are certain rules that are in place to try to maintain fairness across the board. However, what if Monopoly resembled modern-day society? If it did, not everything would be fair and certain players would have an advantage no matter what. This is why I came up with the idea to incorporate America’s rigid prison system. Currently, the United States is the leading jailer in the world. To dive in to the numbers more specifically, The NAACP states that “African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.” So this is why I came up with the idea “Black Monopoly.”
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Of course, the game will not be as simple as every move is a trip to jail. There are many ways players can go to jail in the original Monopoly. The most common one is landing on Go To Jail. Others ways players can go to jail is by rolling doubles three times in a row, or picking up a go to jail card. Usually, there are get out of jail free cards that players stumble across during the game; besides that you would have to either pay $50 to free parking or wait three turns. This is where things start to change from the original Monopoly.

The goal of Black Monopoly is to find as many ways as possible to send people to jail, while also trying to keep them there for as long as possible. For this, I will incorporate a third die that usually comes with newer Monopoly boards.

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This die symbolizes the judicial system. Normally on this die there are three numbers  (1,2,3), two monopoly men, and one bus. The three numbers will represent how many turns you have to stay in prison. The monopoly man represents legal fees, so if you roll one of them you will have to pay $100 to get out. If you do not have enough money to pay for the legal fees, you lose the game. The bus is a free way out of jail. For the most part, this is the biggest change in the game. Everything else are just simple rule tweaks (listed below) that will make the game more challenging for prisoners as well as opening up more possibilities to go to jail.

Rule Changes:

  1. When in prison, the player cannot collect rent or make deals with other players. You are out of play while in prison until back on the board.
  2. Rolling two doubles in a row will land you in jail.
  3. Rolling three doubles in a row will land you on death row, ending your game.
  4. If someone owns all four railroad properties, they can choose either to double the rent or send the player who lands on it to jail.
  5. If you land directly on Go, you lose your $200 and go straight to jail.
  6. A player must at least $20 before going across the board. If they go across the board without spending $20, they will be sent to jail.
  7. The player with the most money cannot remain in prison for more than one turn.
  8. If a player goes to jail 3 times in a row before crossing Go, they will lose all of their property.

Besides these rule changes, there will be many additional chance and community chest cards that will have different punishments for different crimes. All of these rule changes and additions will represent how rigid the U.S prison system actually is, and how certain things are not fair across the board. For example, rule 7 relates to how people with a lot of money can easily buy their way out of prison. Rule 1 is supposed to stop your “life” in the game, just like how prison stops your life in real life. The players will not be able to do anything game-related while in prison.

System Design:

Something that is truly fascinating is that every aspect of life is run by systems. Our society, our education, our jobs, our entertainment: everything. These designed systems are supposed to help keep order. System design is intriguing, especially in video games. Videos games such as Grand Theft Auto and such are system designs that are inspired by our daily realities. However, one video game (system design) that I have yet to see is a game where all systems are removed in order to show how society will function (or not function) without the notion of systems being in place. With video games, the structure is very rigid because of these systems. In GTA for example, it may appear that you have free range of motion to do as you please but you are always limited by its system design. This is where I adapt my ideas into a video game like GTA to remove those systems.

For my system design, I would like to make a game that allows for as much free-movement as possible without having to worry about rules and boundaries. However, a game or even a system like this is impossible. There will always be boundaries in place with video games, whether or not it’s coding or content, somewhere you will hit a brick wall. My system will allow to explore a system-free world for as long as possible before that brick wall appears.

What exactly would my game look like? It would have a GTA-like concept, allowing the players to move freely around the map and do whatever they please. However, there will be no rules or regulations that the user must follow. For example, GTA implements laws from our society such as fighting, killing, stealing, etc. Breaking those rules will result in getting a wanted level. To remove that system, I will eliminate all laws in the game, allowing the user to do whatever they please without having to worry about consequences. GTA even has a system like cars waiting at stoplights and speeding regulation. Those too I would remove, allowing Non-player characters (NPCs) to do as they please without having to follow the in-game rules.

My reasoning for the removal of these systems is to try to understand how a society can work without the implementation of a system. Everything we are allowed to do or not allowed to do is because of the systems we have in place. Our education is defined by a system. Our laws define our system. Without order, how will society work?

There will be a system in place for this video game, but it would be as random as possible. Without the rules, you can steal a car or fight a person without having to worry about the cops, but what about how NPCs interact? Their actions will be random to try to eliminate the possibility of the game having a rigid structure. We all do not react the same to similar situations. It depends on the type of person we are. In order to create this random system, character profiles must be created. A Brawler is an example profile. The Brawler would react to any situation as hostile as possible. These profiles would be randomly assigned to every NPC to allow for a random and fair playing field.

It is impossible to actually create a system design without an actual system in place; however, my point with this game is to get as close as possible. Even how we react to situations are limited by the systems we are a part of. Hopefully, the randomization of these character-profiles will limit the structures rigidness and allow for a unique experience of playing a game without a true system in place.