Rob M.H. Carter
1983
Strategy: Management
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

104
Chris Bourne

When George Orwell finished his famous novel about the future in 1948 it seemed logical to reverse the last two figures and call It 1984. Since then the date has had a semimagical connotation. Well, now it is 1984, and to mark the occasion, Incentive (who brought you Splat) have released this governmental strategy game - a game of economic survival.

The object is to prove that you can do better than our existing politicians. You, of course, are to be Prime Minister. Can you ride out three terms In power and survive two General Elections? At the start you inherit certain figures under the headings Sources of Revenue in millions of pounds, and Details of Spending, also in millions. These include (Revenue) Corporation tax, Value Added Tax, Income tax, Customs & Excise, and Loans: (Spending) Government contracts, Grants to industry, Public Sector spending, Govt. Department wages, Pensions, Unemployment, Benefit, Child Allowance, Foreign Aid, and interest on borrowing.

This screen is followed by Major Indicators, a chart of 8 items which chart your progress, and which can be called up at any time to see how you are doing. This is followed by details on the Minimum Lending Rate, set at a given figure, but which you must adjust to suit you requirements. There is a bar code chart which indicates how well the economy is balanced between Government, Industry, Population, Banks and the World. If any one of these sectors gets dangerously out of balance, you may be forced to resign - a flagging industry, for instance, may be given a boost by an increase In the Grant to Industry.

The game also incorporates the major nightmare of any modern government, the wages claims. You have to deal with those in the Public and Private sectors as well as Civil Servants. You must decide on the level of Government Investment in banks, balance the effects of raising money through Industrial levies, keep an eye on the funding of your own government departments, sort out the budget for each year, organise the levels of foreign aid, subsidise industry through grants, and finally, attend Cabinet Meetings on a wide variety of problems.

The game is accompanied by a detailed 13 page leaflet called A Pocket Guide To Running Britain, which explains the various functions of the game and the economy generally.

CRITICISM

'After an ominous title screen of the Houses of Parliament, the nightmare begins! The game proceeds along very sensible lines, informing of the next problem to be faced, and offering some prompts for beginners. I was doing really well, I thought, as I added nominal amounts to my departments (Health, Education, Housing, Defence etc.) but then a notice informed me that runaway government spending had brought me down! Well of course, I'm honest - politicians are.

COMMENTS
Colour and graphics: all very clear, with well used colour
Sound: useful entry beeps and the sound of Big Ben chiming
Skill levels: 1 - and that's enough!
General Rating: a excellent strategy game with tons of scope.

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