The game’s title is the first thing that jumps out to the player. It is morphed out of the word “oligarchy” which is a power structure in which the elite class in is control. By changing it to “oiligarchy,” it is implied from the start that the game will deal with the power structure relevant to that of the oil industry. The game’s beginning is rather detailed with text explaining how the game is to be played. Among the instructions, the message of the game becomes clear. Sentences like, “turn that black sticky stuff into gold by any means necessary” set the tone for the game, suggesting that oil is simply “black sticky stuff” and that in order to abstract it, one may potentially cross some moral boundaries. The rules discuss possible threats, such as the “virus of environmentalism” which will provide a restriction to future success and monetary gain. From the very opening of the game, it is clear that the message being conveyed deals with the damaging nature of extracting oil and that something must change.
After sifting through the features and gadgets of the game, one may explore other parts of the world in order to expand the country’s oil reserves. Upon clicking different locations around the world, the scene shows areas of rich wildlife or spots of peaceful, native people. In order to extract the lucrative “black sticky stuff,” wildlife must be killed and native people must be forced to leave. Before taking any actions, a popup box notifies you that it is not a big deal because old-fashioned indigenous people are not going to get in the way of expansion, nor are any “noisy birds” or “stinky caribous.” The blatant disregard for such things shows the game’s attitude toward the oil industry and how they must think. Expansion lies above all else, and if we have to kill animals and destroy human settlements, so be it. The game does a good job of showing that to be reality.
Upon playing a little more, a presidential mini-game came about. In order to win, you must throw the most money at either the democratic party or the republican party. Whichever side gets the most money wins. This was done in order to earn more spending potential on oil reserves. It was an effective way of showing that even though there are many needs in the world, we continue to spend money on electing candidates to continue oil exploration. As a result, more wildlife preserves are being destroyed and more native peoples are being disrespected.
I think that the overall message is conveyed well. I did not play the game to the end, but from what I saw, the message was evident. It used a certain patronizing tone to explain the rules to show that what we currently do for oil is ridiculous. Many things kept happening to reinforce this message and it is clear that the game is attempting to make a political change in how we currently go about oil extraction.