Oiligarchy

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You are the CEO of a major international oil company, your job is to make money: Democracy, environment, and global economic health are irrelevant. Explore, drill, corrupt governments, hire mercenaries, engage in covert operations, fix elections (which are clearly broken without you) and most of all: have fun.

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77 Comments

repairmanman November 13, 2008 3:45 PM

I have played this on another site, beat it and totally agree with the review, but there is one thing.
Big spoiler alert

M.A.D. mutually assured destruction, congratulations on causing a nuclear holocaust

I did not see this coming. It was the best part.

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I've played this on another gaming site as well, and I really love the fact that the "past" events truly match history and all of the "future" events are pretty plausible! really seems to match the mood of politics these days...

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repairmanman: I played this a while ago, but I could swear I got a different ending.

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repairmanman November 13, 2008 4:44 PM

Really i must be very bad at not being bad

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The_Corruptor Author Profile Page November 13, 2008 4:53 PM

man, repairmanman, I didn't get that ending.

you do know that:

about halfway through the game you can tear down your oil wells and replace them all with 'man made energy'

right?

If you do, the ending becomes

'enjoy your retirement' and it says the world is no longer dependant on oil, maybe you're too old to understand.

The ending can be delayed longer and longer by corrupting the politicians.

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repairmanman November 13, 2008 5:00 PM

so you mean

my greed killed us all?!?

AWESOME!!!

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Way too political

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Cool to see this here. Actually I discovered the game a few days ago, and thought about suggesting it, but when having my discussions otherwhere I just didn't want to press my luck with a controvesional game.

I'm already a decade long a dedicated green party voter.

So first I thought, Oh my god once again such newgrounds crap, but only in the game discovered its being really very critical to oil and even iraq war.

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I found this game really easy.

Research, plant, repeat. Pump as much money as possible into elections. Buy loads of oil-friendly operations. Eventually render everyone in the world into oil with your obscene wealth.

As for the ending:

I had human plants everywhere and still got MAD

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This is a really depressing game. And long. It's more than worth a play, but I probably won't play it again.

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It really shows the "art" of keeping the oil price high, while at the same time overdoing it would make the world less oil dependant...

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Yay! I got the "Retired" one! probalby because I stopped oil process and started sending more soldiers to Iraq every year.

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I got to the point where it was repetitive and then

it was about the year 2300, with every available patch of earth covered human power, and I was just under demand and there was no civil unrest or anything, and obviously controlled the government and then bam! the MAD ending kinda came out of no where, but after about 2010 new "events" stopped happening. Had $2300000000, which was too big to fit in the space at the bottom which was funny

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blahbwahblah November 13, 2008 8:11 PM

this is a nicely-programmed game of dubious play value and absolutely awful as political education. It undermines its own "activist" purposes by presenting (to presumably young kids and impressionable teens) false simplifications, exaggerations and distortions of real world issues, some of it is just fantasy. This is not to say that the oil industry and oil addiction doesnt deserve much criticism - it certainly does, but it hurts Big Oil's critics when counterproductive projects like this undermine the legitimacy of critics with ridiculous "educational" propaganda.
I realize the flash game medium is not great for communicating complex issues in depth, but this game is beyond the pale in its cartoonish disinformation.

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How do you replace all of the oil wells with human power?

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What blahbwahblah said. I guess my "way too political" comment was inappropriate in the mind of the reviewer as it was never posted.

[Edit: I see your first comment 9 posts above this one. If it was late showing up, it's because all comments made by people without an account automatically go to moderation. -Pam]

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How do you do research?

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I got MAD w/ all human wells... I ended up having 3.6 trillion in the end though!!!

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I hit a bug that left all options open when replayed the game. I could dig in Iraq and Alaska immediately.

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Am I the only one who started having flashbacks to A Mind Forever Voyaging when the newspapers started reporting increasingly dystopic changes in the world?

Anyway, I got the MAD ending, but maybe I'll try again and see if I can't aim for retirement.

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Hmmm, I got MAD even though I didn't have any oil wells at the end (only human wells). However... if you think about it, retirement is just as odd... I mean how long has it been? 200 years? 300 years? What are you, some kind of immortal?

Also, for some reason I never did get alaska unlocked despite having oiled the president and senate quite a few times. Did you have to oil them before a specific time or something?

Parting note: though I wouldn't say it was funny that I got many of the references from the events and acts, but still I found it... understandable that after a while, all such events stopped appearing (though oil shocks and such still occured). After all, who knows what the future will be like?

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blahbwahblah, can you explicate what's too simple to your account? What would have to be improved in your account?

You just say it's bad, without saying why, and that's not productive after all.

I for one think for its publication medium it's pretty well done. Not everything needs to look like a science paper :-)

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UnderwaterPeacock Author Profile Page November 14, 2008 2:49 AM

I started burning humans before anyone even thought of drilling in Alaska. That really is a political "lol" moment for me.
I can honestly say this is the best persuasive flash game I've ever seen. It conveys a strong message without letting it be overpowering, and it's actually fun(!) to play. I loved the little side notes hidden around the game, like the American soldiers doing push-ups, the "Terrorist?" labels over the Iraqi women and children, and the EcoProtestors shouting nonsense at the capital.
It was a little odd when a headline would tell me I was now using human's as fuel, and the one right after tat would say that a new carpooling law had been passed. Oh well. Great game.

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Nice game. I love the dark political humor (such as Iraqis labeled "Terrorist?" and the little cartoon Blackwater contractors that you can hire to protect the wells) and deceptively complex potential strategies. The Donkey/Elephant cash-powered jet races are hilarious, too. I wasn't able to trigger a nuclear apocalypse (awww!) but the game is still somewhat ominous - the increasing volatility of oil prices over time reminds me a whole lot of reality. Some here may question the accuracy or humor of the game, but IMHO it's a very effective piece of entertaining satire, with a very topical edge.

By the way, how DO you trigger a nuclear war? :)

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I get really frustrated with games of this ilk. And it isn't because of my politics, I vote Green when I can and democratic for the rest of the time. I was also the co-chair of my enviro club at college, and I've walked in peace marches.

The problem is that games like these, they feel like a false argument to me. I mean in Call of Duty, I win when I kill people. That doesn't mean that killing people is in any way ok, but that some designer some where thinks that it is ok.

And to counter this game, (And I don't think anyone would do this), a game could be created where the free market eventually breeds a perfect, balanced world, where as regulation, unions and socialism leads to inefficiency, and corruption and the world destroying itself and more environmental destruction. And being intellectually honest with myself, this hypothetical game would be just as corrupt and dishonest as this one.

They both take their own POVs, and construct a world to reflect that. But I think the world, and environmentalism is a lot more complicated then this.

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...Well of course it's more complex. It'd be almost impossible to make a game like this that *wasn't* absurdly simple. Just enjoy the game itself, don't worry about how it's not a mirror-view of our own world.

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I think the fascination of computer games is actually they all are a simpler world than the real one. So we can dive there to release our mind a while. Games that make you want to think, also about the real world have a little double-edge problem to conquer.

However on the other hand, every, and really every scientific model is the a simplification of the real. If it would just as complex it wouldn't be of any value. The only question is, did you get everything into the modell thats relevant for you or the topic?

So the critism should never be that the game as (satiric) simulation is simpler than the real world. If you should argue what in your opinion important factors should not have been left out, to make a nice simulation.

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The neat thing about elections is that once you have enough money to shower on both sides, you can end up with a completely oiled congress and president. Then, environmentalism becomes irrelevant, because you have no gray congressmen, and dissent is pointless because you just switch which party you're backing.

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Funky McAwesome November 14, 2008 9:19 AM

This was a pretty fun game, especially liked the newspaper events, though i think there may have been a subtle political message somewhere in the game...

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This was a fun game, but to suggest that it does anything to educate people about energy issues is...misguided. Oiligarchy : energy :: F-Zero : driving cars.

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Bob Montgomery November 14, 2008 1:36 PM

I found and played this game a few weeks ago. It is polished and mildly amusing but, really, it is too easy and consequently drags on for far too long with not much to do.

You might agree with the worldview/propaganda it presents, but sheesh, this kind of stuff:

one of the most important games released this year, and certainly the most important Web game

one of the best Flash games ever

is utter nonsense.

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Really nice game!

Love the details... like the anti-war protester chime sounding something like "chi-cha-cha"... so reminiscent of "send them back!". There isn't even the option on the game to send them back (sooo not fiction).

In fact, at some point I really though it might be a good idea to "send the soldiers back home" -at least for a while- as it would have been nice to have...

the insurgents in Iraq blow the headquarters there so as to be able to drill the oil under it. Don't really care to replay the game to see if it is possible -is it?

As education and propaganda in the good sense I love this game. Made me feel filthy playing it, though.

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How on earth do you get these human-to-oil plants? I've played through three times and never had it come up as an option, no matter which ending I get.

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paolo (molleindustria) November 14, 2008 8:00 PM

Hi all, the review is quite flattering and I'm committed to say that the best web game is QWOP. No discussion.

I just put online a sort of post-mortem/walkthrough/statement about oiligarchy. There are explanations and links to documents and stuff. It's not recommended to the "way too political" people.
http://www.molleindustria.org/oiligarchy-postmortem

Somebody wrote:
"I realize the flash game medium is not great for communicating complex issues in depth, but this game is beyond the pale in its cartoonish disinformation"

I also believe that games are super limited but investigating these limits is intriguing.
Important point: Oiligarchy and all the molleindustria's games are not meant to be "educational" and I still have to see a game that deserves that label (with the notable exception of Global Conflicts: Palestine).

Anyway excluding the overtly satirical elements (human processing plants) I'd really like to know which parts you consider particularly disinformative.

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The game is horrible, it's too easy, there's no depth and no real strategy. Op top of it all, it's blatant propaganda for a worldview that lacks realism.

This makes the review of the game horrible too.

"Are you ready to play one of the best Flash games ever?"

Are you kidding me? Breathing is harder than this game, Pong has more depth, and I've had to plan further ahead when tieing my shoelaces.

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Woohoo! I caused a MAD.

Interesting, the game seems to have two distinct possible endings. If oil prices rise relatively slowly, and/or you don't have enough influence in Washington, then eventually measures are taken to kill the oil addiction (alternative fuels and power stations, etc).
But if you drill the hell out of everything to keep prices low as long as possible, and plaster the landscape with human > oil converters, eventually the price will rise suddenly and the shock, together with the depletion of natural oil, seems to cause the nuclear war.

/feels a sudden urge to buy an electric car

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annonymuss November 15, 2008 4:42 PM

Hi =D. So many say they finished this game, but I have one main problem- the government and activists- how do you "oil" the president etc. to gain access to the thing that lets you invade Iraq and drill in Alaska?

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OK, finally got the human-to-oil plants. As far as I can tell, it's a random event that happens in the 2030 or later and is announced by a newspaper article telling you that you can use humans as fuel in new plants. Then the option appears on the menu. If you're lazy just finish the game once (any ending except being fired) and start over without reloading the page; everything should be unlocked.

To the previous poster: to "oil" the president, just give lots and lots of campaign donations during the elections. If you give enough to the winning party, the president will be oiled. Then click on washington DC on the map and click on the room under the White House to get new options. Alaska happens based on random events and a pro-oil government (the news event will be drill baby drill) and Iraq takes a little work on your part under an oiled president...

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I think I've figured out how to get a "retirement".

What I did was stop meddling in the US government. That lets the Green Politicians in, and they lower the demand for oil. Since the thing that triggers Nuclear Apocalypse is the people fighting for oil, removing the demand will avert the catastrophe.

Oh, and it's funny. If you don't touch Nigeria until you have the

body burners

, and you only use them, you still kill off all the fish and pigs.

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I wasn't able to make myself finish this game. When I got all the way to the year 2100 or 2150 and was still sending troops to Iraq, I lost interest. I had an oiled president and congress, and had exploited all the resources. But I was still sending troops to Iraq. It just seemed silly, so I didn't finish it.

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"Most important game of the year."

"one of the best Flash games ever."

Really? Hyperbole much?

Me, I stopped played once it grouped the US Freeway with Nazis. I don't think I've ever seen Godwin's law in a video game before.

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I'm curious to hear more from the people who think this game is too easy. Did you manage to "win"? I've found many easy ways to lose, but surely that doesn't count?

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Fun game. Got to MAD in around 2030 the first time... though the last 20 years or so were very repetitive. Played again and got to retirement by 2024. Never saw the

body burners, whatever those are

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Malcolm Ryan, its quite easy to retire. If you consider this as "win" ending.

Just get as much oil as demanded, but never more, and never fiddle around with politics. You should be able to retire even within the 20th century. Altough you wont have that much money on the bank if you do so...

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"Me, I stopped played once it grouped the US Freeway with Nazis."

Like it or not, it's true.

The Interstate Highway System was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 - popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 - on June 29. It had been lobbied for by major U.S. automobile manufacturers and championed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was influenced by his experiences in 1919 as a young Army officer crossing the country in a truck convoy (following the route of the Lincoln Highway), and his appreciation of the German Autobahn network as a necessary component of a national defense system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

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Benjamin Dover November 23, 2008 12:09 AM

How do you unlock alaska?

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Hi Benjamin!

To unlock Alaska -

You need to have oiled government people who pass oil friendly laws. You get them by throwing lots of money at the favorite party during an election. It takes a little while to get it, but Alaska will eventually be unlocked if you have enough oiled lawmakers.

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Anonymous December 5, 2008 8:18 PM

I was trying to make

M.A.D

happen as soon as I could. I made it in 2047. Here is my strategy:

Do all the stuff in the government, and save your money instead of building plants. There is a glitch were if you have enough money to build multiple plants, you can overlap them while the barrel with a parachute is still comming down. DON'T GET THE HUMAN BURNERS!!! Those are unlocked once the supply drops below the demand, and you want the people to be fighting over oil for WW3.

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The Bluejay January 25, 2009 5:01 PM

The MAD ending is inevitable. It occurs when demand is consistently higher than the supply. Demand keeps rising, but in the end, the entire map is covered with human burners, and there is nothing more you can do. Retirement happens if the Oil addiction falls too low - something that only happens if you skip elections, which always elects greens.

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Roflolmao January 26, 2009 4:26 PM

Ahhhhh. MAD How do you get it? *shrugs* I dunno.
I meddled in politics the very first time it came up and got a few senate spots with the little cash i threw in. Just go crazy with oil plants and ALWAYS throw LOTS of money into both parties for the election. Only exception to this is when you are starting out and the public is not really noticing the oil addiction. Then you are safe skippin em. I love how the public always switches parties that they favor depending every election(Provided you constantly used the secret presidential room thing and always improved your oil empire). Made a side with 4% chance of winning, win. MUAHH!

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Sick game! i got the retirement ending, and the Farewell West ending! In the Farewell West ending it says

Every civilization sooner or later collapses. The history books will have a long chapter about the decline of the fossil fuel era, a painful downward spiral caused by the inability of the economic and political systems to adapt to a regime of expensive oil. The descendant of the survivors will look at us with a mix resentment and envy making sure of our errors.

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Dragonfang March 5, 2009 6:26 PM

I've gotten retirement without building one man made energy plant. Just leave Iraq well alone.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009 3:27 PM

I was actually able to create a price-bubble by constantly keeping the supply little smaller than the demand was. The price rose exponentially ending up to be 250$/barrel, before the share holders got angry.

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just wondering how do you get body burners and what are they. also how can you get man made energy plants i got to about 2060 but still no notice came up about them.

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Cordelia91 Author Profile Page April 18, 2009 6:38 PM

In the year 2072, the world is bathed in radiation (from the nuclear WWIII) and pollution, America is starving and rioting (all the soldiers who would control the anarchy are stationed elsewhere, next to oil wells gone dry), wildlife is all but gone, and global warming is out of control. On the upside, a few shareholders and myself are billionares, which means we're richer than the government itself. I think I broke the future!

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What I like about this game:
1) It really does put you in the decisionmaking mindset of an oilco exec. It's so easy to start making the same decisions that they make and to start messing up the world!
2) Think for a minute about what "winning" really is.

If you want to reach an eco-greeny retirement, and that's winning, then you have to change your playing style to reach it. Building in that conceptual jump was genius.

Spoiler spoiler:

I won this game on my terms only putting one or two wells abroad. No Iraq war, the ANWR survives, everybody rides solar bicycles.

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gtcreem May 17, 2009 1:10 AM

Has anyone here finished with the "Farewell West" ending?

I've gotten the other 3 and they are very straightforward. MAD comes about when the price per barrel is over $300, Retirement comes about in a number of ways...I think when demand or oil addiction drops below a certain % *and* you are not in control of the whitehouse (otherwise MAD will occur if you *are* in control of the white house)? and "Fired" ending...simply don't build pumps from the beginning.

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gtcreem May 17, 2009 9:46 PM

That is to say...I see one person got the ending and posted the ending text. (Thank you! You are the only person on the internet to do so!)
But, does anyone know *how* to get the "Farewell West" ending? I'm dying from suspense!!!!

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gtcreem May 17, 2009 10:49 PM

How to get the "Farewell West" ending.

First, you must rig and win every election from the start (1950 onward). The goal is to get and stay as close to 100% oil addiction. Then, around 2010? (after peak oil, when you can't get fired) just stop building pumps...even demolishing all your pumps might work faster.
The price per barrel will climb to $300/barrel but as long as you get the GDP to -8%, you will get the ending!

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Super late commenter here because I only recently got around to actually playing this game.

First off, it's interesting to see the "way too political" comments. To put it simply, those who make them are either:

a) Global warming skeptics.
b) Deeply concerned greenies who don't trust human intelligence to grasp the importance and complexity of the issues at hand.
c) Apathetic generation Y kids.

Ironically, for those of you who fall under b), I happen to think that while the issues at hand seem complex in the immediate timeframe, this game appears to focus on more fundamental modes of human behaviour, and frankly human behaviour, as for animal behaviour, is pretty easily simplified. If you think about it on the basis of balancing differing self-interests, with the criteria of short-term versus long-term gains, and synergistic versus antagonistic gains, it's a pretty darn good model.

I'd also add a commentary on those who are discussing how to "win" (because it's akin to asking how one wins "at life"), but the author has summed it up at the bottom of the postmortem.

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I am at year 2080 if you dont make it there, this is what you do. Go all people power. Just make person oil plants on all maps.

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LOL I got "your fired"

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The game can actally last forever just play until you get the "people to oil plants" then when demand for oil gets too high just stop oiling up the goverment so they past eco friendly laws thus lower demand for oil like wise if demand for oil gets low just oil up the goverment

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MethanalCHO Author Profile Page April 28, 2010 3:32 PM

One of the best games I ever played. It is an intelligent game, which I believes touches many of the problems we are currently facing, e.g. the Great Recession, our dependence on petroleum, enviornmentalism, capitalism vs. socialism, corruption, etc.

Anyway, my walkthrough:

The first thing to understand is the ways to lose. The first, by firing, is very unlikely unless you do something incredibly stupid in the beginning of the game like not build any wells at all or something like that. The second, the MAD scenario, occurs if the price per barrel goes over $300. Retirement, the third scenario, occurs when the oil addiction goes below $25. The fourth and final ending, Farewell West (slightly dystopic where Western civilization as it is known collapses) has so far been unreachable (and just may be impossible) occurs (according to the game's Postmortem) when the GDP goes below one-third the initial value. As far as I know, nobody did that yet.

Step One is to drill your way through any available domestic resources. Start off scanning Texas. If there are any large or medium reserves, use a normal well. Small reserves get small wells. Make sure you don't go too expansion-happy before the first election (1950) though. Donate as much money as possible to both parties (you can go up to a thousand dollars in debt). You won't need any special operations now, but an oiled government will help you.

Step Two: When you've drilled your way through Texas, hopefully you've got the "New Jobs for Caribous" act passed. In that case, start drilling in Alaska, first on land, then on water. Ignore the animals.

Step Three: Alaska probably has very little on its land. Now you've sucked through the US, start working through Venusuela. To avoid problems with the Venusualan government, only drop barrels when there are no natives in the area the barrel will land. Like before, do land first, then water.

Step Four: Assuming that you've kept the government oiled even with the rise of Enviornmentalism, while in Venusuela, you should start working to open up Iraq as soon as possible. As soon as it's open, build as many wells as possible, guard them with 5 mercenaries, and send in more guarding soldiers all the while. Sometimes, a large reserve may get two wells sucking from it.

Step Five: You will need to now start in Nigeria. Scan the area. Start with small wells: it will take a little longer for the lakes to be polluted, buying you some more time. As soon as the lakes are dirty, expand into larger wells. You may get two wells on one reserve, that's good. When the Ogoni threaten direct military action, use the Nigerian government to crush the revolt.

Step Six: By now, worldwide oil reserves are being depleted. Prices will skyrocket. Human-to-oil plants will soon be discovered around the 2030s, when that happens, "grade" every remaining normal well (all small ones are demolished). If a well is producing MORE THAN 50 barrels a year, keep it and check it regularly until it goes below. As soon as a well goes below 50 BPY, demolish it and replace it with human burners. Fill as much of the landscape as possible with human burners. Allow all offshore platforms to continue their existence until their reserves are dry, where they are just a waste of money.

Step Seven: By now, there is not much you really can do anymore. Prices will quickly drop to pre-peak rates for a while. Just keep the government well-oiled. You'll be sitting very pretty. Over decades or even centuries, though, demand will exceed supply and there will be not much you can do this time. Try to lower the oil addiction (allow some green Congressmen), but not too much or you'll be retired. I have no idea how long you can keep this up, but sooner or later you will either be retired or exploded.

Step Eight: Play a new game!

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I got the Farewell West ending. :P

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me myself and a door August 29, 2010 6:13 PM

i never got an ending i kept going tp year 3200 XD

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there is a fifth ending right???

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FYI the link broke i think

[Thank you for the note, I've fixed the links in the review above. -Jay]

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Many centuries later...
Wha? Finally an ending! "Retirement"? Darn it. No MAD for me...
I had human burners everywhere, had a half-oil, half-green congress.

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the game is fun..better than the mcdonald's game..but i feel kinda guilty playing it

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In response to previous comments on Bye Bye West, you have to keep GDP below -9% while keeping the oil prices below $300. You have to let some oil addiction go or else you will have too much demand and you may want to save a reserve or two so that you can keep prices from going too high late in the game. Also, when you get human burners,

you can build them in Texas, destroy them and build more. The game registers the destroyed ones as still functioning and producing oil while taking up no space

. I got a game with more money than fits on the bottom, more than 500 years of gameplay, and a GDP of quadrillions of dollars. At that point, the price of oil was still only $10 per barrel because I had unlocked human burners in a previous game and could build them from the beginning. Using them also eliminates most environmentalism.

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the newspaper said that hungery people started raiding food stores,how in the world does oil make food more expensive?

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i think the YOUR FIRED! ending is the best.

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Sip it up October 26, 2011 9:25 PM

This is strange. I got the enjoy your retirement ending, but it was only like 2070. I through money at everything that came my way. What did I do wrong?

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Okay so to get the fourth ending (farewell west) you must do the following


you build your empire of oil machines then once you have drained most of the oil destroy every oil machine and don't control elections anymore

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https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkYt9Y8XAMPnei6IrofFLlh1dbV31FjNDo Author Profile Page May 15, 2013 9:14 PM

I had 9/11 happen in 2011. lol. might be because I didn't "create the monster" until 2000.

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