Next, the members of the team behind “the-novel-where-you-are-the-hero,” along some left-leaning soft-ware designers, decided to design an an elaborate computer game on the same theme. They set up a cooperative build-it-yourself opensource Gamesters’ forum and set about creating something more dynamic, more realistic, more interactive and more nuanced than the novel. Advances in computer science opened new possibilities. A game with a multiplicity of “heroes” and “villains,” with the whole globe as playing field and real history as a frame.
They began their exploration by reviving an old educational board game on the same theme. It was called Class Struggle and it had been published with some success in the ‘Seventies by the brilliant American Marxist, Bertell Ollman. The Rules and the Chance cards written by Ollman had a droll and ironic didacticism. This technique was incorporated into the “Rules” of multiplayer-online game called “Billions&Billionnaires,” which expanded the playfield to the entire planet. Finally the new computerised game introduced the dynamic element of time limits. The time of the game became the time remaining to a planet careening towards social and ecological disaster.
The designers adopted as Logo the image of little fish uniting in order to eat the big one,
a picture that sums up the main strategy for winning at “Billions vs. Billionnaires” This image had long been used by revolutionary syndicalists. It eerily recalls an even more ancient image engraved on walls by the early communistic Christian communities persecuted under the Roman Empire. These fish also recalled the legend of Jesus miraculously multiplying the bread and fishes to feed the multitude: a parable designed to teach people that when they share among themselves, there’s always enough for everybody.
I remember the Rules of this game fairly well. If you want to read them right away, go to: Rules of the Game Billions vs. Billionaires.