This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

Europa Universalis

"Europa Universalis: Faith Power Wealth: Global Conquest and Diplomacy from Columbus to Napoleon" (I)
Strategy First
Paradox Entertainment

We have to advise consumers not to obtain this game, because it did not work in two different installations in Windows XP and it says during installation that it was not intended for Windows NT (which is what XP is.). The patch addresses some problems but creates others. The reviewer does not know, but it might be a consideration for hard-core gamers with Windows 98.

Although "Europa Universalis" (EU) was an ambitious plan and accomplished quite a bit, consumers always have to look out for games that get sent out too soon, simply because marketing/finance says it's time to shrink-wrap to make a buck. Under capitalism, developers are the ones who know when a game is really done, but even developers have a self-interest in botching games to prolong their employment or increase consulting fees. We are not saying every developer would stall to make a buck, only that the self-interest of developers is ambiguous-- thanks to capitalism, not anything inherent to computer programming. Likewise, finance & marketing departments should know that not all reviewers are dependent on their company's ads to make a living. We at MIM are here independently telling people things about "EU" that a corrupt game industry would not. In any case there is now a second edition game which we will review at a later date.

We also have to criticize the entire computer industry for allowing a situation like this. A game comes out in late 2001 and already by 2003 it is unusable on the operating systems people buy with their computers. So often supposedly revolutionary changes in technology are really just excuses to buy more hardware and throw out old software. In a socialist society we would not have to suspect the motivations of finance departments, developers or operating system/hardware platform designers.

"Europa Universalis" is most like the other more well-known game "Civilization" and to its credit EU is the more realistic and informative. Scenarios start with the historical and political alliances of that day in history (in time periods between 1492 and 1792) and as the player is in charge of the kings in his country the player is left open to change those political and military alliances and do a better job with the economy.

Other than the historical introductions, we also appreciate a few other aspects of the game. Best of all a player may be merrily expanding his/her empire--peacefully with prosperity--but success inevitably leads to the creation of trade blocs--a truth about history to this day. Other players may restrict or completely block trade in their territories and colonies. Such trade restrictions lead to formal justifications for war. The only way to end such a trade restriction may be through war.

We are especially thankful that the manual mentions the "opening" of Japan by force. The bourgeois political and economic theorists glorify trade as a question of individual free will. In reality, the Navy goes to a country, bombards it and then trade starts.

The bourgeois Liberal theories apply to everything from signing a contract to work for Taco Bell to sexual relations "between consenting adults." They never look for the force underlying all exchanges of monetary or sexual nature--and that force is always there, which is why we have to fight for across-the-board communist anarchism as the long-run goal. The liberal Liberals can be the worst of all seeking to reform things by addressing some of the underlying coercion in sexual and employment exchanges while prettifying the others. They end in all sorts of twisted hypocrisy that never goes anywhere.

That's how it is possible to say that a war is necessary for Liberalism--whether Iraq or Japan. When they get there, the occupiers kill the opposing journalists--kill people for political opposition--and then say they brought "freedom." That's the nature of war. When a country does not want to trade as in "EU" that is political.

In China's case, the Liberals (West) arrived, bombed and invaded to force China to take up an opium addiction. "Free trade" included drugs.

"EU" gives players a true sense of the economic causes of war at the simplest level. There's no labor theory of value or Marxist theory of accumulation in "EU," but trade blocs are a start.

Another thing we like about "EU" compared with the earliest persynal computer simulation games is that "EU" depicts struggles within its administrative units--in this case provinces. The natives of every province have varying degrees of likelihood of attacking settlers and even winning battles.

"EU" does not provoke serious thought about the nature of settler theft of land. When a player sends troops to a province, they may fight with natives simply to "defend themselves." Without sending troops, a player takes a frequent risk that the natives will massacre everyone in the trading post or colony created. The ideological level of the power-behind-the-throne sending his/her settlers and traders is about the same as a burglar who kills the victim of theft in "self- defense."

True, it is possible in some cases for settlers and natives to live together peacefully in "EU." In real life, it is also true that not all settlers are the same. The vast majority are nothing like Amerikkkans. We at MIM are focusing the fire on settlers who rise to petty-bourgeois status at the expense of other nations' lives--as in Amerikkka, I$rael, Australia, apartheid South Africa etc.

Finally, we should mention the religious element to the game. Each province has its degree of nationalism/provincialism. What we like is that the religious element becomes intertwined with the national question. Provinces may not like an occupier especially because of his/her religion. This becomes expressed as a military-national conflict. "EU" says it's a question of "tolerance," but we like the fact that such "tolerance" is a political question as each country has the right to set its "tolerance" to other religions.

Best of all within the religious question, Catholics find themselves urged to convert to Protestantism. This is the subject of an ancient debate between Marxism and idealism. In "EU," if the player survives the wars and instability, Protestantism provides an economic advantage over Catholicism. The idealists stress the power of the Protestant religious ideas themselves and the fact that one converts and then economic advantages start to flow in "EU" would seem to say the "EU" developers support the idealist interpretation. On the other hand, before a player converts his/her country to Protestantism as the official religion as happened in that day in European history, the economic advantages of Protestantism become known to the player. Hence, the real reasons for converting are spelled out. If others are already Protestant, there will be political advantages as well. Converting may also be an excuse to make war on other countries for their resources. All this comes out in "EU."

"EU" was supposed to be an ambitious and more historically accurate alternative to "Civilization." Although this game is a technical failure for XP users, it demonstrates the possibilities of the genre.

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