I’m Not Lovin’ It

Is it a game?

When you search “McDonalds Game”, the first search result that pops up is a game made by Molleindustria. According to Molleindustria, this McDonalds game is a anti-advertisement game based on the fast food industry.

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Without this knowledge, this game simply does not seem to have any kind of purpose other than cause frustration. The dynamics of the game are very rigid and simple but it can be classified as a game.

According to Bernard Suits, “To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs [prelusory goal], using only means permitted by rules [lusory means], where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means [constitutive rules], and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity [lusory attitude]” (Suits 1967, p. 156). Considering this definition of game, this McDonalds game is considered to be a game since there are certain rules you need to follow and theres no way to cheat the game. Nevertheless this game can be considered a game despite whether it is fun or not.

The classification of this game can be seen a simulation of the McDonalds empire since you are simulating as the owner of McDonalds by managing money with selling food and bribing officials to keep the public from outraging. You promote the food industry with advertisements to get more people to purchase more and you purchase land for your crops. Keep that in mind when you see figure 1. Figure 1 is a depiction of the classification of games according to Jesper Juul. As seen, Open-ended simulations are considered games in the sense of a borderline case.

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Figure 1

The whole time I played the game, there was not a single inclination that there is an end goal to the game. I believe the main goal is to not go into bankruptcy and last as many years as possible.

The game starts off with a tutorial that explains how the game works and then you start in the year 2000. The simple design requires you to switch between 4 different options that include an agricultural section, feedlot, restaurant and corporates. The purpose of the game is to maintain your empire of fast food chain without going bankrupt. You have to switch between each 4 options whilst changing things in each to earn money. In my first try, I lasted for a pretty good while until the year 2039.

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Bribe some people to calm the people

Although I came to the realization that after a while the fertility of the pastures that the cows were in, would slowly degrade and if you didn’t pay attention, they would become infertile and you would be unable to have cows there or any kind of plantation for your cows. After, you’d purchase land around and that made environmentalists angry since you were cutting trees. Since I had skimmed the tutorial, I did not know this information and kept trying to fix these issues. It took a couple of frustrating tried to finally figure out how to keep the land fertile without angering the environmentalists. Even then, other issues would arise that kept me frustrated rather than entertained. For example, some workers in the restaurant would start getting angry and spit in the food, if you didn’t keep them happy the customers would get sick from their spit and blame you. However, if you fired the employees, their union would file a lawsuit on you and you’d lose money and customers. It was an endless cycle of problems and issues that kept happening and kept making the game unpleasant.

A reason that I might’ve not liked this game as much as others can be explained with Ludica. Ludica states that, “Today’s hegemonic game industry has infused both individuals’ and societies’ experiences of games with values and norms that reinforce that industry’s technological, commercial and cultural investments in a particular definition of games and play, creating a cyclical system of supply and demand in which alternate products of play are marginalized and devalued”. I am one of those that can be considered “heavy gamers” and according to Ludica’s quote, I had an unpleasant experience with this game simply because of the game industry trying to supply games that I am demanding which is not simulation games.

In conclusion, according to Jesper Juul and Bernard Suits, this game is a game. To me this game is not fun at all. It is not fun to me because of Ludica’s explanation of the game industry trying to supply games which in turn devalues other games like this one.

Upon further research, I came upon this article that gives you hints for mastering the game. I wish I could’ve found it while I was playing the game so it could’ve been a much more enjoyable experience for me. I strongly believe that once fully understood,  the game has potential to be fun.

I give this game 3 cups of fries out of 10.

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References:

Fron, J., Fullerton, T., Morie, J. F., & Pearce, C. (2007, September). The hegemony of play. In Situated Play: Proceedings of Digital Games Research Association 2007 Conference. Tokyo, Japan (pp. 1-10).

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8 thoughts on “I’m Not Lovin’ It

  1. What is there not to love about McDonald’s? But yeah. I agree about there being no goal in this game. All you do is not go bankrupt, which to me, is pretty lame. I’m impressed you lasted so long on your first attempt because on mines, I went bankrupt pretty quick. Like. Insanely quick. My want to fill my restaurant with workers and corrupt people was my downfall. The game was a bit more interesting when I actually understood the game mechanics but it still wasn’t that enjoyable.

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    • i think it’s hilarious that you wanting to corrupt people was your downfall. Do you think there is anything that could make the game more enjoyable?

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog! I like how you mention that a game doesn’t have to be fun for it to be classified as a game. I felt a theme while reading other people’s blogs where they seem to indirectly suggest that ‘fun’ is a requirement for a game. I do not believe ‘fun’ is a requirement for something to be classified as a game because people find and experience fun in different ways. This would lead to people never agreeing on if a game really is a ‘game.’

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    • Thank you! I am glad that I am not the only one that thinks that there isn’t a need for ‘fun’ for a game to be a game. I see it as games can be fun and the best ones are the ones that are always the most fun, but some games aren’t at all fun but are still games. For example I hate the game of chess, I think its boring but I do not enjoy it, however it still by all the definitions, still is a game. Do you agree with that?

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  3. I good read. Well done incorporating the theory into your analysis. I’m not sure I approve of your fry rating though: this isn’t about reviewing something. That said, I find your seeking of “fun” here to be very entertaining. I don’t think Paolo Pedercini is aiming to keep you entertained. I also think the Wikihow site that you linked to is particularly missing the point. Note the 3rd, 5th, and 8th recommendations they suggest: GMO, Animal Growth Hormones, and Corrupting Health Officials. Yes, these are options, but this is also Molleindustria/Pedercini’s critique of McDonald’s. You cannot ‘win’ (by maintaining the industry) without this form of Capitalist corruption.

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  4. I completely understand your frustrations with the game. I also ran into trouble while playing; taking these experiences into consideration, do you think the creators purposely tried designing this game to frustrate the players?

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  5. This game did become less and less attractive by the way you described it. But do you think people could find a joy of playing a game that bores them or would it be better to change the whole chemistry of the game to give players a better objective.

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    • I think the only time they play a game that bores them is when they are trying to get achievements for it or are trying to beat a highscore. However, I don’t think there’s enjoyment in the game itself when people that, only enjoyement when they accomplish those achievements. If this game had something different, I think It would be much better

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