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LA STAMPA

This Video Game Grooms Future World Leaders

Power & Revolution, a simulator that mirrors real world events, is used by some countries to select potential diplomats and train them.

Power & Revolution screenshot
Power & Revolution screenshot
Massimo Russo

Imagine directing the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, dealing with Europe's refugee crisis, fighting the Islamic State group, or even resolving the conflict in Syria and Libya. All of this — and much more — is possible with Power & Revolution, which is a video game as well as a geopolitical database.

Players can choose from a number of scenarios: from reforming European states to attempting a coup d"état in Africa. While the game lacks good graphics, the high level of geopolitical realism in Power & Revolution has led several countries as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, to use the game to select employees and train them.

Andre and Louis-Marie Rocques, the two brothers behind Eversim, a small Paris-based company that created Power & Revolution a decade ago, say that developing the game was the only way they could compete with bigger firms that have hundreds of developers. The duo release new versions of the geopolitical simulator every three years as well as an annual update to ensure the game is in tune with recent developments. (Their latest update was earlier this year.)

The game's database contains more than 100,000 pieces of data, including 16,000 dialogues and scenarios that mirror real world events. NATO has asked Eversim to develop a specialized version of the game for its personnel selection process, and some countries such as Belarus have used it to train diplomats. The brothers say they've found a niche, and often work with political and economic specialists, who advise them on how to make the game as realistic as possible. A third of the game's users are students and professors. Among their customers is Sciences Po, a prestigious French university, where some classes use the game.

Players lead democratic countries, grapple with economic decline and populist challengers. They seek to wrest power from dictators and empower opposition movements. Every choice carries consequences, and military interventions abroad can spark domestic protests.

When playing Power & Revolution, even gaming can become a serious matter.

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