“When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to Fly by those nets.” 
James Joyce

FBTN cartoonist releases Stormont beat 'em up video game

FBTN cartoonist releases Stormont beat 'em up video game

Andrew Pope, our resident political cartoonist here at Fly By Those Nets, has released a new video game.

Super Stormont Deadlock is a sort of retro throwback Street Fighter clone except you can play as Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill.

In an interview with BBC Northern Ireland, Andrew explained that he was inspired by the ongoing lack of a devolved government at Stormont and that he thought this game would be a good way to poke fun at it all.

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"A big part of the problem with Stormont is that if you look at it like a zero-sum game where there are clear winners and losers, then you can't get anywhere."

"That was the point I was trying to make - it's not a way to solve the crisis but it seems to be the only way that's being pursued by the two main parties."

Basically, the game ends up being a bit of a let down but it's all by design.

Despite the character selection screen featuring all of Northern Ireland's political leaders, none of the others have enough "seats" for you to actually be able to play as them.

What's more, Foster and O'Neill are able to block every attack they throw at each other, much like the real life situation at Stormont.

Andrew has published a fascinating post mortem of the whole process over on itch.io and it’s well worth a read if you want to find out more about game design.

He goes into the thought process behind the game and makes an argument that games like this are sometimes more effective satire than traditional comics or sketches.

“Games are a great medium for demonstrating theories and making small, pithy arguments and that’s exactly what I set out to do with Super Stormont Deadlock. Borrowing an existing, well understood, rule set - in this case the basic fighting game loop - and then breaking it is a pretty effective way to illustrate a broken system.”

Be sure to download the game itself, if only to marvel at all of Andrew’s incredibly detailed artwork and bop along to Katherine McKnight’s inspired soundtrack.

You can also check out the rest of the work Andrew has done for us here at Fly By Those Nets below.

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