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Video Game / Calm Down Stalin

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"Dammit Harry, stop calling me all the time!!!"
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Calm down, Stalin is a simulation game created by Cardboard Studios and released on September 8th, 2016 for Windows via Steam.

The game puts you in the shoes of Josef Stalin himself in his day-to-day routine of leading the Soviet Union and preventing World War III. To do so, you have two goals : make sure the Enemy Invasion Timer in your office doesn't reach zero by keeping your hand near the war button to scare the rest of the world and maintain the State Integrity bar (which represents how serious the USSR looks to the rest of the world) as high as possible. A task easier said than done as the stress of holding the fate of the world is quite stressful for poor Josef, who must also deal with a variety of annoyances such as traitors, documents to stamp, phone calls from the US, flies and malfunctioning lighting.

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Stalin is controlled by the player using the mouse to move one of his arms around and pick up and use items, with a key press to switch arms. The game has four variables to manage : the above-mentionned Timer and State Integrity (which decreases every time you fail to kill a traitor or pick up the phone), a Fatigue bar (which decreases a bit every day) and a hidden Stress bar, which steadily increases during each level (represented by Stalin's heartbeats going faster and louder). Stress and Fatigue actually make gameplay harder, as Stalin's arms will become more and more twitchy the more stressed/tired he is. Fortunately, you can choose to slack for a day or two to reduce Fatigue or raise State Integrity, and stress can be reduced by various means during gameplay.


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This game provides examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: After a phone call, you can just toss away the phone and it will hang itself up after a while. Just don't throw it on the button!
  • Bad Boss: Because grabbing a revolver and shooting a random dude just because "traitor" doesn't scream exactly benevolence. But since it raises the state integrity...
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Well, Pipe of Anxiety in this case, as smoking decreases stress.
  • Cosmetic Award: Winning the first two optional missions earn you flags of the USSR and a painting of Lenin to decorate your desk. They're the only upgrades that have no effect on gameplay.
  • Harassing Phone Call: The main source of annoyance in the game. Failing to pick up or not listening to the guy on the other side (which happens if the phone drifts away too far from Stalin's head) will make state integrity take a nosedive, you will gain a lot of stress... And you can only pick it up with your right hand, which is also the only one that can reach the button (you can juggle the phone to use your left hand, though).
  • Our Founder: A bust of Lenin can be unlocked as an upgrade. It makes the Enemy Invasion Timer drop much faster if you hold it above the button rather than use your bare hand.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Your desk lamp start flickering? Punch it till it stops!
  • Percussive Therapy: The unlockable punching bag reduces stress.
  • Stock Scream: When a traitor gets shot, a Wilhelm Scream is heard.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: One of the unlockable upgrades is a glass of vodka. It removes stress completely, but can be used only once a day.
  • World War III: What happens if the timer or the state integrity reach zero or if you push the button.
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