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Video Game / Hidden Agenda (1988)

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In the confusing days following the dictator's fall, a Junta of the Insurrection has been formed by representatives of the three major political parties. Someone must lead the country in its hour of need. By popular mandate, that someone is you.
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A Government Procedural set in the Banana Republic of Chimerica, which is struggling to get back on its feet after 40 years of dictatorial rule. As Presidente, you must balance the demands coming at you from all sectors of society with Chimerica's vulnerable position as a Third World country in the middle of the Cold War.

Tropes found in Hidden Agenda:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Farsante. Practically everyone turned against him regardless of their position on the political spectrum. However, the trope is also subverted in that a few of the major characters only turned against Farsante to save their own skins...
  • All There in the Manual: A detailed history of Chimerica.
  • Authority in Name Only: You, if the US-backed military elements drive out their Soviet-friendly counterparts. Eventually, Colonel Ehrlich will just do what he wants no matter what you decree, giving the same answer either way (brusquely thanking you for your opinion, then saying his soldiers know what to do).
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  • Bilingual Bonus: Each ministry has a Spanish motto.
    Defense: Fuerza y seguridad (Strength and security)
    Internal Affairs: De muchos al uno (From many to one)
    External Affairs: Jamas dice 'tio' (Never say 'uncle')
    Agriculture: En granos confiamos (In grains we trust)
  • Black and Gray Morality: If you follow the advice of Popular Stability, you'll have a civil war on your hands, death squads running rampant, and the Army effectively in control. If you follow the advice of National Liberation, you'll have a civil war on your hands, an American embargo that destroys the economy, Chimerica in the arms of a Soviet Bloc that really can't provide much help. Christian Reform's members provide a middle path that will leave death squads running rampant...but the nation will be at peace. And, no, you can't have a free or fair election or have a military that will actually obey orders all the time.
  • Blatant Lies:
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    • The in-game newspapers are rife with propaganda, particularly USA Yesterdaynote , El Independientenote , and Chimerica Ahoranote .
    • If ministers or influentials dislike you, they might say they'll obey your orders, but implement their own favored policy instead.
  • But Thou Must!: Your only choice in a crisis situation is between the demand on the table and the relevant minister's advice. If the minister agrees with the demand, or no minister is assigned, you have no choice but to implement the proposed policy. (This can lead to a chain reaction where other groups outraged by your "decisions" immediately demand that you reverse them, and without a minister, you'll be forced to cave in every time.)
  • Capital City: Poyais, home of the National Palace.
  • Comical Overreacting: Father Julio as a cabinet member. ANY disagreement with him, no matter how trivial, has a good chance of his launching into a "Weep for your children, Jerusalem" jeremiad.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: All of the photographs.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Insurgents can seize Radio Chimerica and proclaim your downfall.
  • End Game Results Screen: Encyclopedia PaxAmericana (US Tricentennial Edition) delivers the verdict of history on your rule.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: You can enact a curfew.
  • Fictional Political Party: National Liberation is left-wing, Christian Reform is centrist, and Popular Stability is right-wing. Each offers three nominees for your cabinet, which has four positions to fill—so you'll need to hire from at least two parties.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: Narrowly dodged. The game was released in 1988, and takes place over three years of the Cold War. However, no dates are given, so it reads today as an Eighties period piece. (The manual implies a mid-Nineties setting, but it also gets several characters' names wrong.)
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You're asked for a first, last, and mother's maiden name (which is customarily appended in Latin America). If you skip this step, you become Juan Incognito Anonymous.
  • Meaningful Name:
    Chimerica is a chimera of a country. Body of El Salvador, neck of Nicaragua, claws of Cuba, head of Haiti, it is a composite of different parts that together form a beast representative of all.
  • Mixed Ancestry: According to the manual, Chimerica has a largely mestizo population.
  • Mob War: Between Colonel Ehrlich (the US-backed military commander) and Sub-Commandante Correa (the Soviet-backed commander). They jointly run the military even though they hate each other, and keeping them both around is VERY tricky. One will oust the other 99% of the time, and that will dictate Chimerica's political alliances for the rest of the game.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Generally, the game ends with either you surviving to the end or being overthrown. There are two exceptions, both revolving around the National Liberation Party:
    • If you keep the NLP active in your government but pass enough policies they hate, you may receive a sudden alert that Father Julio has engineered your peaceful ouster via the legislature. The game immediately ends and goes right to the summarization.
    • Similarly, if the election comes with Sub-Commandante Correa running the army and you are the Christian Reform candidate, the game will end with a polite letter from the election commission informing you of your loss to the NLP candidate.
  • Off the Chart: Glitches can cause this. 108% of your population is starving!
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: If you run as the candidate of either the Christian Reform or Popular Stability parties, the army will assassinate the civilian election overseer (a priest, naturally) and assume control of the election itself. Of course, the actual popular will becomes irrelevant at that point.
  • Press X to Die: Surrendering to a coup has a 100% chance to end your game. There's also a certain decision that will trigger a Game-Breaking Bug and leave you with no option but to exit the game.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Político Ex Machina.
  • The Purge: Elements of the military will do this, if you empower them to. Or if they decide to empower themselves to do it. The only way to prevent this is with a Purge of your own.
  • Realpolitik: The tug-of-war between US and Soviet influence is a major theme. Even within Chimerica, it's impossible to make everyone happy..
  • The Starscream: Be prepared to defend against coups from ministers who dislike your policies.
  • Torture Technician: Padilla, Farsante's chief interrogator, was nicknamed "Blowtorch Bob" for his favorite implement. He also subtly threatens you whenever you interact.
  • Vote Early, Vote Often: How Farsante is alleged to have stayed in power.


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