By Recuecn, Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs
The West Pacific has recently completed its first Rugby World Cup! The tournament took place in the nation of Reçueçn and many nations on the map nearby competed, as did other TWP notables not on the map. Eighteen different nations sent their rugby teams to the tournament, and many also provided media coverage of their team's performance and events over the course of the World Cup.
Dalimbar was one of the nations brought into the spotlight during the tournament, as several nations' fans launched protests in Reçueçn in response to Dalimbar's practice of using landmines at their borders. The host nation struggled to find a good response to other nations' citizens protesting within its own borders, particularly during the rugby world cup, an event meant to bring together the nations of The West Pacific in harmonious sporting competition. Fortunately, Dalimbar did not wind up facing some of the nations who opposed it most strongly, a scenario that could have led to more violent protests. In the end the Reçuecian government tried its best to toe the line between allowing protests which were mostly supported by its own citizens while also protecting the interests of Dalimbar, particularly the sanctity of its embassy. A few dozen Fujansk protesters were detained, while many Jammbian protesters were arrested and extradited to face trial in their home nation.
The website of Bran Astor's Crown News Corporation (CNC) during the Rugby World Cup Click to see full size image
Dalimbar was not the only nation facing censure at the world cup; the nation of Dilber also received criticism for its widespread, open use of performance-enhancing drugs, necessary to allow its rugby team—including children and senior citizens—to compete at the same level as those of other nations'. Bhang Bhang Duc's team also had a questionable roster: the team, nicknamed "History's Utter Bastards", included such names as Vlad Dracul Williams, Ivan the Terrible Williams, and Adolf Hitler Williams.
These and other teams captured the attention of The West Pacific for a week as citizens tuned in from across the region to watch their own nations' representatives duke it out on the rugby field. High media coverage pleased fans and tournament organizers, and some are already calling for the event to be repeated. Hopefully the world cup is just one of the first steps along the road to future regional sporting events in TWP.
As you all know, the West Pacific recently held its Second Annual Festival of the Three Perfections, and the regional government handed out awards for across multiple categories. However, what not everyone was aware was that this was merely a precursor to the real awards. As the Prime Minister of the legitimate government-in-exile-in-residence, it is my proud duty to present to you the real awards that everyone should have been waiting for: The Dilber Choice Awards.
The First award being presented is the ART award AKA the “Actually really talented at art like Dilber” award.
This award is being presented to Lormia of Karma for the Haiku: “Haiku”
Of haiku kaiku
Reading a haiku haiku
This haiku haiku
This Haiku is very similar to the style of known master haiku author Dilber, for his haikus about Dilber.
Next up is a category that is near and dear to the entire GiEiR: Most likely to bring democracy back to the West Pacific
This category winner is Bran Astor for his work on Dali’s Drag Race, and also for not kicking me yet. Also, he’s the only one that could do it, so I guess he should be buttered up, and now he has to recognize us by accepting this award.
The next award is for best meme. I would like to thank everyone that participated in this category, even though it wasn’t an official category and none of you knew you were competing. Maybe remember THIS next year when we throw up random categories and then decide to allow me to choose people to give awards to huh:
The winner of this category is Altino. This made me laugh really hard at work.
The final individual category is actually a group category, but the nations involved will need to claim this on their own. While many festival-goers were able to enjoy everything that was placed on offer, there was a subset of people that stubbornly sat out front and refused to turn in their ticket to enter. I’m not going to name names, but you know who you are and you can wear this “proudly”. For that, I offer this up into the universe:
Finally, I offer up the most prestigious of awards. This award, the Dilber’s Choice Award, goes to the festival-goer that put up my absolute favorite piece in the entire show (and this is for serious). He won an actual award, but now he gets another one, but from me so it’s more important:
You may wear this with pride:
This concludes the Dilber’s Choice Awards. The Government-in-Exile-in-Residence thanks you for your time, and we look forward to welcoming you back next year.
By Fuentana, TWP Poet Laureate of Haiku
Dwight Schrute once observed, “Nostalgia is truly one of the great human weaknesses, second only to the neck.” Having recently observed Retro Day, it seemed fitting to poll our residents about one great source of nostalgia: the almighty video game. Whether the platform is PC or console, lives have been marked by the advent and proliferation of video games.
Here’s a look at some games that make our residents weak in the knees (and thumbs and wrists):
There are some games that bring tremendous realism, simulating real life things, from driving to flying to hunting submarines (but the latter is probably a real life thing very few of us will ever do in real life). For Kurabis, SIMT MHD had tremendous mileage: “It's a Czech game (with English version). It was created around 2011 and it's a public transportation game. You can drive with trams, buses and trolleybuses. The city in which you're playing is fictional with a Czech touch. The most nostalgic thing I find is the ability to drive with old buses that are not in use or they're very rare to see or they're old.” Fans of transit will surely love games like SIMT MHD.
Besides making you think, many games also test your mettle when facing difficult odds. Teralyon reported on two great games that did so: Deus Ex and Planetside 1 — but not Planetside 2.
On Deus Ex: “The game is 20 years old now, yet I’m willing to state with confidence that Deus Ex has some of the best gameplay ever made in a game. Deus Ex is a RPG-FPS (Roleplaying First Person Shooter Game) and solid RPG elements at that, depending on how you develop your skills you can choose to go for silent takedowns or being a master hacker that will turn the enemies own defences against them, or you can take the GEP gun (rocket launcher) and wreak havoc in your path.” Explosive though the gameplay is, Deus Ex is also a brain teaser: “You start the game as Agent JC Denton, a snarky, self-assured, confident persona who spends half of his time being a dick and the other half of his time trying to find more ammo for his GEP Gun. You start Deus Ex by stopping a terrorist group, and depending on choices you make, you may be able to join the Illuminati. Deus Ex is full of philosophy and conspiracy theories. A must play!” Snarky agent, rocket launcher, Illuminati, and philosophy? What’s not to like?
On Planetside 1, which is a massive multiplayer online first person shooter (MMOFPS). And Teralyon isn’t kidding: the scenarios are indeed massive. Here’s a few memories of how Planetside 1 involved what sounds like a Zerg rush on steroids. “What made PS great was its sheer epicness. You would be stuck in a stalemate with all empires hunkered down and fighting over in between 3 bases on a continent and as soon as one empire starts making progress and inventively over extends without proper support the other two empires would crush the offensive and the hole cycle would repeat but then you would see a global message from a CR5 (Command Rank 5, basically a Field General) make a order for all available units to return to Sanc (Sanctuary, each empire had an additional continent they solely owned and could not be attacked by the other two) and gather for a raid. Once in Sanc you would join a giant air column of planes and/or armour columns and once the CR5 deemed enough people were there you would all use a warpgate to a continent and all descend upon one place overwhelm it and make everyone there have a very bad day. This is just one example and a very common one of what made PS epic. Everyone that has played PS has there one epic story to tell. My personal one involved my Outfit (Clan,Guild) squad (10 players per squad) holding off a base attack of over 100 players for over a half hour until the main force was able to link to the base we were defending, it was EPIC.” Teralyon was a CR5 of the Terran Republic, so we can be sure that this Field General was involved in many memorable fights to the last and flawless victories.
Video games have immersive worlds, so immersive in fact that work or study can be challenging. Sometimes these worlds draw the player in by placing them in the middle of a cosmic battle with the powers of darkness. Nrevyw (Wyvern) shared about such a struggle in Shining Force EXA. “Shining Force EXA is a game about people caught in a war between humans and demons. You play as two characters who try to stop the war and (typically) end up facing a tyrant god of darkness called Malxatra who's causing the conflict… I remember one night I was playing it and I had a Math test in the morning. It was one of those typical arena styled encounters, where you face a bunch of small timers then a final boss and get some rewards. I ended up at the final boss having consumed all my health potions which was unfortunate to say the least. I ended up running circles around the boss, occasionally hitting it because I knew if I got hit, I would be one-shot. I'm pretty I ended up running around in circles for about an hour and a half straight (back when I could do that without falling into a coma) until it was like 2 in the morning. I ended up beating it which was great, but I'm pretty sure I failed that Math test.” I would probably fail a Math test without the help of a video game. Well, divide and conquer, right?
Games do have their quirks, though. Sometimes the most mundane of game elements make the biggest difference. Wyvern mentioned two switches in the game that gave the enemy boss IDDQD (god mode in Doom) power: “I was nearing the end of the game, running around this castle in the sky which is the final dungeon, and I flipped two switches that didn't really do anything as far as I could tell (always a good sign right?). Well anyway, I get to the final boss room and save. I face off against it and get annihilated in about 3 seconds. Apparently flipping those two switches turns the boss difficulty up to 11/10. I realize and go back to turn them off... but I'm locked in with an under-leveled character for the fight. I've beaten the game multiple times with multiple handicaps to make it more difficult but I've never managed to beat it on that save file.” This is a good time for a PSA: save early and often.
For myself, I will share about an immersive tactical game that continues to be a go-to (well, until I upgraded to the newest Mac OS). From time to time on weekends the last few years, my wife would ask me, “Are you defeating the Soviets again?” Why? Because I was playing Operation Flashpoint/Arma: Cold War Assault (though I could defeat the Soviets or Russians in other games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare or Cold Waters). Though the pace of Flashpoint/Arma was much slower than contemporaries like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor and not nearly as slick, I (and the brother who introduced it to me when I was a lad) loved its emphasis on tactics, terrain, and timing. In missions where the player held command, timing and placement of fire teams, weapon selection, and more made a huge difference. There were few things as satisfying as laying the perfect ambush, or overseeing two teams perform a (very slow) double envelopment. When Flashpoint became available as Arma on Steam, I was very happy to dig up memories of high school days procrastinating, and I explored more creative methods of winning missions such as commandeering MI-17 or MI-24 helicopters to eliminate pesky Soviet infantry and tanks. Did I do my homework on such days? Feed the cat? Feed the wife? No, but I am pretty sure I prevented World War III at least twice, and that’s something worth celebrating.
Writing this has left me up to my neck in nostalgia. There are surely many other great games that have left a mark on peoples’ lives, so if your game wasn’t mentioned, do share! I’d also love to do a follow-up piece on “great moments in gaming.” Whether it is finally defeating that pesky last mission or feeling the emotional connection during a plot twist in the game or the catharsis of the vindication of House Vandenburg (any Mechwarrior 1 fans out there?), games leave a mark on our memories and imagination. What were some of your great moments in gaming? DM me on Discord or TG if you’d like your game to be featured in the future.
By Dalimbar, Guardian of the West, Executive Assistant, Minute Monkey
Hall of Nations, The West Pacific – As the seasons start to change, from the snows of winter to the blossoms of spring, The West Pacific entered another voting season. Every February, May, August and November the Members of the Hall of Nations take the time to sit down and decide who among them has enough merit to fill elected positions.
In accordance with changes to the governing structure of the region, Members of the Hall of Nations voted for the positions of Speaker of the Hall of Nations, Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Minister of World Assembly/Recruitment. This is the first time that the Deputies for Cultural Affairs and World Assembly/Recruitment have been directly elected by the Hall. In previous election cycles, the Hall elected Ministers of Internal Affairs, Recruitment and Citizenry, and World Assembly Affairs, all of which have been restructured and directly appointed by the Delegate following revisions to the Manners of Governance.
Speaker of the Hall of Nations
Three candidates campaigned for Speaker of the Hall of Nations, the facilitator and moderator of the body of all citizen nations. Giovanniland, Sensorland and incumbent Varanius all ran for the position, with candidates discussing the role of the Speaker to the Hall and their own experiences.
The results were:
# of Votes
Giovanniland had this to say to The West Pacifican: “I’d like to thank all who voted on me, and I’m looking forward to the new Speaker duties, such as regional commendations, because that will be fun to do!”
Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs
The race for Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs saw the incumbent, Recuecn, face off against new-to-TWP member Mystic Skies (aka Mia). Recruited to the region by Dilber, Mia promised to “slime Dilber in all perpetuity” and blame him for everything. Reçueçn, who was appointed to Deputy Minister in the previous term, ran on continuing his work as Deputy, particularly in Roleplay, along with news and information to the region and the outside world.
# of Votes
Reçueçn told The West Pacifican: “It was sort of a funny situation because I already had the position before it became an elected one, so I was campaigning to keep my job. But I’m excited for my new responsibilities.”
Deputy Minister of World Assembly/Recruitment
The most voted race was for the newly created Deputy Minister of World Assembly/Recruitment. Created to assist the Minister of World Assembly/Recruitment to increase WA and citizen activity and membership in the region, the race saw two candidates, Sensorland versus The Unified Missourtama States (TUMS). Both candidates ran on similar platforms of focusing on telegramming and publicity campaigns to increase the Delegate endorsement count and regional activity, while helping nations craft repeals of General Assembly resolutions and commend/condemn resolutions in the Security Council.
# of Votes
The West Pacifican spoke to Sensorland, who said “I’m thankful that the Hall elected me and I’m very happy to be working with Badger to push WA and citizen activity in TWP to the next level.”
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Running unopposed, incumbent Gryphonian Alliance (HyFy) issued his platform for Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to expand the Deputy role beyond writing the monthly FA update to working closely with new ambassadors and interacting with regional allies through their RMBs. He will be working closely with Dilber, newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
# of Votes
Gryphonian Alliance (HyFy)
Average Turnout from August 2017 to February 2020
Elections in The West Pacific may be confusing for some, given the region identifies as a Meritocracy and not a Democracy. Elections in TWP function two-fold: to have the Hall of Nations identify the most meritorious nation to hold a position, not just a flashy politician who only values popularity contests; and to act as a de facto census of Members, to see who is active and engaged in the region.
In each election cycle, there are multiple positions in which a Member can vote. Before the February 2020 cycle, there were two rounds of voting given the number of positions available. Each round would last for six days, three days of nominations and three days of voting. Pre-2020 cycles had the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Recruitment and Citizenry, and World Assembly Affairs occupy the first round, while the positions of Speaker, Minister of Education (first elected in the February 2019 cycle), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sergeant-at-Arms were contested in the second round. The February 2020 cycle held one round, where Speaker and the Deputies of Foreign Affairs, Cultural Affairs, and World Assembly/Recruitment were up for vote.
To get a sense of the activity levels in each cycle, one could look at an “average turnout”. Because Members can choose to participate in all, some, or none of the votes in each cycle, certain higher-stakes races would have a much higher voting rate than an uncontested campaign. Wild fluctuations of participation rates from one cycle to another in one position is noticed if in one cycle there are three candidates and in the next cycle the incumbent has no challengers.
The two election cycles under the delegacy of Bran Astor has seen the highest average turnouts under the current system, with the November 2019 cycle seeing an average of 33 voters and the February 2020 cycle seeing an average of 38. 2017 cycles were in the mid to high 20s as a result of the creation of the Manners-system of government. The lowest average turnout was the November 2018 cycle of 13.
We in The West Pacifican look forward to increased average turnouts in future cycles as activity continues to grow. This growth is one way we say to the world that #WestIsBest.
By Big Bad Badger, Minister of World Assembly and Recruitment
Our March to 600 is going strong! Our Delegate Bran Astor is up to 565 endorsements. The Reddit wave CTE has begun. However, we have only lost 10 WA nations from the peak WA membership a few weeks ago. Bran has also increased to 73% of WA members endorsing him. Please endorse Bran and get others to do the same!
I would like to congratulate Sensorland! They have just been voted and will serve as the Deputy Minister of WA/R! They have a lot of great ideas and I am really looking forward to working with Sensor!
University of The West Pacific has just concluded it first World Assembly Ministry training! Six students completed a series of projects designed to help them learn more about our ministry. We started with a project called Why TWP, which helps us find our motivation for doing more for our region. Next the students teamed up to learn about the General Assembly and Security Council. Creating presentations and answering questions about their assigned areas. Then in their teams they were asked to create a GA and SC proposal; getting feedback on their work from experts, many of whom are regular contributors in the GA and SC forum. Their drafts and presentations can be found here.
Lastly, our students had a contest that ran throughout much of their study. They were asked to reach out to the nations in the region who are members of the World Assembly but are not presently endorsing our Delegate. I am happy to say that Giovanniland has won garnering 5 new endorsements for Bran! You have been awarded a prize created by the Dean of UTWP.
And remember that it is the position of The West Pacific that the GA infringes upon the sovereignty of the individual nations. So Vote NO for every GA proposal and Yes to every GA repeal!
Our WA State Patrons, or WASP, nations that stay above 100 endorsements but under the Endo Cap throughout the month, has maintained 55 members. I will send out telegrams of nations to endorse again this month to try to get the number near 100. I would like to recognize our WA State Patrons: