by l0rdsn00ty

 
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 |B y| |E D   M O R E T O N  |&|  L EO N A R D   T U R N E R | 
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We started playing the City of London (C.o.L) on 27/10/86, and before long we were hooked. The console looked different back then but the basic moves haven’t changed much. We’ve undergone three or four re-boots since the Big Bang and the disc is becoming pretty scratched these days, – but that was always the trouble with analogue. Anyway, although it’s shinier than ever, the console is slowly obsolescing. The word on the street is that we’re facing digitisation. This means Cloud Play (Wall Street, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore), reduced lag, auto-save, and a more immersive in-game experience. There’s never been a more exciting time to get involved!

When we first logged-on C.O.L was only an indie game start-up; a cute platformer restricted to a small clientele of privately educated, red-braced, ruddy-faced men in grey suits. To be honest, these guys and their abacuses didn’t really have the moves, and on a strict diet of Oysters and Veal, it was pretty hard for them to progress from one level to another. Since 56k it’s become less of an esoteric pursuit, when all that’s now needed to get up and running in the game is lenient legislation, compliant auditors, accountants and insurance companies.

It's remarkable to see what a Massive-Mulitplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game C.O.L has become. The developers have 
worked hard to make the gaming experience as ontologically fulfilling as is currently possible- they've harnessed the
animal spirits of the Information Age to integrate almost every country, service and product you can imagine into the 
state of play. If it can be commoditised it most certainly will be. When it was a smaller venture, the in-game activity 
was more rule-bound, structured and 'turn-based'. However thanks to successive waves of deregulation from our 
parliamentary clients, only Moore's Law has been left in charge. This has allowed the Junk DNA of play, such as the 
glitches which were once brought about by industrial action , to be progressively phased out of the City. 

Since it went LIVE, C.o.L may have become a bit advanced for the old guard – we’ve certainly had to adapt a bit! For those accustomed to the button bashing routine of BUY LOW SELL HIGH, the futures and foreign currency markets might present something of a challenge. It’s looking ever more like the ’08 crisis was down to a few choice Leeroy Jenkins rushing headlong into situations they didn’t understand and over-compensating for their lack of tactical nous (sub-primes, illicit flows, random walks through alien markets.) It’s worth remembering we’re all here for one reason – to make money, and that none of us enjoyed us it when the server began disconnecting all those clients in ’08.

So in the interests of solidarity we’ve devised this guide for both the uninitiated and players who have been AFK since the early ‘90s, comprised of a few tried-and-tested tips from the L33T. Although we are of course indebted to the earlier treatments of the processes underlying C.O.L given by Milton Friedman, John Nash and W.D Hamilton, we felt that more effort was needed to plot the interior workings of the console so as to bring old players back into the fold.

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CONTROLS

[Hardware requirements]

  • You must first be in possession of or at least have access to the use of  “a machinery that is both immense and minute and which supports, reinforces, multiplies, the asymmetry of power and undermines the limits which are traced around the law”. Foucault, M, Introductory operating manual for C.o.L.
  • These financial consoles are to be found in several megalopolises around the globe. YOU MUST REGULARY UPDATE YOUR HARDWARE.

[Software requirements]

  • An intelligence quotient in the upper 130’s, preferably without the left-brain capabilities that might send you along more subversive routes.
  • As previous guides have observed, a level of functional psychopathy (emotional detachment, narcissism and/or frontal dis-impairment) is likely to contribute to your level of success in this game.
  • Previous versions of the game functioned better for those running it on an Oxbridge O.S, however, these days GRAFT and self-conviction are just as adequate.
  • Social grace, charm and wit also used to be a good way of insinuating yourself from one stage of Career Mode to another. However the current LDRBRD is largely dominated by Quantitative Analysts, and processing power now generally wins out over either chutzpah or nepotism.

Although the square-mile has become a meticulously realised open-plan game-space in recent Updates, it is still recommended that players merge into the paths of least resistance that are built into the map. The in-game architecture compels all novices to flow along the passages of transit permitted by the programmers (Gym space- Trade space- Work Space- Play space)

NOW WATCH THE DEMO (Cut-Scenes can be skipped.)

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MONDAY: RUN//DAILY-ROUTINE

O-eight-hundred start-up I/R/L:  Breakfast//high-fibre//grapefruit//Gaggia//TODAY

Disciplinary power-shower MEMORIES OF PREP. Tea-tree body-scrub. Fluoride.

<BOOT: EXERCISE>

20 X squat thrust/

10 X sit-ups/

20 X stomach CRUNCH/

</BOOT: EXERCISE>

NOTE: Had strange visions last night whilst AFK, a nocturnal data swarm crunching Castles in the Sky chasing returns through an air-conditioned nightmare kill-screen glitch. Unconscious speculation on the foreign currencies of a childhood spent in harmony. Saw a younger version of myself singing Sanctus in a cold chapel. Must consult cognitive-behavioural-therapist.

BLACKBERRY: 3 unread messages: Hugo/Charles/Drew asking in unison “HOW DID YOU DO TODAY?” nerves pique. Apprehension.

<FUNCTION>

Valentino/silk Windsor knot /laces follow the Bunny Ears / Braces ping/ Lift (stomach lurch)/ground floor floodlights awaken /pick a Bentley out of the Garage.

</FUNCTION>

INT: Bentley.

Dawn Light sun-spots, circumnavigate Bishops/New/Ald/Lud/Field/Tower- gate past Gropecunt lane turn left onto Grub st. down Oak st, checking the morning glory of the stocks all the way, brogues clack through the gleaming foyer already consulting LDRBRD in the elevator, eyes glance up, Becky’s certainly put the effort in, lean past n00bs, 30th floor, pneumatic sigh of relief from doors, cross trading floor, the Bloomberg console sitting where I left it- shining iridescently in the morning light, PEACE. HOME AT LAST.

//LEVEL [buffering Treasure Island {Beta}]

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WALKTHROUGH for the City of London [CoL] Level: Treasure Island (also available from yr local Business & Enterprise college and other franchised outlets- if in doubt consult your local education authority

You will re-spawn at a randomly configured point in the Square Mile of meritocracy. After allowing the grid a few moments to buffer the surroundings should begin to look like the following: Two Prets/Three Eats’/Gymbox *must optimise bicep: abs’ ratio here* cavalcade of black cabs passing by- and several locations at which to get a pre-work Pint.

/Dog and duck

/Green man

/Hamilton hall

/Crossed-keys

/Charge of the light brigade

  1. At the core of the map lies the recursive corridor of Curtained walls. In the North East you’ll find the poorly rendered barbarism of the Barbican, an esoteric cultural mini-game available for the devotee [100%- all gems.]
  2. Gamers can also walk to the abandoned abattoir of Smithfield’s Market; a forgotten MEATSPACE lodged in the virtual odyssey of Treasure Island– it was once a site for less sophisticated trades. Skirt the London Wall for little-known rewards that include a trace of Abandonware still present in C.o.L.
  3. You should be able to quickly reach the main Spawn-point for this level (Tie-Rack/Cornish pasty co./ dense graphic sprawl of commuters/ nutrient point pickup zones) Depart from here for access the Home Counties expansion pack [you must be operating with Rural-Mod switched on to load these bonus levels.] Upon reaching the Spawn-Point @ Liverpool.St anyone playing on older consoles may experience a nauseating buzz in their Ventrilo’s. This is to be expected and is not a problem with your hardware [it can anyway be offset by a second visit to the Dog and Duck.]
  4. From Liverpool. St. you will inevitably be steered towards the main nexus of reward/loss on the map, the point at which everything that his risen will converge at the 30th floor, where points are to be gained and reputations are earned. The AI and NPC are noticeably better configured in the main Game-space near the Lloyds/Leadenhall/ Cheesegrater/Walkie-Talkie. In a few minutes you will reach the main heat-death -axis of eosocial frenzy configured for this level. The MMORPG is to be found here.
  5. N00bs beware: Don’t discuss tactics over your Ventrilo, as from this point onwards in the game there is strictly no conferring allowed unless it is done with exceeding discretion. Don’t forget the Umpire (2.0) is supervising you with his avuncular gaze from Threadneedle Street, but his circuitry is poorly configured and his blind spots are gaping.

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TACTICS: [JERSEY OR JAIL/ DOUBLE IRISH/ DUTCH SANDWHICH/ LADDERING/ SALAMI-SLICING/ GOING THE DISTANCE WITH RISK]

Tactics are a useful as a way of putting yourself on the right side of the JERSEY or JAIL disjunct. Contrary to most novices’ expectations, you cannot re-spawn an infinite amount of times in the City.  Tactics will be circulated across Ventrillos in the Dog and Duck, but BEWARE. Don’t forget THIS IS NOT A MULTIPLAYER GAME.

[OFFSETTING RISK]

Whilst the Umpire might miss a few sleight-of-hands from his HQ on Threadneedle St.there is no getting past Risk. You’ve got to go THROUGH IT! Risk remains the master ironist of the game and your main opponent throughout it. The Data-set of facts and figures which you will assemble prior to every choice made in Career Mode can only get so big before you must intervene and let the probabilities be damned. Risk is the pressure exerting itself on the server and every player, slowing you down, it’s the lag that momentarily delays the fluency of the cursor on your console and it is likely to short-circuit that crucial calculation which could move you fourty places up the LDRBRD.

Now that we’re running LIVE, there is a noticeable interpenetration of the I/R/L world and its unpredictability into the fluid operation of the game space. Those of you who are familiar with Baudrillard’s formative assessment of the mechanisms that govern C.o.L may be surprised that the ‘Desert of the Real’ is not quite so barren these days. Although the logic of play still depends upon the ability to abstract all events into numerical quantities, the most successful gamers will be alert to geopolitical movements, and will recognise their impact upon the quality of gameplay.  Until you have grasped the sheer interconnectivity of the state of play, you will forever remain inattentive to Risk. As was intimated above, EVERYTHING REFERS BACK TO THE GAME. Risk breathes down the necks of those it assembles on the 30th floor and it will try to prune your Hedged bets. Things are no longer as rough and ready as they once were.

The atmospheric build up of Risk on any trading floor is a sign that your server is congested and the ping is too high – for those who have progressed to positions of seniority, *redundancy* might be a good tactic to deploy here.

(Knuckles whiten on the Mouse, clicks gather to a staccato tremor, minutes undergo the paradoxical diminution of Zeno; multi-tasking gets ever more self-aware as trading hours whittle down.)

As one of the great strategists for C.O.L- known as the Clausewitz of C.o.L by aficionados’ – Ulrich Beck, phrased it:

“Risk does not mean catastrophe. Risk means the anticipation of catastrophe. Risks exist in a permanent state of virtuality, and become ‘topical’ only to the extent that they are ‘anticipated.’ ”

[DOUBLE IRISH/DUTCH SANDWICH]

Novices may have been informed about the need to reduce their tax liability to achieve real progress. Luckily, the developers of C.O.L have encrypted a number of strategies to make this easier. In a network of rivals, the promotion of altruism is oxymoronic. So to get the ball rolling you should first splinter company operations out from London into the Netherlands [NOTE: entry level players must first operate within domicile tax legislature for a stipulated period of time.] From Holland ship out some of the companies operations to Ireland. Translate your profits from these ventures back to your shell companies in Netherlands. Then re-coup your rewards back to Ireland. Thereby diminishing your tax bill to a fraction of the original sum. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS THE DOUBLE IRISH/DUTCH SANDWICH. It is one of the more sophisticated manoeuvres in the game, and one that takes hours of practise to perfect.

Re-read for clarification.

N00BS BEWARE: The Public Accounts Committee.bot monitors offshore manoeuvres and a stooge will sometimes need to be sent into Whitehall to deflect attention from the sheer scale of such criminality.

[LADDERING]

The original programmers of C.o.L grafted the game onto an already existing system architecture, which at that time allowed drug trafficking, and other cruder forms of criminality to pass undetected through trans-national networks. Illicit flows of capital are therefore now able to haunt shelled-out trusts in the Caribbean, ever-minimising the individual players expenditure and optimising his kill-to-death ratio.

THIS IS MONEY LAUNDERING.

[SALAMI-SLICING]

As all the pro’s will testify the cardinal maxim is to ALWAYS ROUND DOWN. What this amounts to in practice is a policy of always increasing your transactional potentiality by never passing up an opportunity to collect gems. GEMS MEAN FAVOURS.

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CHEATS:

The AIG- Use the aggregate savings of septuagenarians to leverage against the risks of investments elsewhere. Steer clients towards insurers whom you have made payoff deals with and get the drones to manipulate the stock-price- UNLOCKS FAVOURS.

MADOFF: NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL PONZI CHEAT. Accrue investors by promising extraordinary returns on stocks. Instead of liquidating these companies and defaulting on the investments, set up new companies and trade the funds between them. N00BS BEWARE: The MADOFF can no longer be considered a safe bet and is only successful when you have assembled a large portfolio of contacts in Career mode.

ENRON: Start a transnational, multi-million dollar company in Career mode. Get your employees to invest their life savings. Use the drone’s savings to invest in high-risk markets and hide the debt you will inevitably accrue in the shell companies referred to above. WARNING: NOT to be used during a BOOM ERA. Will most certainly bring an end to any BOOM ERA.

[unlock bonus charachter] NIGEL LAWSON: Takes the stage and sings: “We’re goin’ on a bear hunt (repeat) We’re going to catch a Big one (repeat) I’m not afraid (repeat) Got a real good friend. By my side. Oh! Oh! What do I see? BLACK MONDAY. Can’t go over it- Can’t go under it- Can’t go around it- We’ve got to go through it!”

The REPO 105: This manoeuvre requires temporary collaboration between auditors and investors to guarantee both groups extra GEMS. Downsize liabilities by (re)branding short-term deposits as sales and using the cash generated to pay-off debts for long enough to change the accountants record. Once the book has been by(passed) repurchase the assets by borrowing heavily. AND COLLECT YOUR BONUS.

GO ROGUE: Take advantage of GLITCHES in the censors programming, to gain rewards for missions you haven’t yet fully completed and use this appearance of progress to artificially augment your status in the game. Unusually this manoeuvre has recently resulted in at least one player being convicted- and so remains reserved for the L33T only.

LEHMAN BROS [SUBPRIME]: Trick the poor into taking out mortgages at low rates. Watch the rates rise and the markets explode. WARNING: ONLY USE WHEN OTHER OPTIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. MAY CAUSE THE GAME TO RESET AND YOU MAY LOSE YOUR PROGRESS.

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Reviews of the latest edition of C.O.L (GENUFLECTION TO THE GAME)

“ I’ve worked in the marketing division of C.o.L for about 800 years, and have spent the majority of my time myth-busting certain rumours from n00bs in Westminster about a psychological connection between the ruthless strategies encouraged by participating in the game and a tendency towards committing violence against vulnerable people I/R/L. I have yet to see any compelling evidence for this causal link and so remain committed to protecting the harmless chicanery of our activity.”

Parliamentary Agent- Paul Double (Online alias_ThaR3membranc3r_)

“We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich [as long as they pay their taxes.]”

Overl0rd_Mand3lson. (Early bi-partisan advocate of the pleasures afforded by C.O.L)

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