Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Midweek Market Watch: Wall Street Raider (A Guest Post by Dan Hansen)

GUEST BLOGGER Dan Hansen Shares 
His Enthusiasm for the Game Wall Street Raider

Wall art by Dan Hansen
I don't usually talk about things I like because they are nerdy, bizarre, or inappropriate. For instance, I'm obsessed with a computer game no-one has heard of called Wall Street Raider. It's a rare and minimal game of numbers and text fields...but it simulates 1500 companies. Every time you start the game you get these hysterical cynical dystopian quotes like:

"Criminal: a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation." 
– Howard Scott

"A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar on top." – Mark Twain

"Respect, like love, is not something that can be earned – it must be bought and paid for." 
– Doc Snopes

"Practicing law is the opposite of having sex. Even when it's good, it's bad." 
– Mort Zuckerman

I find it fascinating that there really is no simulated stock market game out there besides this one. I always wondered if this was somehow intentional. Like maybe the market would get "too efficient" if this kind of stuff was downloadable for kids on the PS4. They'd be asking mom for a $25,000 ThinkOrSwim account instead of a college fund, causing concern amongst quants running blackbox algorithms for the head-scratching CEO's of major financial institutions playing arbitrage games with our oil and orange juice.

"Escape from Meaning" -- Dan Hansen
In Wall Street Raider you can do things like sell 500% naked call options while shorting 20% shares of a company during a market crash, completely wrecking it. You can create shell companies that create shell companies to leverage the crap out of your trading swagger. I decided to look into the creator Michael D. Jenkins today. What a Hunter S Thompsonesque weird rabbit hole it's uncovered on a cold December afternoon. He seems to be one heck of a genius. The guy has Degrees from various IVY league schools in accounting, tax Law, government, economics, finance, business. Not only this but the man has written a book under the pseudonym Doc Michael "Coyote" Snopes called "The Gonzo Chronicles." Double take. What?? Yep, a real Gonzo journalist who writes exactly like Thompson about his adventures in corrupt companies sailing the high seas of crony capitalism. What are the chances all this synchronicity lines up on me? I had to buy his Kindle book. Here's a sample of his writing:

"I wrote this because I think I have an important story to tell about my life and spiritual journey, and I want to tell it to someone other than the drug dealers, faith healers, winos, morticians, stock swindlers, and mercenaries who make up my immediate circle of friends. You may think that I am writing this from a small, nondescript building, surrounded by high walls in a quiet suburb, and that perhaps I am confined by a jacket with longer than usual sleeves, or restrained by certain medications. However, I can assure you that I am currently on the outside, able to come and go as I please, and that I am writing this of my own free will."

Yeah so I've been obsessively playing this guy's computer game for years Here's excerpts from a description on his amazon page:

"After buying his first PC in 1983, Jenkins quickly learned DOS programming, which he found to be highly addictive, and by 1986, as a hobby, had published a uniquely sophisticated and entertaining corporate finance/stock market game and simulation, "Wall Street Raider."".

"Sometimes hobbies become obsessions, and I never seem to run out of new wrinkles and ghoulish financial scenarios to add to this simulation, as well as inventing new ways to make it ever more realistic and difficult to win at, just like the real financial world," Jenkins says, although he earns little more than "beer money" from his small but fanatical following of fans of the game, in over 90 countries at last count."

RELATED LINKS
Read the full bio at amazon.
A visit with Dan Hansen.

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