Game Tunnel's 2005 Sim Game of the Year
Books can be important; movies can be important. Games, however, are the degraded purview of violent male adolescents. Democracy cannot exist.
Except that it does, of course. It is not without flaw; but it's a game that every citizen of a democracy should play, to get a better gut understanding of the pressures faced by their leaders--and every citizen of a tyranny should play, to get a better gut understanding of why democracy, whatever its flaws, is better than the alternatives.
Democracy is the kind of game that some reviewers used to sneer at as "spreadsheet simulations"; it's carried primarily in text, with some graphics to dress things up--but unlike a "tycoon"-style game, there aren't little animated people running about.
The criticism of this game style is unwarranted in at least one way; games like this often have a highly detailed (and interesting) underlying simulation. This is certainly true for Democracy.
In Democracy, you're the newly-elected leader of a democratic nation--the UK, the US, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, or Poland. Each turn is three months, and the next election is in four years.
Your population is divided into a slew of interest groups--by political orientation, but also by wealth, life-style (motorists and smokers, say), and interest in particular issues (e.g., the environment or health care). People can belong to multiple categories (a smoking environmentalist conservative?). There are dozens of different policies you can implement, and each will please some voters while annoying others. Naturally, the demographics of different nations will affect this--Brits are more likely to like universal health care and worry less about high gas prices than Americans, say.
There are random events and crises to cope with, but you can choose to play the game on almost any level you wish--to cynically comb the polls for ways to increase how the populace feels about you, to attempt to impose your own particular ideological quirks on a potentially unimpressed populace (anarchosyndicalism now!), or even to attempt to govern in a technocratic mode with "the greatest good for the greatest number" upper most.
Democracy, in other words, is concerned with issues and voter reponse; it neither attempts an ideological structure, nor is its simulation of, say, economic impacts particularly deep. But it does impart a sense of the difficulties faced by those in power in struggling with the concerns of the voters, the chaotic nature of the world in throwing up unexpected crises, and the refractory nature of a political environment that often makes it difficult to achieve even well-considered objectives.
It is, in other words, quite an interesting system to engage with. A criticism of it as "a spreadsheet sim" is uninformed; a greater criticism might be that it is too random, and doesn't actually reflect the actual crises our civilization evidently faces today. Of course, to do so, it would have to take an ideological stance (is the great problem global warming or Islamofascism, say?), and within its more limited sphere, it has a great deal to say.
It's also highly modable. So if you do want a version where global warming is the great crisis of the coming century (or the rise of an irredentist China, or whatever your particular bent may be), it's quite possible to create one.