Have many people seen (or played) Nation States?
It’s a non-traditional online game that is technically very simple, but can become fairly involving. It’s also the work of an Australian author.
The gameplay involves making political decision for a small nation state (up to 2 a day). These decisions are summarised by exaggerated status reports and reflected in the nation’s economy, and civil and political freedoms.
Aside from slowly watching your nation grow, players can also get involved in the virtual United Nations and the discussion forums. There are currently 150 UN resolutions reflecting the composition of the gaming community with topics ranging from slavery to DVD region encoding.
I think that Nation States is an excellent example of a game that challenges common conceptions of games and gamers, and I found it fairly inspirational in this regard.