Many moons ago, one of my favorite computer games was called President Elect. I believe this was made in the late 1980s. It was pre-Clinton is all I know for sure, because the game’s default election scenario had a Republican as the incumbent.
Anyway, the point of the game was to have your candidate beat the computer’s (or another player’s) candidate on Election Day. The graphics, other than the map of the United States, were almost non-existent. It was all about allocating ad revenue in specific states, and campaigning in certain states, and picking a VP candidate who was helpful to the cause.
It was a lot of fun for political junkies like me, even though it was pretty basic, owing to the technology of the day.
Now, I own a new, different game with the same premise. And it has quickly become one of my favorites! It’s called The Political Machine, and it was made specifically for the now-past 2004 election.
Like President Elect, the graphics are pretty weak other than the national map. But the gameplay is much more advanced.
You can choose from today’s major candidates, like George W. Bush, John F. Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Dick Cheney. Or you can choose past candidates like Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. Or, you can even create your own candidate. (Me, being the self-absorbed prick that I am, created myself….)
Then you go on a 41-week journey to capture the White House. Each week is counted as a turn. During each turn, you can decide to raise money, travel to different states, run ads (newspaper, radio, or TV), make speeches (on a topic of your choice), or many other things (or some combination of the above).
A great feature is the ability to accrue “political capital” that can later be spent on winning endorsements from major national organizations. Or this capital can also be used to purchase the services of various political operatives, who can go from state to state helping you make your case to the voters.
There is also the opportunity to take a gamble and fly to a state that is temporarily displaying a question mark. This indicates a political opportunity. These can be either good or bad for you, but they are usually positive, so they are worth the chance.
Also, you are given the option from time to time to appear on national news shows, like Hardhitter and 50/50 and The O’Malley Scenario. There, you are asked tough questions and have an array of choices in how to respond.
All of the above play a crucial role in deciding who wins what states. An Electoral College victory is the ultimate goal, so battleground states will likely take up most of your limited resources.
Of course, this game is imperfect. There are no debates between the candidates. Third-party candidacies are not an option. And Bill Clinton, if he’s your opponent, is almost unbeatable!
But this game is still a lot of fun. Not only does it have a great replay value, but it’s practically addicting!
File this one under: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!Powered by Sidelines