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Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -

Games are not made by robots, they are made by people. People have opinions, and people are biased. What happens when people are tasked with making a video game about the taboo subject of politics?

Barring another painful recount, America will choose a new president tomorrow. The political season kicked off with the Republican primaries at the start of the year, and concludes with the choice between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on November 6. Political years tend to generate a few politically themed games, too, despite the industry’s near all-encompassing aversion to touching a topic that impacts so many of our lives.

You can run a robot for president in Political Machine, so obviously it's okay with lampooning the process of becoming our nation's leader.

Two such games are The Political Machine 2012, a long-running series simulating the general election between each party’s chosen candidate, and Strategery 2012, a tongue-in-cheek look at the election framed through Nintendo’s popular Advance Wars games.

The Political Machine debuted in 2004 from Stardock, a developer known for its work in the strategy genre, and published by Ubisoft. Stardock took over the publishing rights for the 2008 version, and also published the most recent edition.

Chris Bray joined Stardock roughly a year ago, and served as a producer and lead designer on the The Political Machine 2012. Bray had no problem admitting his own political leanings when we spoke.

“I’m liberal but I tend to be pretty independent--maybe everybody thinks this way. [laughs] I don’t know,” he said. “I tend to be pretty open minded to all sorts of opinions, and hearing people out.”

The goal of The Political Machine is to “poke fun at both sides” through a video game that's belief agnostic. That means a liberal, conservative and anything in-between or outside should be able to play it and have fun. Despite using real-life polling to fuel the underlying game data, it’s perception in the wild always changes, and Bray said Stardock’s received feedback from consumers that this version of the game skews democratic.

Stardock is filled with all manners of political beliefs, according to Bray, including conservatives and libertarians alike. Most importantly, however, is Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who Bray described as “a pretty conservative guy.” When Bray joined The Political Machine 2012, the two discovered how their own political biases were bleeding into the design of a game ostensibly meant to be neutral.

“When he [Wardell] did some of the game balancing on previous versions, he tended to make the democratic candidates or liberal demographics of different states have much stronger views in favor or gains something,” said Bray. “I didn’t know that going into it, and my balancing and tweaking for 2012--new issues and that sort of thing--I ended up doing the exact same thing for the conservatives.”

Bray wasn’t hired to bring a certain political view to The Political Machine, but Bray said it was impossible to avoid certain conversations while working on the game. Big election issues are built into the game’s design, so by its very nature, developers working on the game need to make design calls on what should or shouldn’t be in the game.

Issues that were added to a recent patch of the game included “Chik-fi-let,” related to a flare up about the restaurant Chick-Fil-A’s position on gay rights; “Provide tax returns," a criticism from the Obama campaign about Romney’s limited release of his personal tax returns; and "Government builds business,” a meme from Republicans pulled from an Obama statement about the role of government.

The range of opinions at Stardock keeps Bray in check when his views could skew the game.

“When we were doing caricatures of all the different candidates, I had to hold myself back from making some of those,” he said. “Michele Bachmann had some really crazy eyes in the first art pass that I did. [laughs] Then the conservatives would jump in, and we’d get into the other side, too, or tone down the more extreme cases.”

Whereas Political Machine attempts to remain neutral, Strategery 2012, the brainchild of a former Firaxis intern, doesn’t pretend to hide its bias. Michael Silverman self-identifies as a liberal, and the Republican primaries prompted him to begin putting together what would become Strategery 2012.

Strategery 2012's name is derived from a popular SNL sketch criticizing former President Bush.

Strategery 2012, both aesthetically and mechanically, will look familiar to Advance Wars fans. There are two modes: primary season and the general election. During the primaries, you play as Mitt Romney, but the general election gives you the chance to play as Barack Obama, too. Take control of campaign staffers, move ‘em around the map to earn votes, and occasionally unleash a super power. Romney can suppress votes, Bachmann says...well, stuff that would make most anyone raise an eyebrow.

“I’d admit that it’s slanted left, in my opinion,” said Silverman. “I wasn’t trying to stay perfectly neutral. But, like the SNL philosophy, they’re happy when they’ve poked fun at everyone. I wanted to try and make sure I got a shot in at everyone--even Obama, even though I’m on his side. The goal was to skewer the whole thing.”

Silverman’s interpretations of the candidates are based on their primary performances. Bachmann’s penchant for wild statements is balanced against “fact checks” after she deploys her special power, “Right is Right.” Based on the response to fact checkers this election cycle, to some, that itself may be picking a side. One man’s caricature is another man’s skewering of the truth, though Silverman claims the response hasn’t been particularly political.

“Don’t think that because I used real quotes that this is a totally unskewed, fair representation,” he said. “If you let someone take your quotes and mess them around and play with them, you can make anybody look all kinds of ways. [laughs]”

Prior to release, Silverman hadn’t asked a Republican-leaning player to check out Strategery 2012, and find out what other side thought of his characterization. To find out whether Silverman had painted an accurate picture of the Republican field, I asked for Republicans following me on Twitter to drop me an email. I’m surprised how many of them have put up with my own loud mouthing on Twitter throughout the election, so bravo to you brave souls.

“Well they made Obama seem like a ‘good guy’ and made everyone else seem either ruthless, out-of-touch, or clueless,” said longtime Republican Reid Spottswood. “Not that I think Bachmann or [Texas governor and former candidate Rick] Perry were geniuses, but everyone's character were basically caricatures based off of gaffes that blew up on the internet. [...] I do not think my political viewpoint is represented at all in this game, but I don't blame the game creator for this since that was obviously their intent.”

The broad characterizations of candidates bleeds into their overall perception, games or otherwise. In 2012, even Bachmann's eyes were a story.

“Funny enough, the political setting of it didn't really affect any of what I played during the primaries portion of the game,” said Josh Williams, a former Republican who still votes conservative. “During the general election, I ended up saying to myself ‘I'm going to win without getting votes...I'm just going to kill everyone before the votes are there’. It was an interesting thought to pop into my head.”

“The Republican viewpoint in general throughout that game is a bit outlandish in its presentation, relatively over-the-top,” continued Williams. “Then again, looking at the party now, it's a bit of a big top circus show already. However, the game goes in a direction that is a bit more...simplistic...than what Republican issues are. It tries to nail them down as some basic essentials when many of the issues brought up on the Republican side through that game have far more parts to it than just ‘yeah, voter IDs’ and ‘yeah, cut funding to PBS.’ There are reasons beyond that, but it only shows what the media and social culture have decided to make those issues about.”

“I thought the game was a pretty good satire of a lot of what goes on in politics,” said Ben Vance, who’s already cast his vote for Romney. “The game's political stance certainly seemed to be more opposed to the GOP than I would have liked, but there were many critics that rang true. [...] Many of the jabs, such as Michele Bachmann's tendency to hurt her credibility through dumb statements, I feel were pretty accurate, and probably the feeling of many Republicans as well. [...] I felt like it left out much of the things I like about the GOP platform such as fiscal responsibility and limited government. However, I did like the idea of Mitt being more of a moderate. The ‘Moderate Mitt’ power was usually amusing, and it's in some way one of the big reasons I support him.”

It appears Silverman was mostly successful, insomuch as a liberal can with a conservative. Having an enjoyable game driving it probably helped. Several Republican-leaning players I asked to try out Strategery 2012 remarked how the game’s representation of their preferred party didn’t matter. They focused on trying to win the game.

Strategery 2012 and The Political Machine, whatever their leanings, are outliers. Games and politics aren’t a well-represented mix, though Microsoft has tried to engage Xbox 360 owners with political coverage via Xbox Live. The aforementioned games are pieces of entertainment, with creating an informed electorate hardly being the focus. The ReDistricting Game, on the other hand, was created to specifically teach individuals about an important but ignored process of redistricting, which has so much to do with the makeup of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Neither Silverman nor Bray are surprised there aren’t more political video games, though. It's a hard sell, and passions flare red hot, especially in today's polarized electorate. There's not a huge incentive to roll the dice.

“Game designers should try and talk about things that relate to the real world, whether it’s even allegorical and relates to the real world, or it’s a topical thing,” said Silverman. “To make games more relevant, it’s helpful to focus on things--personal insights you can give to the player.”

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3469 posts) -

Games are not made by robots, they are made by people. People have opinions, and people are biased. What happens when people are tasked with making a video game about the taboo subject of politics?

Barring another painful recount, America will choose a new president tomorrow. The political season kicked off with the Republican primaries at the start of the year, and concludes with the choice between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on November 6. Political years tend to generate a few politically themed games, too, despite the industry’s near all-encompassing aversion to touching a topic that impacts so many of our lives.

You can run a robot for president in Political Machine, so obviously it's okay with lampooning the process of becoming our nation's leader.

Two such games are The Political Machine 2012, a long-running series simulating the general election between each party’s chosen candidate, and Strategery 2012, a tongue-in-cheek look at the election framed through Nintendo’s popular Advance Wars games.

The Political Machine debuted in 2004 from Stardock, a developer known for its work in the strategy genre, and published by Ubisoft. Stardock took over the publishing rights for the 2008 version, and also published the most recent edition.

Chris Bray joined Stardock roughly a year ago, and served as a producer and lead designer on the The Political Machine 2012. Bray had no problem admitting his own political leanings when we spoke.

“I’m liberal but I tend to be pretty independent--maybe everybody thinks this way. [laughs] I don’t know,” he said. “I tend to be pretty open minded to all sorts of opinions, and hearing people out.”

The goal of The Political Machine is to “poke fun at both sides” through a video game that's belief agnostic. That means a liberal, conservative and anything in-between or outside should be able to play it and have fun. Despite using real-life polling to fuel the underlying game data, it’s perception in the wild always changes, and Bray said Stardock’s received feedback from consumers that this version of the game skews democratic.

Stardock is filled with all manners of political beliefs, according to Bray, including conservatives and libertarians alike. Most importantly, however, is Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who Bray described as “a pretty conservative guy.” When Bray joined The Political Machine 2012, the two discovered how their own political biases were bleeding into the design of a game ostensibly meant to be neutral.

“When he [Wardell] did some of the game balancing on previous versions, he tended to make the democratic candidates or liberal demographics of different states have much stronger views in favor or gains something,” said Bray. “I didn’t know that going into it, and my balancing and tweaking for 2012--new issues and that sort of thing--I ended up doing the exact same thing for the conservatives.”

Bray wasn’t hired to bring a certain political view to The Political Machine, but Bray said it was impossible to avoid certain conversations while working on the game. Big election issues are built into the game’s design, so by its very nature, developers working on the game need to make design calls on what should or shouldn’t be in the game.

Issues that were added to a recent patch of the game included “Chik-fi-let,” related to a flare up about the restaurant Chick-Fil-A’s position on gay rights; “Provide tax returns," a criticism from the Obama campaign about Romney’s limited release of his personal tax returns; and "Government builds business,” a meme from Republicans pulled from an Obama statement about the role of government.

The range of opinions at Stardock keeps Bray in check when his views could skew the game.

“When we were doing caricatures of all the different candidates, I had to hold myself back from making some of those,” he said. “Michele Bachmann had some really crazy eyes in the first art pass that I did. [laughs] Then the conservatives would jump in, and we’d get into the other side, too, or tone down the more extreme cases.”

Whereas Political Machine attempts to remain neutral, Strategery 2012, the brainchild of a former Firaxis intern, doesn’t pretend to hide its bias. Michael Silverman self-identifies as a liberal, and the Republican primaries prompted him to begin putting together what would become Strategery 2012.

Strategery 2012's name is derived from a popular SNL sketch criticizing former President Bush.

Strategery 2012, both aesthetically and mechanically, will look familiar to Advance Wars fans. There are two modes: primary season and the general election. During the primaries, you play as Mitt Romney, but the general election gives you the chance to play as Barack Obama, too. Take control of campaign staffers, move ‘em around the map to earn votes, and occasionally unleash a super power. Romney can suppress votes, Bachmann says...well, stuff that would make most anyone raise an eyebrow.

“I’d admit that it’s slanted left, in my opinion,” said Silverman. “I wasn’t trying to stay perfectly neutral. But, like the SNL philosophy, they’re happy when they’ve poked fun at everyone. I wanted to try and make sure I got a shot in at everyone--even Obama, even though I’m on his side. The goal was to skewer the whole thing.”

Silverman’s interpretations of the candidates are based on their primary performances. Bachmann’s penchant for wild statements is balanced against “fact checks” after she deploys her special power, “Right is Right.” Based on the response to fact checkers this election cycle, to some, that itself may be picking a side. One man’s caricature is another man’s skewering of the truth, though Silverman claims the response hasn’t been particularly political.

“Don’t think that because I used real quotes that this is a totally unskewed, fair representation,” he said. “If you let someone take your quotes and mess them around and play with them, you can make anybody look all kinds of ways. [laughs]”

Prior to release, Silverman hadn’t asked a Republican-leaning player to check out Strategery 2012, and find out what other side thought of his characterization. To find out whether Silverman had painted an accurate picture of the Republican field, I asked for Republicans following me on Twitter to drop me an email. I’m surprised how many of them have put up with my own loud mouthing on Twitter throughout the election, so bravo to you brave souls.

“Well they made Obama seem like a ‘good guy’ and made everyone else seem either ruthless, out-of-touch, or clueless,” said longtime Republican Reid Spottswood. “Not that I think Bachmann or [Texas governor and former candidate Rick] Perry were geniuses, but everyone's character were basically caricatures based off of gaffes that blew up on the internet. [...] I do not think my political viewpoint is represented at all in this game, but I don't blame the game creator for this since that was obviously their intent.”

The broad characterizations of candidates bleeds into their overall perception, games or otherwise. In 2012, even Bachmann's eyes were a story.

“Funny enough, the political setting of it didn't really affect any of what I played during the primaries portion of the game,” said Josh Williams, a former Republican who still votes conservative. “During the general election, I ended up saying to myself ‘I'm going to win without getting votes...I'm just going to kill everyone before the votes are there’. It was an interesting thought to pop into my head.”

“The Republican viewpoint in general throughout that game is a bit outlandish in its presentation, relatively over-the-top,” continued Williams. “Then again, looking at the party now, it's a bit of a big top circus show already. However, the game goes in a direction that is a bit more...simplistic...than what Republican issues are. It tries to nail them down as some basic essentials when many of the issues brought up on the Republican side through that game have far more parts to it than just ‘yeah, voter IDs’ and ‘yeah, cut funding to PBS.’ There are reasons beyond that, but it only shows what the media and social culture have decided to make those issues about.”

“I thought the game was a pretty good satire of a lot of what goes on in politics,” said Ben Vance, who’s already cast his vote for Romney. “The game's political stance certainly seemed to be more opposed to the GOP than I would have liked, but there were many critics that rang true. [...] Many of the jabs, such as Michele Bachmann's tendency to hurt her credibility through dumb statements, I feel were pretty accurate, and probably the feeling of many Republicans as well. [...] I felt like it left out much of the things I like about the GOP platform such as fiscal responsibility and limited government. However, I did like the idea of Mitt being more of a moderate. The ‘Moderate Mitt’ power was usually amusing, and it's in some way one of the big reasons I support him.”

It appears Silverman was mostly successful, insomuch as a liberal can with a conservative. Having an enjoyable game driving it probably helped. Several Republican-leaning players I asked to try out Strategery 2012 remarked how the game’s representation of their preferred party didn’t matter. They focused on trying to win the game.

Strategery 2012 and The Political Machine, whatever their leanings, are outliers. Games and politics aren’t a well-represented mix, though Microsoft has tried to engage Xbox 360 owners with political coverage via Xbox Live. The aforementioned games are pieces of entertainment, with creating an informed electorate hardly being the focus. The ReDistricting Game, on the other hand, was created to specifically teach individuals about an important but ignored process of redistricting, which has so much to do with the makeup of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Neither Silverman nor Bray are surprised there aren’t more political video games, though. It's a hard sell, and passions flare red hot, especially in today's polarized electorate. There's not a huge incentive to roll the dice.

“Game designers should try and talk about things that relate to the real world, whether it’s even allegorical and relates to the real world, or it’s a topical thing,” said Silverman. “To make games more relevant, it’s helpful to focus on things--personal insights you can give to the player.”

Staff
#2 Posted by kermoosh (911 posts) -

video games and politics, fantastic

#4 Posted by Morningstar (2140 posts) -

*Gasp* indeed.

Online
#5 Posted by HoboZero (173 posts) -

To be fair, that pic of Bachman is a wee bit insane looking. Whether that was the pic she preferred or one chosen by the photographer out of many taken is another matter. But crazy-eyes nonetheless.

#6 Posted by Phatmac (5721 posts) -

Politics and games mix just as well as oil and water.

#7 Posted by ajamafalous (11848 posts) -
#8 Posted by Jumbs (233 posts) -

Politics COULD mix with games, it's just most designers treat games like they're for 16 year old halo players. One day we'll have something really decent.

#9 Posted by Scotto (1171 posts) -

@HoboZero said:

To be fair, that pic of Bachman is a wee bit insane looking. Whether that was the pic she preferred or one chosen by the photographer out of many taken is another matter. But crazy-eyes nonetheless.

To be fair, Bachmann is more than a little insane, period.

#10 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

#11 Posted by SgtSphynx (1266 posts) -

Wednesday can't come soon enough.

#12 Posted by Katkillad (142 posts) -

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

#13 Posted by packs217 (92 posts) -

Funny, I knew exactly who wrote this just by the title.

#14 Edited by AMyggen (2544 posts) -

@HoboZero said:

To be fair, that pic of Bachman is a wee bit insane looking. Whether that was the pic she preferred or one chosen by the photographer out of many taken is another matter. But crazy-eyes nonetheless.

Indeed. Had I been American I would've voted Democrat every time (and Bachmann has insane political views), but that picture was in bad taste. I guess it just shows how far Newsweek had fallen at that point with those kinds of covers (the "racist baby" cover is another pretty incredible example of this, as is "where would Diana be now had she been alive). No wonder that magazine is going online only.

edit: Patrick Klepek: I really enjoyed this article, great job!

#15 Posted by WJist (313 posts) -

@McGhee said:

THIS

Also, now I want a new Advance Wars :( :(

#16 Posted by Scotto (1171 posts) -

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

Oh... kay?

#17 Edited by Gold_Skulltulla (205 posts) -

Even more sad is that when we do get games that use politics, they're not actually about policy, they're about elections. I'm not surprised that some conservative players were able to look past the biases because there was fun gameplay. The same could be said about any group and bias, given a politically neutral playground like elections or the market. For years people have been playing online shooters where they take on the mantle of "terrorist," which is a label I doubt most players associate themselves with.

#18 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4578 posts) -

@Scotto said:

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

Oh... kay?

The staff has been pretty upfront about their political views. Granted, Jeff is the only one running for office, but their discussion on throwing people into space was one of the more honest debates on the subject I've seen in this election.

#19 Edited by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@McGhee said:

I think you got a better choice than Bush\Kerry

@jony2shoes said:

What the fuck kind of idiot votes for Romney? Jesus christ.

A Racist or someone that treats their political party like a sports team.

#20 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@McGhee said:

I think you got a better choice than Bush\Kerry

lol

#22 Posted by mnzy (2911 posts) -

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

I heard Romney doesn't really like Doom 3 BFG Edition.

#23 Posted by heatDrive88 (2268 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

@Scotto said:

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

Oh... kay?

The staff has been pretty upfront about their political views. Granted, Jeff is the only one running for office, but their discussion on throwing people into space was one of the more honest debates on the subject I've seen in this election.

#24 Posted by Kerned (1169 posts) -

@McGhee said:

I would rather vote for a sandwich than for either major party candidate. But I don't like the looks of that plunger water bottle robot.

#25 Posted by jsnyder82 (726 posts) -

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

They won't. But they live in San Francisco, so you can draw your own conclusions.

#26 Edited by forkboy (1115 posts) -

@Phatmac said:

Politics and games mix just as well as oil and water.

Nonsense. Politics can be as interesting a backdrop for video games as any other subject matter. War sucks. I hate war. I'm about one step removed from pacifism. But I really enjoying loading up Hearts of Iron 2 as Germany, building up the Wehrmacht & steamrolling the world with more tanks than you can shake a stick at. I'm also not at all a sympathiser of the far right, but a fun game is a fun game.

Politics (not necessarily elections) could well be a fascinating backdrop for a video game, & not just the satirical games that mentioned in the article. I mean politics isn't just about ideologies clashing. It involves diplomacy, espionage, brute force, knowing when to hold your ground & when to back down. If you are telling me that that doesn't leave the possibility for an intriguing video game, you're mad. It doesn't need to be based on real world politics (for example, although the game itself was a bit of a damp squib I think the idea of Republic: The Revolution being set in a former Soviet state getting to grips with independence & simultaneously democracy is a fantastic setting), think of a TV show like the remade Battlestar Galactica, which at its core was basically a political drama, despite all the fighting in space & the big killer robots. There's more obvious political drama examples in TV & film too. Are we saying that the whole Watergate scandal could not influence a potentially intriguing adventure game (for one example, I'm clearly no game designer) where you are working to uncover some huge dark conspiracy?

Theoretically at least, politics can make for a perfectly interesting video game. It's just a theme. A game about politics doesn't just need to be about the barebones of electioneering, or about partisan party politics. Ultimately politics is at heart of almost everything in human society. Set them in a fictional country, set them in a fantasy world or a sci-fi world if that's what it takes, but I can't buy the idea that politics & games don't mix man. I just can't

Also want to say, always loved that picture of Truman holding the paper declaring he'd lost. Man, how I'd yearn to live in a world where news wasn't a constant stream of "information". Even if within a week I'd be jonesing for my fix

#28 Posted by SmithCommaJohn (140 posts) -

@rebgav: @rebgav said:

@Kerned said:

@McGhee said:

I would rather vote for a sandwich than for either major party candidate. But I don't like the looks of that plunger water bottle robot.

...I'm pretty sure that's an enema applicator and a shit sandwich.

Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

#29 Edited by falling_fast (2184 posts) -

Josh Sawyer has said that Project Eternity will deal with real social issues. /semi-relevant

#30 Posted by Kerned (1169 posts) -

@rebgav: Ah ha! Well, that's a lot funnier than a plunger water bottle robot. Still, I'd rather vote for the sandwich. :)

#31 Posted by 2kings (118 posts) -

@jony2shoes said:

What the fuck kind of idiot votes for Romney? Jesus christ.

So...you're voting for Romney?

#32 Posted by fluxbit (125 posts) -

Interesting thought for an article.

What's also interesting is the contrast between Patrick's Republican/conservative volunteers and those making comments about them. The former appear reasonable and agreeable while the later are offensive and uncouth.

#33 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10471 posts) -

I love that Dewey Defeats Truman picture.

And, as always, that was a very good article Patrick.

#35 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@SmithCommaJohn said:

@rebgav: @rebgav said:

@Kerned said:

@McGhee said:

I would rather vote for a sandwich than for either major party candidate. But I don't like the looks of that plunger water bottle robot.

...I'm pretty sure that's an enema applicator and a shit sandwich.

Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

This is why political cartoons are labelled and/or annotated. That sandwich is pretty large too, if we're talking scale. God damn it cartoonists, stop sucking.

This is from South Park. It's well known enough to stand on it's own. Or I thought it was.

#36 Posted by dvorak (1496 posts) -

These long-form articles always seem really disconnected from the rest of the site.

#37 Posted by kwang2000 (51 posts) -

Patrick do religion and video games next. You could have an entire series of "what do video games mean to a current hot button/social/political issue," kind of like the stuff you see on Kotaku. Real important reporting.

#38 Posted by MrMazz (919 posts) -

@SgtSphynx said:

Wednesday can't come soon enough.

Word.

It is really annoying to get about 10 calls a day normally after 5 with either a poller, a robot, or someone trying to get me to vote for them. Also the junk mail is annoying. Seriously political adds need to step up their game.

#39 Posted by Veiasma (194 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@jony2shoes said:

What the fuck kind of idiot votes for Romney? Jesus christ.

A Racist or someone that treats their political party like a sports team.

Such tolerance for opposing viewpoints. Thanks for being part of the problem!

#41 Posted by GalacticPunt (1023 posts) -

@forkboy said:

Also want to say, always loved that picture of Truman holding the paper declaring he'd lost. Man, how I'd yearn to live in a world where news wasn't a constant stream of "information". Even if within a week I'd be jonesing for my fix

The joy of the internet age is that reporters can get things wrong faster, and be mocked by Photoshoppers with lightning speed!
#42 Posted by sissylion (679 posts) -

@Katkillad said:

If this website endorses a candidate i'm done.

On the Bombcast that came out the week after the 2008 election, all of them essentially said that it was a good thing that Obama won. They sort of already have.

#43 Posted by Lurkero (380 posts) -

Since politics is so subjective it is difficult to put it into a game and make it seem fair. The player would be competing against a randomizer at every step since computer algorithms hold no political views and have no emotions...yet. I would say that the political machine is safe from too much competition.

#44 Posted by TMBaker (230 posts) -

Ice Cube knows what's up

#45 Posted by FengShuiGod (1478 posts) -

"and concludes with the choice between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on November 6."

Oh thanks, I didn't know there were only two candidates running for office.

#46 Posted by Trylks (826 posts) -

tl;dr I don't care so much about pre-election politics or american politics.

However, it would be great, IMHO, if a game like Sim City (or similar simulators) allowed to test different politics and see how they work. Actually, it is possible, but a little more of realism, depth and freedom wrt the decisions to make and which decisions to make would be good.

Am I the only one on this?

#47 Posted by eshchan (47 posts) -

I consider Alpha Centauri the best political game I've ever played. But I mostly play as communist or university and didn't have a lot of luck playing as tree hugger or peace keeper...

#48 Posted by kwang2000 (51 posts) -

@dvorak said:

These long-form articles always seem really disconnected from the rest of the site.

These articles don't fit because unlike the rest of the site, they try way too hard to make video games "relevant" to greater societal issues. Pretending that chintzy seasonal games like Political Machine are important cultural lampoons doesn't actually make them important cultural lampoons; it just makes you look like a douche.

Here's a free idea for a followup article that is just as shallow and silly: How those Burger King adver-games comment on childhood obesity in America. Mail me a check if you use it.

#49 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@Veiasma said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@jony2shoes said:

What the fuck kind of idiot votes for Romney? Jesus christ.

A Racist or someone that treats their political party like a sports team.

Such tolerance for opposing viewpoints. Thanks for being part of the problem!

Romney has been nothing but a liar and flip flops of the issue of the day. Has the past of a heartless business man. Sorry I forgot to put idiot after racist.

#50 Posted by lazerbot (13 posts) -

@Trylks said:

tl;dr I don't care so much about pre-election politics or american politics.

However, it would be great, IMHO, if a game like Sim City (or similar simulators) allowed to test different politics and see how they work. Actually, it is possible, but a little more of realism, depth and freedom wrt the decisions to make and which decisions to make would be good.

Am I the only one on this?

I think that's a fascinating idea. It could really cause you to think about how you build your city as far as how many parks you have, how much funding you give to the police, how much regulation you put on factories to protect the environment, its endless. Sim City already kind of does that, in that your politics may play a role in how YOU build your city, but if the citizens start to have their own political feelings and you need to try and please them instead of just acting as a demi-god, that would be interesting.