The Reelect JFK wiki last edited by BurningStickMan on 02/22/14 11:30PM View full history

Overview

Reelect JFK has players controlling President Kennedy from November, 1963 to Election Day in 1964. The player only plays one day from each of the 50 weeks of this term. Gameplay is progressed through meetings, at the end of which the player must make a decision that will affect the progress of that cause (Civil Rights, Vietnam, or Reelection), as well as the player's approval rating at home and abroad. Some days are also taken up completely by crisis meetings, which the player must attend. Other special considerations, like whistle-stop tours and national budget allocations, must also be addressed at points throughout the year.

When not in meetings, the player can send President Kennedy throughout the White House, in a first-person adventure interface, or out into the field to collect clues. The President often takes the guise of fictitious reporter "Kevin Bruderman" during these sequences, allowing him to dodge the Secret Service and be placed directly in harm's way.

The game ends if the player is killed (usually while exploring an area), or if they fail to secure the Democratic nomination in August.

Gameplay

Each of the 50 days has eight hours of time available to the player (tracked by an in-game clock at center-left). Time is measured per action, and only passes when the player clicks on something. Reading evidence may take a short amount of time off the clock, while travel may shave hours. Meetings eat up a large amount of time, and the mandatory crisis meetings will leave the player with a significantly shortened day.

At the top-left of the interface are bars measuring Kennedy's popularity at home and around the world. The player's decisions affect these directly. Low approval ratings, or diminished respect overseas, will cause the player to be voted out of office in November. The player also gets a snapshot of reactions to that day's major decisions in the form of an evening paper at the end of each day. Some decisions will boost one meter while lowering the other, and these naturally must be balanced.

Four buttons run along the bottom of the interface, and may be clicked to initiate meetings. Each topic has a set "path" of meetings that must be followed for successful completion. From left to right, these buttons are Vietnam, Civil Rights, Reelection, and the Assassination Plot.

Vietnam

The player will meet with various Generals and the Chiefs of Staff regarding important policy decisions for the Vietnam war. Hindsight is not allowed, so the player must make decisions based on the politics of the time. Pulling troops out early, or losing major conflicts, will significantly lower the player's approval ratings.

Civil Rights

The player will meet with heads of both sides of the issue and try to mediate a compromise. Bearing in mind that the Civil Rights Act was still considered a somewhat radically progressive measure, the player will not be able to simply bully it through Congress, and must deal with damaging political actions made by frustrated parties on both sides of an extremely heated and sensitive issue.

Reelection

The player will formulate their campaign over the course of these meetings, determining policy to promote, campaign slogans, and whether to run aggressive attack ads. Throughout the game the player will also get the ability to travel around the country for town hall meetings, and is encouraged to tailor his specific speeches to the issues of that city (with clues given in the evening paper).

Assassination Plot

As the Attorney General, Bobby is in charge of bringing the plotters of the botched assassination to justice. As the player makes progress in their investigation, Bobby can be called to indict names, share evidence, and build the case. Note that the assassination methods and reasons in the game are completely fictitious, and major real-life players (like Lee Harvey Oswald) are not included.

When not in a meeting, the player can choose to leave his desk at the Oval Office and burn hours by investigating in the field. A phone at Kennedy's desk can be used to call numbers of witnesses or leads, and a car can take the player around Washington or to the airport. If the player is making progress in the investigation, they may be able to set up a few days in Dallas to snoop around as well. Witnesses can be intimidated or lied to, suspects spied on from the bushes, or the CIA's email hacked from a vacuum tube computer in a secret room in the White House - whatever it takes to find the culprits.

Ultimately, the player's sole goal is to get reelected in '64. Progress down any single path only matter towards (hopefully) raising public opinion in time for the Democratic primary.

Presentation

The game uses a combination of full-motion-video and computer-generated locations. Generally, all meetings are FMV, and all investigation locations are CG. Players use a point-and-click interface to transition from one still scene to the next. All dialogue is spoken, and all historical figures (including both Kennedys) are voiced by impersonators.

Reception

"REEL31CB" app crash

Reelect JFK won Macworld's RPG Game of the Year for 1995.

A possible manufacturing error (believed to be present in copies marked version 1.1 in the game's "About" screen) has created copies of the game that are unsolvable.

An interview with the game's programmer Jerry Seeger, taken via JustGamesRetro:

"There was a quick succession of three versions, and the second of those three was not solvable and was not supposed to be released.

"Unluckily, I think you got one of those copies. There's a switch in some conversation somewhere that isn't getting set. As I sit here I wonder if it might be possible to edit a save file to trigger Sam Nelson walking into your office, but without the original source code there's no hope of me figuring that out. There's a zero in that file somewhere that should be a one.

"So now you can shake your fist at the ceiling, whack your head on the keyboard, stare at the box for a moment or two, slowly shaking your head, and quietly curse Viking Entertainment and, well, me. Still I'm glad you found the game compelling enough to keep trying, and even to fire up again after all these years."

Copies of the game have also been reported to have glitches and game-freezing bugs, including fading audio and skipped scenes. No patches are available, and no external method is available to see what version a particular disk or package is.

System Requirements

*QuickTime 2.X must be used, as the game will not run on modern versions of QuickTime.

PC

  • Win 3.1; 486/33 Mhz processor with 4MB RAM (8MB recommended)
  • Double-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 640x480x8bit color monitor and video card
  • 8-bit sound card
  • 2 MB minimum install QuickTime 2.0 (included on CD)
  • Mouse

Macintosh

  • System 7.0.1; 68030 microprocessor with 5MB RAM (8MB recommended)
  • 640x480x8-bit color monitor
  • Double-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 2 MB minimum install QuickTime 2.0 (included on CD)
  • Mouse

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.