The Political Machine

It”s fun, it’s amazing. Believe me.


Bush Jr. and his million dollar smile.

Politics. Can any subject be more divisive and emotionally charged? Perhaps, but the general vicious nature of political debates might be what lead game developers to steer way. Either that, or they’ve thought that managing a political campaign might be a subject too boring to simulate in the first place. We’ve seen some loose attempts at integrating politics into gameplay – Tropico, Patrician 2, Republic: The Revolution. They’re all very interesting, but none offer the kind of experience you get with The Political Machine, which steps forth as the first computer game attempting to simulate the rabble-rousing circus of the US electoral system.

This game puts you in the role of campaign manager, and winning the White House is your ultimate goal. You choose or design your Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, and to give them certain advantages, you can choose from a large number of attributes including Experience, Credibility, Comeliness, and Charisma. You choose their sex (“Mistress†or “Internâ€) and you’re ready to hit the campaign trail.

The game uses a United States map, and different states will have different attitudes on certain issues. Based on your party affiliation and its issues, you’ll need to decide which states to court and which to let slide, remembering that it’s really all about the electoral college, where earning the support of delegates is more important than pandering to the American people. Winning a state takes into account four variables: your presence, political party, position on the issues, and that all-too-elusive term “characterâ€.

6Fundraising is crucial, so you’ll build headquarters in various places that will attract operatives to keep the dollars rolling in for expenditures like advertising and smear campaigns, and to keep the candidate on the road for speeches and TV appearances on shows like “Night Time with Fred Toppel,†“The O’Malley Factor,†“60 Seconds,†and “Barry King Live.†It might not be the most engaging strategy game ever made, but if you’re up to the task then The Political Machine will let you run wild with donation dollars in your heroic bid for the White House. Believe me.

System Requirements: Pentium 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Win98

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