Political Icon 2004

I am working on an alpha version of my Flash game, Political Icon 2004, which should appear here shortly.
My game works a little differently than other “political campaign” games I know of. And those I know of are:

If I’ve missed any let me know so I can make a complete list.

Political Icon 2004 is as much a political critique of politics as it is a campaign game. From what I can tell, most campaign games are essentially campaign simulations, designed to model the election system. To that end they reify political ideologies and issues, and reinforce traditional party politics. Is it really that interesting to play a Republican who is strong on the environment?
My game is more of a politics role playing game. The mechanics are adapted from sim dating games (there are several examples on New Grounds — many are Not Safe For Work) where your character has limited time, energy, and cash. In dating games, you must raise your attributes — like strength or personality — in order to get the cute girl. In PI2004, your attributes are Personality, Politics, and Popularity.
Most of the strategy in the above political games involves choosing which states to fight for and what tactics you will use. There are no states in PI2004, mostly because I want it to be a game about politics on an abstract level, not about the national Presidential election. While a political game about running for President might be fun, it really goes for the throat. Where are the local elections? Can you run for mayor, or governor, or senate instead? A strong enough simulation system should be able to do this — and in fact I think it is vital if you want to make a “game” out of politics.
PI2004 also doesn’t have political parties or traditional issues. Issues are instead indicated by graphical icons which can mean whatever you want them to mean. Debate is a matter of choosing icons that are appropriate to the question, truly a glass bead game.
Well, I’ll write more about this later. I welcome input on other political games of this type.

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12 Responses to “Political Icon 2004”
  1. Brandon says:

    Yes, Dean for America is a political game for a real political campaign. I’m looking for campaign simluation games, where the primary focus isn’t on persuasion or invigoration, but on running a campaign as some dream candidate.
    That said, I have problems with Dean for America because it offers little more than branding. It is a politician game more than a political game.

  2. Fair enough :-) I look forward to seeing the results of you work

  3. Ian Bogost says:

    Cool! Look forward to seeing it. I’m happy to say that I’m also working on a new political game that will launch this month.
    As for the Dean for Iowa Game, you’re right that it was not political qua policy; however, it was very much political qua process, which is what the campaign requested and commissioned.
    Anyway, let me know when PI2004 is ready!

  4. In case you hadn’t seen this, I an blogged it over at watercooler
    President Forever 2004
    Appears to be more like what you’re looking for

  5. of course, then I noticed your reply to Ian’s post :-)

  6. Randy Chase says:

    The Political Machine is designed by Brad Wardell and published by StarDock. (And being distributed by Ubi Soft.)
    I’m looking forward to seeing what your doing. Keep me posted and good luck with your project.

  7. Good political games are hard to come by. I like this game LiberalOpoly from Poligames. Its the best example of partisan politics and how they secure votes and money from the special intrest groups. http://www.LiberalOpoly.com

  8. Good political games are hard to come by. Inter active computer games are great but I like the political flash shows like the one done by JibJab.com. If your into the traditional board games, I like LiberalOpoly from Poligames. Its the best example of partisan politics and how they secure votes and money from the special intrest groups. http://www.LiberalOpoly.com

  9. There’s not enough GOOD political games out there. As for as computer games, I prefer the FLASH shows like the one created from JibJab.com. If board games are more your style, I’d definitly recommend LiberalOpoly by Poligames. Its the best example of partisan politics and how they receive votes and money from various special interest groups.

  10. Craig says:

    I agree. I’ve played both President Forever 2004 and Political Machine, and they’re interesting in terms of running a hypothetical campaign, but I feel like electioneering is only a small part of politics. I would love to see an original, open-ended game with lawmaking, statesmanship, political deal-making, and just an overall simulation of government operation.

  11. Brandon says:

    Craig’s comment reminds me that I always intended to write up a critique of the various political campaign games. I should also finish up the last 20% of the Political Icon game. Soon, soon.