Instead of spending my free time periodically checking to see if the world is burning (like I've been doing since the US election), I thought a cathartic game of politics might help. Power Politics is a game that simulates the 1992 presidential election with a wealth of options that makes you question what a politician's priorities actually are.
Like a lot of games of this type, Power Politics demands a concentration and an ingrained understanding of the subject matter. The inner workings of American politics are not really a talking point for the average British person (unless someone like Donald Trump is elected). All this hoo-ha about the Electoral College and the popular vote seems frankly weird from my perspective. Our country, for all its faults, appears to have a little less oligarchy hidden in its representative democracy. Theoretically, third parties can actually have a chance of at least gaining a seat in the House of Lords. It is my understanding that the Green Party will never be represented in the US government.
Anyway, enough of that. Let's talk about the game before I expose more of how little I actually know about politics. You begin by selecting a Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates and whether or not they are computer controlled or not. All of the usual suspects are here, including many presidents throughout history. In fact, I'm reliably informed that it includes every potential candidate from 1960 onwards, with about 5 I actually recognise.
You'll then have to plan in a lot of detail what will actually happen during your campaign. Do you fundraise or hold rallies? And what state should you even do it in? It even goes so far as to ask you what to do in each major town of each state and what to focus on in adverts and debates. Once you've set you're plan for the week, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. You can plan every minutiae of your trip, even going so far as hiring a spin doctor if you're not doing too well. The choice of publicists vary in quality, whether it be someone who does little more than read tea leaves, or a powehouse who boasts that he can re-elect a dead man.
There's a surprising amount of detail to take into consideration. Each candidate has their stance on 13 hot topics ranging from education and civil rights to gun control and the death penalty. These views can be used against them in an advertising campaign or you can just use some dirty tricks to win. You can bribe a newspaper editor, accept illegal campaign contributions, attack your opponent's moral character and even stoop so low as to spead false rumours. Sound familiar?
The layout is fairly simple. You plan your days through a series of statistics and drop-down menus. It's not exactly hard to figure out, even if the data itself is. I basically lead my campaign randomly, without much thought for tactics. There's still a lot of room for those interested enough to go deeper into it, particularly when analysing stances and advertising, but I was simply not invested enough to take the time to understand it fully. It's not helped by the bare-bones graphics that shares its appearance with something like Quicken or other database programs. It's functional but not flamboyant.
Simply put, Power Politics is a massive 'what if?' machine. How much enjoyment you'll get out of it depends solely on how invested you are in politics, let alone the politics of another country.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.
Power Politics is © Randy Chase & Cineplay InteractiveReview, Cover Design and Installer created by me