Malik  (6/3//04)

For Those Who Like Playing Evil Characters

As first brought to my attention by, it looks like Ubisoft is trying their luck with a slightly out of the norm game genre.  Ubisoft plans to bring the American audience, sometime mid-summer (2004), a game based on the presidential campaign of Bush vs. Kerry.  The Political Machine, as this game is called, will allow players to control the campaigns of Bush, Kerry, a custom made candidate, or select historical politicians, such as Reagan.  This will allow you to participate on reality based (but not quite real) news programs like "60 Seconds", to choose a running mate, or take part in debates.

On an interesting side-note, the people at Ubisoft have tried out the game with the current politicians acting as they have been acting for the last...damn, how long has this awful excuse for a presidential campaign gone on...well, too many months, and found that Bush will (in theory...The Political Machine's theory) go down in flames.

Considering this game is being brought to us by Ubisoft, the masters who brought us Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, and my old flame, Beyond Good and Evil, I think they have the best chance of any company to bring us something so different as The Political Machine.  It sounds like they've been putting a lot of time and effort into this venture (they had this game planned for the 2000 presidential elections), so there is some promise. 

I just have the concern that with how the campaign season has been going (I don't like to endorse or condemn any political beliefs and I like to remain neutral in these matters when I voice my opinion...but Kerry and Bush are about the most idiotic candidates we Americans have seen as the front-liners for...well, probably forever), no one is going to care, even if the game is actually good.  Maybe, considering how close the campaigning is this year, this is the ideal time for such an innovative strategy game, but close candidates and interesting candidates are two very different things altogether.  By the way, I said innovative because I actually played this game during the 1988 elections on my Commodore 64 (called "Campaign Manager").  However, since this genre has not been seen in a mainstream method like Ubisoft is presenting it, I guess one can call it innovative.  Even though I doubt I'd ever buy (or even try) The Political Machine, I can't help but hope for Ubisoft to succeed just because they have been doing so damned good in the last year or two.

I guess this is the perfect game for people who like strategy elements and like to play the slightly less than moral characters (maybe Tommy Verceti can run for president as a custom character...maybe The Political Machine will be worth a rental).