SimCandidate

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I've been a Sim City fan for a long time, dating back to the days of Super Nintendo. The games are great fun, despite the frustration of built-in anti-libertarian bias: you're mayor for life (actually for all eternity) without electoral challenges, zoning is a must, and citizens are woefully incapable of independent thought and action. But hey, if SimCitizens could do everything for themselves, it wouldn't be much of a game.

Anyway, my interest was piqued when I flipped through the L.A. Weekly at lunch today and found this review of a game that lets you pretend to be a presidential candidate in the 2004 election and several historical elections. There's a Canadian version, too. I'm downloading this as soon as I get home, definitely. Here's the link: President Forever 2004.

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  1. There’s actually a goodly bunch of U.S. presidential campaign games coming. There’s President Forever, which is already out. Then there’s Political Machine, which looks the most like a polished, big-money title, Power Politics 3 from Randy Chase, the man who made Power Politics and Doonesbury: Election Game in 1992 and 1996, respectively, and Frontrunner.

  2. Hanah,

    “citizens are woefully incapable of independent thought and action. But hey, if SimCitizens could do everything for themselves, it wouldn’t be much of a game.”

    You mean you’ve never made them riot?

  3. Libertarian SimCity wouldn’t be a game, it’d be a screen saver. ;>

  4. What used to gall me about the original SimCity was the incredible prejudice toward public transportation: it was impossible to solve the transportation problems of a decent-sized city unless you ripped up all the roads and replaced them with rails. How people were supposed to get large items like sofas or fridges from store to home, I never could figure out.

  5. Heh. I got so frustrated with my city that I triggered every single disaster, hurricane, tornado, riots, and even the Monster. This left my city aflame and in ruins, since the tornado had destroyed the fire dept and the Monster took out the police station. It was a human catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

    And 33% of the citizens were still complaining about the traffic!

  6. I had a presidential campaign game for my C-64 back in the late ’80s and early ’90s (can’t remember the title of it, unfortunately). I was able to pretty much correctly forecast the 1988 election with it (as I recall, it got 46 out of 50 states correct), but it flopped in 1992, predicting a victory for Bush. (Under the game’s mechanics, Perot’s pro-labor stance hurt Clinton more than his anti-deficit position hurt Bush.)

  7. I had one for my Apple computer years (like 20 of em) ago. It was fun. I remember one time the computer said that Mondale lost a debate to the Libertarian candidate. Big cheers and laughs!

  8. I played Sim City on my BBC Micro. (One of the most popular home computers in 1980s Britain was sold with the BBC’s branding, and was accompanied with TV programmes.) Sim City was a super game, except that when you had a big city and set low taxes, the people all hated you.

  9. Don’t get me wrong – I love being Gary Nolan – but no Russo, no Badnarik?

  10. You want a blowout in President Forever, just run Colin Powell against Al Sharpton. Sharpton got 3 electoral college votes (D.C., of couse).
    Ripped him up. 585 out of 588 electoral votes.

    Playing the current election is much tougher. Took me six or seven times to beat Kerry.

  11. I don’t think I understand the game much. Then again I’m trying the demo, dunno how much difference there is…

  12. Back when I played SimCity on the Super Nintendo, I would just lay down a few things to start – roads, rails, zones, etc… – and then go for lunch. If I left it on for a few hours, I would get back and find that I had won the game.

  13. Papya, I’ve never had any problems meeting the traffic needs with a mix of roads and transit. In fact, if you were using rail-only designs, you’d must have gone broke!

    If you zone everything low density, you can get away with just roads. It’s when you zone for highrises that you need some transit – and that’s a pretty good simulation of reality.

  14. I never used that program. I always figured it was something like Planet of the Apes, Simian City, something like that.

  15. ” had a presidential campaign game for my C-64 back in the late ’80s and early ’90s (can’t remember the title of it, unfortunately). I was able to pretty much correctly forecast the 1988 election with it (as I recall, it got 46 out of 50 states correct), but it flopped in 1992, predicting a victory for Bush”

    I think you’re thinking of Nelson Hernadez’s “President Elect.” It was published in ’84 and ’88 by S.S.I. and was available first on the C-64 and Apple II. If I’m remembering right, they also offered a DOS version of the ’98 version.

    It was only after they confirmed that they weren’t releasing a version for the ’92 campaign that I started working on the original version of Power Politics.

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