Real, Weirdo Video Games Starring The 2020 Presidential Candidates
Most of the remaining 2020 presidential candidates were already deep in the throes of their midlife crises when Pong released, but that doesn't mean they haven't connected to the modern video game landscape in some profound(ly insane) ways. Time for us to drop into gaming's deepest, lamest, weirdest corners. Such as how ...
Bernie's Got A Flash Game And An Indie RPG
Back in 2006, you were probably wasting your time playing some bullshit like Twilight Princess or Gears Of War, when instead you could have been playing a game featuring America's favorite corporation-hating, healthcare-loving, gravel-voiced Jewish grandpa. Not that long ago, CNN reporter Nathan McDermott discovered that Bernie Sanders' 2006 Senate campaign website included a hilariously odd flash game of Bernie flying a plane and shooting "facts" at his enemies. Enemies include "the extreme right-wing," "fat cats" (represented as literal cats), and "mudslingers," which are buckets that have hands and chuck shit.
Sanders can power up with either hydrogen (you know, because it's an alternative energy source) or scrolls that let him shoot facts even faster. If he gets hit, he simply says "Disastrous!" The cleverest aspect is how the game actually penalizes you for trying to acquire cash. Flying into a bag of "Big Money" immediately kills you, in a kind of brilliant inversion of everything games have taught us over the years.
But that's old news, and these days Sanders has a somewhat higher profile. As such, there's currently an RPG in development called Bernie's Journey. It managed to raise almost $3,000 on Kickstarter back in 2016, but designer Gerald Smith (who describes himself as a "HARDCORE Gamer" who is "also an Underground Hip Hop artist Name Nekro G") is evidently still tweaking the game about his "hero" to make sure it's absolutely perfect.
The game's extended development is clearly starting to show, as it's apparently about "battling Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton." But to be fair, it's probably taking so long because the world map includes over 50 freaking cities for Bernie to travel to.
There haven't been any updates since June, but we're going to cut Gerald some slack, as it's probably super hard to make a game that's "both educational, and at the same time absolutely funny." Not to mention, since the Kickstarter made over $2,000, he is now obligated to add a "Holy Wars Expansion" wherein Bernie will "fly to the Vatican, recruit the Pope, and journey to hell to battle Satan."
You know, maybe the Prince of Darkness himself is holding up development. Thoughts and prayers, Gerald!
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Joe Biden Is A Secret Boss In A Horror Game
Cry Of Fear is a 2013 survival horror game that began life as a Half-Life mod, but eventually got a standalone release that's received very positive reviews on Steam. It's basically Silent Hill, if Silent Hill included a rotating cube of Joe Biden's face that instantly kills you when touched. It's kind of like how the real Biden touches other people and instantly causes them to vote for someone else.
The cube is only discoverable in co-op, and it's hidden pretty well -- which makes sense, since it's a joke created solely to give Leslie Knope nightmares. It's obviously an absurd Easter egg rather than, like, a serious reimagining of Pyramid Head with Uncle Joe's svelte body or something. Another Easter egg replaces a boss with an invisible enemy that shoots Biden Cubes at your face. The only way to kill the boss is to track its Joe projectiles back to their source (Delaware, presumably).
It sort of makes you wonder if the developers have something against the man, or if video games can sometimes be sort of stupid, maybe. Cry Of Fear fans instantly embraced the Biden madness, and some of the more dedicated enthusiasts created a mod that replaces another boss with a deformed Biden monster. So maybe it's no surprise that Biden believes game developers are "little creeps." Although he might have a better opinion of them if he'd played this much more pleasant game about him riding a scooter and collecting ice cream.
Then again, the slurping sound it makes as Joe rolls over ice cream is ... unnerving.
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Andrew Yang Is Basically A Mobile Game Genre
While recent primary dropout Andrew Yang may not have fully captured the love of the American public, he has profoundly captured the love of garbage mobile game developers. The Android and Apple stores have tons Yang Gang Yang games. There are endless runners (because he was "running" for president, get it?) like Yang: Race For The Presidency 2020, wherein you "help yourself to $100 bank notes" and "bolt through hordes of self-driving cars bogging down Pennsylvania Avenue on the way to the White House" or Andrew Yang Run, in which players "look forward and help Andrew Yang make America think harder."
There are Yang tower defense games like Andrew Yang's Defense, where players "protect, defend and help Andrew Yang spread the word of Universal Basic Income."
Hell, there's even a Flappy Bird clone named after a sex act we've definitely tried and are good at, Flappy Yang.
The only thing these games truly have in common is that they look like hot trash and often allow players to "shoot the Trump in the face with that sweet, sweet universal pay."
Speaking of Yang fighting Trump, one (non-mobile) developer distilled the concept into a hilariously awful fighting game demo featuring the two slowly, awkwardly beating the shit out of each other.
When AI Trump isn't busy standing motionless for five seconds at a time. Maybe he's tweeting.
Somehow that demo became popular enough the developer expanded it to a full Dragon Ball Z-style fighting game about Yang battling other candidates, like Bernie, Warren, and ... Joe Rogan?
Its peak clownishness comes via Yang's strategy for winning in the game, which is the same as in real life: throwing money at things.
Presumably all these developers support Yang because of his passion for protecting workers against the inevitable robot takeover of the crappy Yang-based mobile game industry.
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Mike Gravel's Second Life / Kirby Neighborhood Drama
For those with a healthy social life, the game Second Life gives players a literal (albeit virtual) world of their own. It's less a game than a simulation in which players do whatever the hell they want. It's basically for people who find The Sims and Minecraft too spicy. Mike Gravel has already dropped out of the race (honestly, racing of any kind is probably a bad idea, given that he's 89), but his attempt to establish the first official presidential candidate headquarters in Second Life back in 2007 is a fascinating tale of vandalism, racism, and ... Kirby?
The headquarters building itself was pretty impressive and thought-out, with displays featuring links to important websites, and even a conference room with in-game informational packets. Outside was an even larger meeting area, with a huge phallic monument like you'd find in real-life D.C.
The guy in charge of all of this was called Astrophysicist McCallister. Like, that's the literal name on his office, and the name he used in interviews. Stupid names is an important theme which we'll revisit. For example, since Gravel was running such a low-budget campaign, he refused to pay to use his real name. So Gravel's avatar went by "Smike Graves."
Everything was rolling perfectly smoothly -- if poorly named -- until somebody placed a sign featuring Hitler and accusing Kirby of "hating our troops" outside a Second Life establishment called the "Kirby Avatar Emporium." Gaming sites quickly reported that an intern for a U.S. senator was involved.
The senator turned out to be Gravel, and the vandal wasn't an intern, but a campaign volunteer named Lego -- short for Legoean Ferraris. (The greatest name Tolkien never thought up.) Apparently, Lego wanted to build an office from which he could manage the Second Life presences of various politicians, and he believed the goofiness of the nearby Kirby Emporium would damage his business prospects. Lego complained to the owner of the region, one IntLibber Brautigan, and demanded that he repurchase Lego's shitty land. Brautigan not only refused, but blamed Lego's Kirby hatred on racism, because ... Kirby is so ethnically ambiguous, we guess?
Lego failed to sell the land to anybody else and proved Brautigan's instinct's correct with an insane scheme lifted straight from an Always Sunny In Philadelphia episode. To be clear, Gravel himself had absolutely nothing to do with this madness. Due to early onset being-almost-90, it's highly unlikely he's even capable of understanding what went down. But it does probably explain why Gravel is also the last presidential candidate to have an official Second Life presence.
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Modders Adore Trump
We already know there's a certain type of hacker who loves Trump, but there is also an entire other subspecies out there that loves putting the big man into their favorite games. One surprisingly solid website called Trumptendo showcases programmer Jeff Hong's painstaking Trump mods of famous NES games. There's Donkey Trump, Donald Trump's Urban Champion, and Donald Trump's Punch-Out!!.
Naturally, most of these games swap Trump with the villain -- like in Super Bernie Bros., where Sanders becomes a Mario stand-in and must save Peach from Trump's pussy-grabbers. An exception is, uh, ISIS Bomberman, where players control a member of ISIS trying to bomb Trump to death. We're not sure if that's the most effective way for Hong to achieve his stated goal of "bringing awareness to important social and environmental issues," but ... it is pretty fun.
But even those admittedly impressive efforts pale in comparison to the absurd amount of work that's gone into games like Fake News Covfefe, a simple but technologically sophisticated game about a giant flying Trump head destroying buildings by spitting Twitter logos at them.
Even more epic is that it's sold as an actual, functioning NES cartridge in a realistic Nintendo-style box with a full manual.
And he even went through the trouble of making all of this compatible with real N64 consoles, which is a Herculean feat. He is clearly an extremely talented and dedicated developer, and it's also clear from his YouTube channel that he's pretty into all this Deep State rabbit hole stuff. But will that stop us from chasing down Jared Kushner in Goldenhair 007? No. No, it will not.
Jordan Breeding also writes for a whole mess of other people, the Twitter, and the Deep State.
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