Saturday, 21 November 2020

United States Presidential Race - America Daitoryo Senkyo (NES)

 Here's a rare bit of topicality from this blog, even though it is a couple of weeks late: a game about getting elected to the presidency of the USA, which coincidentally had a translation patch released just as an actual election was taking place in that country in real life. Unfortunately, it's one of those super-abstract stat-manipulation strategy games, and like I said in my review of Graduation, I just don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing or how, so I haven't been able to get particularly far in this one.


I've made a couple of attempts at playing this game, but every time, I get knocked out of the race by scoring fewer than fifteen percent of votes in two consecutive primaries. The way the game works is that you pick a candidate and an assistant, then you go and campaign in primaries, one state at a time. Campaigning means picking three out of several screen's worth of issues, and deciding how far left or right you want to lean on those issues. Then you can decide how many speeches you want to give during the campaign, as well as spending money on opinion polls and TV ad campaigns. I guess the secret to success is figuring out exactly which issues are important to each state, and which direction the people there want you to go in on each issue.


I was actually surprised when I started playing at how specific the politics in the game are. There's three candidates each for Republicans and Democrats, and the Republicans have traits like "Televangelist" and "Anti-Communist", while Democrats have traits like "Liked by unions" and "Black". And the little left/right slider you use when setting policies is actually labelled Democrat and Republican at the left and right ends, respectively. Going in, I'd expected a much more abstract kind of politics, where you just had to manage your campaign budget, maybe avoid randomly-occuring scandals, and so on.


I guess I'll have to say what I always say regarding these games: if you have the patience to figure out how the whole thing works, and get far into it, then it seems like it has a lot to offer. But I can't, so it's just a bunch of boring numbers and a few well-drawn character portraits to me.

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