Friday, August 24, 2012

Facebook Game Review: Campaign Story

One computer game I remember from my youth was "President Elect," which allowed the player to take on the role of a political candidate for the White House. Since then, election games have continued to come up every four years, though I never did buy another. Recently, one came out for Facebook: "Campaign Story," billed as "the first political Facebook game where you run your own political campaign." It is made by Five One Nine Games.

The selling point of the game is the chance to run for office with the option of "Play Clean or Play Dirty." Indeed when your candidate starts his/her first election, you're greeted by a pol from your party whom expresses hope you'll be a refreshing change from the politician you're up against who's known for his dirty tricks.

Starting out, you're given a selection of several appearances to choose from, male and female. You're also asked your candidate's name, the symbol he/she will be using (Democrat, Republican, or one of several others), and the slogan. You'll also be asked if you'll be playing as a liberal, conservative, or moderate, though I have yet to see how this affects gameplay.

Your first election is one for mayor of a city. You're given some guidance for the first several moves. The map shows your appeal in various places, from welcoming to hostile. Canvassers from your staff can be placed on the map to speak directly to the people about your candidate and make some gains in the polls. Fundraisers can be placed to raise money.

The news board shows events that have an effect on the election, such as reports of declining industry or rising crime rates, as well as statements (lies) by your opponent against you. By spending Influence points, you can act on an issue. You can then have your staff promote your efforts for votes. But your opponent will usually make some response, more often than not by using cheap shots. You can respond by either defending your move, or by going negative yourself. Positive moves are shown as white angel wings while attacks are shown as red devil horns.

Different staff have different roles. Press Secretaries issue press releases and hold press conferences. Researchers dig up facts and figures to fight off attacks from your opponent, or dig up dirt for attacks of your own. Speech writers can help make  your candidate sound more intelligent on issues. Image consultants can help polish an image after an opponents smear campaign, or set up photo-ops to promote your candidate.

Gameplay has your candidate starting out low in the polls, with your actions making the numbers swing to your favor. Once your approval rating reaches 51%, the game declares you the winner on election day. Following your victory as mayor, your next campaign is for state senate. This election is a bit more detailed, taking place across four maps, and four regions of news issues and opponent's responses. As you win, you'll go up the political ladder, with elections for Governor, US Senator, and eventually the Presidency.

Campaign Story is a new game to Facebook, launched only last week, so there may be some changes to it as time goes on. As the real-life election makes the news, it's an interesting way to make gamers think a little about what goes on in winning races in the real world, and what it takes.

Unlike certain Facebook games, it doesn't ask to make posts to your friends (yet). So Facebook has done what to some would seem impossible: make politics a subject less annoying than many others, at least with games.

Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. For the past couple days, the game's been unplayable. Not sure what's wrong, but I expect it will be back soon.