Video Games Get Political This Election Season (Video)
With the Republican National Convention now in full swing and the Democratic National Convention in the wings, several video game companies are taking this opportunity to encourage gamers of all ages to get out and vote.
Epic Games’ Chair Entertainment Studio, makers of the bestselling Infinity Blade franchise that has earned nearly $50 million in under two years, has released the free-to-play iOS game VOTE!!! The fighting game allows gamers to choose a 3D cartoonish Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and duke it out with assorted playful weapons for high scores and votes.
In a first for the games industry, players can register to vote for the 2012 election through an in-game voter registration link through Rock the Vote. In addition to Rock the Vote, Chair and Epic Games have also teamed with Video Game Voters Network and Project Vote Smart to provide easy access to informative, real-world voter resources where gamers can register to vote, learn more about the candidates and issues, and become more informed about the election process. A portion of the proceeds will go to Rock the Vote to support their efforts encouraging voter registration among young voters.
“VOTE!!! is everything a great game should be – challenging, rewarding, super fun – and players will find themselves laughing the entire time,” said Donald Mustard, Creative Director, Chair Entertainment. “We’re excited to join forces with Rock the Vote to help emphasize the importance of voter registration and encourage gamers to become more involved in the political process.”
The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch game runs on Unreal Engine 3 technology, which also powers the Gears of War and Batman: Arkham City franchises. This differentiates the free-to-play experience, which offers detailed backdrops like the White House front lawn, the Oval Office and a debate stage.
Throughout the tongue-in-cheek romp, gamers dress their candidate of choice in comedic outfits and equip them with a variety of fun and iconic items like an ice cream cone or a Statue of Liberty light saber. Players use their skills to unlock score boosters as they battle for votes. Earned votes are then awarded to the candidate of the player’s choice as they watch the results tracked in real-time, worldwide.
In essence, since the game utilizes the Infinity Blade Clash Mob online technology, VOTE!!! could offer a different perspective on which candidate is more popular as November approaches. Voters will likely choose their candidate as their fighter and as they duke it out for votes, a running tally will track popularity. Given that the game is free and should reach a mainstream audience, this data will offer an interesting take in comparison to the endless number of political polls that flood media around election time.
French game publisher Ubisoft is exploring the American Revolution with its much-anticipated action adventure game, Assassin’s Creed III. The latest installment in the bestselling franchise brings the action stateside for the first time, with players fighting for freedom as Connor, a half-Native American and half English protagonist. Roughly 80 percent of the characters gamers will interact with through this game will be historical figures like George Washington, Paul Revere and Charles Lee.
Ubisoft has partnered with Rock the Vote to connect gamers with voting booths. Rock the Vote’s Road Trip, which brings musical performances and voter registration to colleges nationwide, will will feature kiosks that allow students and young voters a change to play Assassin’s Creed III before its Oct. 30 launch.
In addition, Ubisoft is unveiling “Art of the Assassin,” a traveling exhibit that showcases original Assassin’s Creed III-inspired works from some of today’s most distinguished contemporary artists. The nationwide tour premieres this Thursday at Los Angeles’ 525 DTLA Gallery with works by Ariel Erestingcol, Artek, Dual Forces, Justin Bartlett, Mark Dean Veca, Racecar 13, Dora Drimalas, Thank You X and Brian Flynn. The tour concludes at the end of Oct. with an auction that gives consumers a chance to bid on the exclusive works, with proceeds going directly to Rock the Vote.
“Partnering with Assassin’s Creed III provides us with an opportunity to engage a large and influential group of young people,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote. “If we can inspire just a small percentage of Assassin’s Creed fans to become more active in the upcoming election, we’ll no doubt be on our way to achieving our goal of registering 1.5 million voters.”
Assassin’s Creed III is on track to be the biggest launch in Ubisoft’s history. The franchise has already sold over 38 million copies, which allows the brand to target a large audience of potential voters.
For something a little different, Social game developer FiveOneNine Games has released the Campaign Story. The Facebook game allows players to run their own political campaign and take their political aspirations from local mayor to the White House.
Campaign Story mimics today’s election process by giving players the chance to take control and run their campaign their way. Just like in the campaign battles taking place across the country this election season, the goal is all about gaining popularity to get votes and win the election. From picking a campaign slogan, to hiring canvassers, fund raisers and campaign staff, players vie for popularity and interact with Facebook friends to increase their standing in the polls. Candidates have a choice to play clean or play dirty. It’s up to them to decide how to best climb the political ladder.
“With campaign season upon us, Campaign Story is a great way to let your inner politician out, campaign how you want and connect to something that is fun and socially relevant,” Lloyd Melnick, Chief Executive Officer of FiveOneNine Games.