Wot I Think: The Political Machine 2012

By Alec Meer on August 3rd, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

SATIRE

It’s election fever! Well, election ennui. As the disappointingly over-cautious incumbent takes on a billionaire charisma-vacuum for rights to the throne of America, Stardock release an update of their presidential wannabe sim. I’ve been creeping around the corridors of power in The Political Machine 2012 for the last couple of days. Join me in the west wing for a post-mortem, won’t you?

That lily-livered pinko hippie Al Franken might have the goddamn vegan commies down in California in his pocket, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to keep me, staunch Republican Ian Prejudice, from saving the American people from their own venality. On a crusading, unwavering platform of fanatical Christianity, tax cuts for the rich and blind hatred of gay marriage, I will lead this ailing nation to a brighter, better future where everyone who isn’t exactly the same as me is ritually persecuted and, ideally, homeless. Or cleaning one of my many houses for a pittance. It’s their own damn fault for not being rich, white, straight, Christian men. Yessir, Ian Prejudice knows values, and Ian Prejudice will never change his values.

Though… I suppose I could say I endorse green jobs if it’ll get those West Coast hippies on side. And New York… well, what’s the harm in men in cavorting with other men so long as they don’t do it in somewhere that matters, like Texas or Georgia? Whassat? Flip-flopping? No sir, how dare you? This is for the greater good of the greatest nation on Earth! And of course if I want Iowa on side, that crucial swing-state, I’ll need a stance on Obamacare. Those hicks don’t know their own minds about, is the thing. Well, today I’ll say it’s socialism incarnate then tomorrow I’ll say I’m all for it. That should cover it. What’s this? Florida’s not taking well to the idea of a Christian nation? Well, as long they vote for me I suppose that means their values are intact. Flip-flopping, you say? No sir, no sir – I call it winning.

I’ve done this before, but last time Ian Prejudice bore his then-pseudonym Dick Cheney**. Back then, there was no mention of Obamacare, Mitt Romney’s rictus grin and plastic hair were merely a footnote to the Obama-McCain clash, while American was pre-recession (just about) and pre-Tea Party. Such sweeping socio-economic changes have not altered the nature of The Political Machine in the four years since its last iteration. I’ve got to admit, I have now had enough of writing about sequels which don’t make great efforts to leave their predecessors’ shadows.

That’s my own fault for repeatedly installing games with numbers in their titles, of course. The Political Machine 2012, Stardock’s pithy US election sim, isn’t just functionally similar to The Political Machine 2008 – it’s functionally identical, but with new politicians and new, topical issues added to the roster. Guess I can’t blame them giving how timely it is and how many newly politically-cognisant folk presumably now abound, but what a shame* to not evolve the systems and strategies. I can barely remember what happened this morning, let alone four years ago, but this was like slipping back into my oldest pair of underpants, so familiar was it.

It’s only $10 mind, but it’s hard to not think of it as a data pack rather than a whole new game. Unless Steam Achievements make the difference to you, anyway. If you haven’t played the previous TPM, then it’s different prospect entirely. It might be lightweight and it might be taking any aspect of debate or morality out politicking, but it’s rather adept at distilling the strange, furious carnival that is the US election process down to the cynicism and statistics that it entails underneath the issues.

Here’s how it works. You pick a candidate, represented as one of those wobbly-head dolls that tasteless people put on their car dashboards. Forever smiling, forever nodding, a gleaming plastic sheen and zero trace of humanity – it’s the perfect parody of a politician, without a single barbed word uttered. It’s essentially turn-based strategy, with a distinctly boardgamey vibe, as you peg it around a map of the US, picking which actions to do in which states, at the expense of cash and energy.

You’re trying to make each state love you rather than your opponent, and you primarily do that by appealing to the issues that are most important to each region. Either by saying you’re on their side regarding unemployment, gas prices or whatever, or claiming that your rival is not. You do this by buying ads, making speeches, hiring agents and gaining the support of national bodies. Your opponent is, of course, doing the same.

It works because it’s intense and high-speed, with your fate forever uncertain until polling day itself, and it works because it puts ethics to one side in favour of cold practicality. Your national stance might be pro-Obamacare, but saying something to the contrary in a state whose residents haven’t actually researched anything about it and have thus been brainwashed into believing it’s socialism might be enough to swing a key zone to your favour. The game positively encourages hypocrisy, though it is also possible to win by holding fast to your chosen values – for instance, by being so sickeningly rich that you can almost buy your way to power.

It’s superficially silly, what with its bobbleheads and its gentle spoofing of The O’Reilley Factor and the Colbert Report, but there’s a core of cynical steel underneath, both in terms of being highly strategic and being quite clear that it believes high-profile politics is a media circus rather than a contest of knowledge and values.

But it is The Political Machine 2008 with some new characters, some new text and, I think, some updating of states’ preferences based on recent trends. Also, some Steam achievements. This means I’m using the same strategies as last time around, and frankly there didn’t seem like there were too many of them back then either. Multiplayer, now as then, keeps it alive for longer, and I had an agreeably stressful but ultimately successful time triumphing over Dan Griliopoulos’ Michelle Obama with my Michelle Bachmann yesterday. Roleplaying (i.e. as a psychopathic right-wing puritan) is the most entertaining way to play the game for sure, even if it’s not necessarily the best tactical move.

Democracy does it better, and more thoughtfully, but embrace this as a pastiche as much as it is mini-strategy game and you’ll likely be charmed. It is the same game as last time around, but I can just about forgive that purely because this election sees far more polarised political stances than 2008. There’s no way I’d vote it in for a third term, though.

I’d love to see 2016′s game explore what happens after the election, and how all those desperate promises made by the candidates are brought about or betrayed once in office. There’s a long, meaty, enormously snarky game to be made from this whole concept, so I hope TPM won’t always settle for just the tip of that absurd iceberg.

The Political Machine 2012 is out now.

* SHUT UP

** Ian Prejudice is a character of my own creation, thanks to TPM’s playful candidate-creation tool, but any similarity to reptilian vice-presidents alive or dead may not be entirely coincidental.

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183 Comments »

  1. Discopanda says:

    I don’t think I could ever vote for a guy named “Ian Prejudice.” Ian is just such an unpleasant name. “Pete” Prejudice though, that could work.

  2. Anthile says:

    I hope you named your vice president Bob Pride.

  3. CobraLad says:

    Vote for Prejudice! Support Face!

  4. MMMMMONTYKILL says:

    See President Forever for the idea played straight (although with a more ominous name).

    http://270soft.com/us-election-games/president-election-game/

    I still relish the time I, as Colin Powell, usurped Dubya in the 2004 Primaries.

    • datom says:

      I used to love PF back in 2004. Is it still good? It always felt a bit formulaic – spending the right money in the right states in the right order allowed x candidate to win, regardless of x candidate’s views. It’s probably got some grounding in truth there ;)

  5. derbefrier says:

    “Your national stance might be pro-Obamacare, but saying something to the contrary in a state whose residents haven’t actually researched anything about it and have thus been brainwashed into believing it’s socialism might be enough to swing a key zone to your favour”

    http://www.heritage.org/research/projects/the-case-against-obamacare

    I don’t think its us that have been brainwashed…..
    oh and and don’t be scared by all the information contained here. Its a lot to read but when a bill is over 2500 pages long there’s a lot to talk about. Educate yourselves please.

    • Meneth says:

      The American opposition to public healthcare and other “socialist” institutions is rather funny to watch from a Norwegian perspective. It is rather incredible how the right-wing has managed to convince many of those who would benefit from “socialist” institutions the most that those institutions are bad things.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        “The American opposition to public healthcare and other “socialist” institutions is rather funny to watch from a Norwegian non-American perspective”

        Fixed that for you! Pretty sure the US is the only country that (A) doesn’t have it and (B) not because they can’t afford it.

    • Martel says:

      Please, don’t let those dirty poor folk have access to routine checkups and birth control, it will destabilize the economy of buying yachts and gold statues! Think of the gold statues please, poor people are too dirty to own gold statues.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        The problem with Obamacare is that the poor don’t gain any more access to those things than they had before. And they’re forced to either buy insurance or pay a tax if they choose to not have health insurance (which again, doesn’t make routine healthcare any cheaper than simply not having insurance). Getting a checkup or having my teeth cleaned or whatever costs the exact same amount without insurance as it does with insurance.

        I’m not a big fan of socialized health care, but I could deal with it. Obamacare isn’t what people think it is, though.

        • Torgen says:

          Those below a certain income threshold have 95% of their premiums paid for by the government.

          Here is a good breakdown, and answers to common questions and misconceptions:
          http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/vb8vs/eli5_what_exactly_is_obamacare_and_what_did_it/c530lfx

          Here it is, in “explain it like I’m five” format:
          Bob: Hi, insurance company. I’d like to buy some health insurance.

          Insurance company: No. You had cancer when you were 3 years old, and the cancer could come back. We’re not selling health insurance to you.

          Bob: It’s not my fault I got cancer when I was three! Besides, that was years ago!

          Insurance company: If we sell insurance to you, we’ll probably lose money, and we’re not doing it.

          Bob: But I need insurance more than anyone! My cancer might come back!

          Insurance company: We don’t care. We’re not selling you insurance.

          Obama: Hey, that’s totally not fair. Bob is right, he does need insurance! Sell Bob some insurance.

          Insurance company: If we have to, I guess.

          Mary: This is cool. Obama said the insurance company has to sell insurance to anyone who needs it.

          Sam: Hey, I have an idea. I’m going to stop paying for health insurance. If I get sick, I can always go buy some insurance then. The insurance company won’t be able to say no, because Obama’s told them they have to sell it to anyone who needs it!

          Dave: that’s a great idea! I’m not paying for health insurance either, at least not until I get sick.

          Insurance company: Hey! If everyone stops paying for insurance, we’ll go bankrupt!

          Obama: Oh come on Sam and Dave, that’s not fair either.

          Dave: I don’t care. It saves me money.

          Obama: Oh for god’s sake. Sam, Dave, you have to keep paying for health insurance, and not wait until you’re sick. You too, Mary and Bob.

          Mary: But I’m broke! I can’t buy insurance! I just don’t have any money.

          Obama: Mary, show me your piggy bank. Oh, wow, you really are broke. Ok, tell you what. You still have to buy insurance, but I’ll help you pay 95% of the cost.

          Mary: thank you.

          Obama: I need an aspirin.

          Insurance company: We’re not paying for that aspirin.

          • Phantoon says:

            That story was long winded and didn’t make any sense for your point. I’m not sure if you’re pro or anti poor people with healthcare.

            In short: the government already pays out the nose to pay for uninsured people. What, did you think the insurance companies just footed the bill out of the kindness of their hearts? Hell no. They charge the government up to five times the cost of care, and make a killing (sometimes literally, considering their current favorite is to have people in ambulances turned down at hospitals because they have no money, so they die on the way to a further hospital) on it.

            So how would we pay the same? Oh right, the government is already paying that money, so instead of it being drained when some poor homeless schmuck gets hit by a car, money is already there FOR that person, so he doesn’t have to die because somewhere, someone has a ferrari.

            I cannot possibly fathom how people can be so selfish as to think that we need wealth to exist to the point where some people who have never worked own multiple ferraris and mansions, and some people starve to death or die of simple staph infections because they couldn’t afford healthcare.

            In short: If you think poor people deserve to die because they’re poor, please get raped by a rabid wolverine.

          • Torgen says:

            @Phantoon: I’m sorry to hear about your lack of reading comprehension.

          • Mattressi says:

            The problem is that it takes away the rights of others – forcing people to buy insurance (or pay a penalty) and forcing insurance companies to do business with people whom they may not want to. A much better solution would be to stop the absolutely ridiculous spending on unjust wars and social security – the insane amounts of money saved from not killing brown people and not supporting trailer trash and crack whores would easily cover the cost of the government paying the medical bills (or, simply, providing insurance) to those who can prove that they genuinely can’t get insurance (or even, perhaps, can’t get insurance below a certain price) due to reasons out of their control (NOT smoking, being hugely overweight, excessive drinking, etc). That way people still have the right to buy or not buy and sell or not sell insurance, while those small few who were given a bad lot in life (not who ruined their own life) can also receive the medical care they need.

            I’d say that as many republicans understand “Obamacare” as democrats do. That is; very little. From what I can tell, the US left/right voters tend to mostly go by talking points that their chosen (that is, biased in their favour) media organisation gives them. Luckily, quite a large number of voters are independent. Hopefully they realise that, like most other countries in the world, the two sides are just two sides of the same coin, with the overall goal of expanding (either expanding government or their wallets through “donations” from big business – usually both). That people actually feel fondly of either left or right parties in any country, completely miffs me.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            When different rights collide, the one that weighs heaviest should decide. I would say the right of people not to suffer and/or die should weigh heavier than the right of insurance companies to not do business with some people.

          • Mattressi says:

            So, theoretically, everyone could be pressed into service to keep one person alive, who won’t do it for themselves? Who goes to jail when someone dies of natural causes (I mean, they have a right to not die, right?). What if something could have been done to prevent it? Should doctors be fined for demanding payment for their services? Either way you want to look at it, there’s no reason to take the rights of everyone (forcing people to buy insurance) to fulfil the “rights” of other people, when there is a much simpler solution, involving the government cutting extremely excessive costs and using the money to help the few who need it.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Do American doctors take the Hippocratic Oath?
            Anyway, there are indeed much better, more effective and efficient options, like single payer or universal health care, for example. Though those would probably cause republicans to blow up Washington.
            After all, the reason you got the plan you have now is that Obama did his typical political jiu-jitsu and picked a plan that was proposed by conversatives in the first place.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            lol That was pretty good! And pretty spot-on, too.

          • The Greatness says:

            Torgen is awesome.

        • InternetBatman says:

          That is just not true. Our insurance premiums (and we definitely qualify as poor, we make $100 less than what we need to cover food, rent, electric, insurance, and internet), have gone waaaay down, about $200 a month. I’m on the autism spectrum and insurance companies used to consider that a preexisting condition (even though I haven’t needed any medical treatment for about seven years now, stay in shape, don’t smoke, and have never had a major surgery), and used that to jack rates through the roof.

          The thornier issue is that, there is little to no political will among anyone to actually fix the health care system. We can let poor people die from lack of care or we can install price controls on basic medical necessities. This terrible system of the government paying doctors and private companies what they ask is bleeding people die. Republicans don’t want to let old people die or vote against them, democrats don’t want to be called socialists or against the free market, and both are influenced more than ever by monied interests.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      This is hilarious simply because the Heritage Foundation promoted what was essentially Obamacare as a safe right wing alternative back in the 90s when Clinton’s far better healthcare reforms were in danger of becoming law:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/10/20/how-a-conservative-think-tank-invented-the-individual-mandate/

      So to echo some right wing rhetoric from 2004, The Heritage Foundation were for Obamacare before they were against it.

      Also the Heritage Foundation deny climate change so if you are seeking to educate yourself don’t use them as a source: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/10/how-the-scientific-consensus-on-global-warming-affects-american-business-and-consumers

    • Tacroy says:

      I really hope you realize that you’re saying this in rsponse to someone whose country, on average, thinks that Obamacare isn’t far enough.

    • Chris D says:

      Dear America

      Whatever the shortcomings of the healthcare systems in our own countries may be, none of us would trade them for yours, even if you threw in a free yacht.

      Sincerely

      Everyone else in the world.

      • Ignorant Texan says:

        If we threw in Ryan Seacrest, would that change you mind?

        • M0thra says:

          Is Seacrest actually human, or one of the Innsmouth hybrids?

          • Ignorant Texan says:

            I think he may be the last one of these( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis ) wearing stilts.

            His head is disturbingly and unnervingly small, especially when viewed in profile. This is apparent in a long-shot with another person. Anyone unfortunate enough to have witnessed one of his interviews during NBC’s Olympic broadcasts can confirm this.

          • RedViv says:

            Innsmouth hybrids would have bigger heads. Although it could be a more frog-like Deepy, rather than the usual fishy ones.

      • AngoraFish says:

        this

      • Archipelagos says:

        Co-sign.
        Hell no to the Seacrest offer, his smile gives me the creeps.

      • Tritagonist says:

        Well if you put it like that!

      • Jenks says:

        Those with money flock to the US when afflicted with anything serious for the best healthcare in the world. As someone with enough money to enjoy our healthcare system, your non-trade offer is denied.

        • FFabian says:

          Do you have a source to back up your typical USian “‘Murrrica is teh best of the world!!1one”-blathering?

          FYI Germany is known as a travel location for medical tourism. Lots of rich eastern europeans and arabs are using german clinics for their advanced medical needs (and the occasional Brit who doesn’t like to wait a few month for a surgery (non life threatening))

        • Chris D says:

          That’s the point isn’t it. It’s not that you couldn’t provide decent health coverage if you chose to, you just choose not to. You choose to ignore the plight of the ill and the injured and the poor so that those who already have plently can have just that little bit more.

        • InternetBatman says:

          And the people without money flock to Canada to buy their prescription drugs at an affordable price.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        What Chris D said.

        America, even after everything that’s changed, still is a “Below rich threshold? Go fucking die, scumbag. WE CALL IT FREEDOM HAILS SHEAAA!!!! OORRRRRAH!” tar pit, and no doubt about it.

        The only exception? If you’re in the army, which is(or, rather, for some things, used to be) like a socialistic dream sub-country inside of a cold-hearted-bitch country, oddly enough.

        • X_kot says:

          Yeah, it always surprises me when conservatives in America denouce social spending and government jobs, but they’re so keen on keeping the defense budget so high. Military forces are tax-paid government jobs w/ all sorts of benefits.

          • Apologised says:

            In all fairness though it is one of the government jobs where you get shot at, so some mitigating perks are probably warranted. Makes me wonder if the american police forces get similar deals.

    • Shuck says:

      Let’s see the link, hmm The Heritage Foundation… ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, whew, for a minute there I thought you were serious!

    • Aaax says:

      Can anyone explain to me, why the fact that typical socialized medicine takes about one half of GPD of american, while keeping about the same quality, doesn’t Obama splatter all over Republican faces? American system is hugely ineffective, why no politician ever says it there?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Health_care_cost_rise.svg

      And it’s not even nearly the best. Not even near.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Best I know, he’s brought this up a couple of times.

        But let’s not kid ourselves. As the article makes plain, and rightfully so, politics isn’t about facts, what’s good for people or a country, truth or honesty.

        Its about convincing people that they have to be scared for everything they have and love should the OTHER guy win, because fear is the mind-killer.

    • Ragnar says:

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heritage_Foundation :
      Heritage’s stated mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”.

      Conservative think-tank disapproves of liberal bill? Shocking! Now if only people and politicians were willing to actually think about the issues like reasonable adults rather than just blindly toting the party line…

  6. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kudos.

  7. JoeGuy says:

    I’m hoping for Obama myself. I’m not American or anything, but sometimes being outside the media spectacle gives you certain perspective. Typically people in our media seem to think that business will befit from Romney (I guess in turn that means the economy) but the everyday people will benefit from Obama with his more liberal Democrat ideals. I don’t presume to know anything. Just how the campaigns and parties seem to portray themselves in my news outlets.

    • woodsey says:

      I should think most people outside of the States are hoping for an Obama win. Watching the Republican primaries has been like watching a parade of clinically insane baboons.

      Still, at least Romney’s recent efforts at ‘foreign relations’ have proven a good laugh – although I very much doubt that any significant number of his supporters give two shits about what anyone outside of the US thinks of the US.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Anyone with a brain hopes for Ron Paul to win, sadly not enough people with brain among US voters.

      • iucounu says:

        I think Ron Paul’s history of running swivel-eyed racist newsletters, and his apparent homophobia, bothers me more than it does you.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        That racism card is simply false. He has amazing support from all the minorities, delivered thousand of babies of all races as a OBGyn etc. I have looked up those newsletters you’ve mentioned and read them.

        The only racist statement I have found there is a statement about “black robbers being fleet of foot” or something like that. I don’t think that sentence outweights his political stands on economy, foreign policy and individual rights.

        If by homophobic you mean the scene from Bruno? (didn’t find anything else) you’d act exactly the same in his situation, whether you’re heterosexual or gay. Refusing to participate in silly obscenity does not make you homophobic.

        Attacks about racism/anti-semitism/homophobia always smell of foul play and smear campaigns. When you don’t want the public to see his policies, just talk his racism. Too easy.

        • iucounu says:

          It is neither false nor a ‘card’. The suggestion, for example, that the LA riots only ended when it was time for black people to ‘pick up their welfare checks’. Or describing Haitian immigrants as ‘AIDSians’. Or smearing Martin Luther King as a paedophile. Or praising the political ambitions of white supremacist David Duke. And so on.

          All this stuff is rancid enough that, despite happily publishing and putting his name to these screeds for years, he now denies any involvement in their content (despite, you know, *publishing* them.)

          On homophobia – well, we have the direct mail fundraising ads, saying things like “I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.)” Or from the newsletters again, ““I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any wonder the AIDS epidemic started after they ‘came out of the closet,’ and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?””

          Former staffers attempting to defend him against the claim of homophobia by talking about his interactions with gay men may not be helping: http://my.firedoglake.com/teddysanfran/2011/12/27/is-ron-paul-also-homophobic/

          • RegisteredUser says:

            This is all pretty sad, because he makes a much saner impression as a person in talks, interviews, etc.
            Unlike Santorum, where you can basically smell his secret wish to drive stakes through the hearts of sodomites and unbelievers, Ron always struck me as just a bit more of a sweet oddball with a touch too extreme to be realistic ideas, that nonetheless were at least intellectually intriguing.

            To see that there may be tangible proof he’s possibly also for a good part just another mind-addled hatemongerer makes me a very, very sad Panda.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Because anyone that disagrees obviously doesn’t have a brain. Certainly that type of talk helps political discourse.

        The whole libertarian idea that free market capitalism will save us is fundamentally flawed. Businesses by nature are short-term in their mindset and outlook. The seek the greatest efficiency, which is a good thing in limited doses. It’s bad if you don’t want people in your sausage because someone fell in and the machine didn’t have an automatic shutoff valve and management decided to sell it because “hey the sausage is 98% pig anyways.” Or if you don’t want confetti to come out of your steering wheel when you’re in an accident. Or if you don’t want unregulated nuclear power plants (and hey, I’m very much for nuclear power, but the last thing we need is people cutting corners next to something that could turn into the most deadly weapon man has ever created).

        Government is (or should be at least) the opposite of this. Too much of it and nobody gets a toothbrush for a year (happened in the USSR). But man can they sure do things well, like making sure people get an education so we’re competitive on a national level, or coming in and fixing the damage a hurricane causes, or making sure that our spectrum is useable and we don’t have a bunch of jackasses using the biggest, nearest transmitter to make enough to noise to block everyone else out of an area.

        The idea that one or another alone can solve all our problems is ridiculously foolish.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          Oh my. But yes, I like your statement about short-term mindset of business. We want space programs (I do), we want other long-term projects much more beneficial for our society. That’s why we should have the government for these things.

          Unfortunately, the govnt. that’s on offer (pseudo-bipartisan fat govnt.) is even more short-term minded. To cure temporary ills, it’s happily borrowing money and enslaving your nation with debt that your economy simply won’t be able to pay off.

          What does the debt mean for you? More taxes and less beneficial projects bought for them. Instead of, say, space program, you’ll get to pay off interest on decades of wars, based on lies.

      • noodlecake says:

        Apart from the fact that everyone on welfare for mental health problems or just because there aren’t any jobs would die or become homeless, he’s also a creationist which is essentially a person who bases his entire life on bullshit, ignoring proven facts in favour of “things that would be lovely if they were true”. Fucking nutcase. Luckily I live in Britain where all it takes is one term of right wing nut jobs before people realise their mistake. The conservatives aren’t getting in for a long time after this one. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18264385

      • Unaco says:

        Ron Paul. lol. He’s the one Politician, that, when the Onion do an article/video on him, I have difficulty telling if it’s parody or not.

        Anyway, I think after the Newsletter stuff (even ignoring the actual contents of them), he’s shown himself to be just as duplicitous and full of shit as all the other Politicians. In the 1990s he claimed he had written the newsletters, but they’d been taken out of context. In the 2000s he claimed he didn’t write the newsletters. Both cannot be true :. he lied.

    • H8Cr1me says:

      Obama is a murderous power broker for the Establishment, the Military industrial complex and the genocidal Zionist regime in Israel. Here’s the short list of his offenses. A good many of them he should be put on trial for.

      http://tinyurl.com/d6hmuk5

      Most people have no idea of the damage Obamacare is going to do to this economy not to mention it being yet another imposition of government force over our liberties. Some people allow hollow words to the gay community to somehow excuse unjustified murder, terror, and imposition on individual freedom.

      Romney is no different. He’ll increase military spending even more than it’s already disgustingly obscene amount. He’ll appoint all of the usual bad actors to cabinet positions as Obama did and He’ll assist the Establishment any way he can.

      Romney and Obama are backed by the same people such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. They are both the establishment candidate. The agenda will stay the same. After the election either one of them will likely pave the road to Tehran with American blood.

      Ron Paul 2012! Depending on what happens at Tampa if Ron’s not in the fight choose vote Gary Johnson. A vote for the other two is a vote to put the hands of the most powerful country and military in the hands of murderous whores (not just them, the people that have great interest in continuing farce).

      Get educated. Research who the players are. Learn free-market economics and the nature of peaceful human interaction.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        The sad part is that people like you would actually have very tangible, reality based arguments if you just let go of the 100% idiotic fervor phrasing, unprovable allegations and stuck to the very real problematic nature of being run by counter-block-and-locking political organs, that in turn get pushed and moved around like pawns by lobbies.

        As it is, you’re coming off like the toothless “The end is near” sign/screamer dude in times square.

        Btw, Obama from what I have read and know is for the first time not giving the military budget an increase, but actually a cut instead. It still more than doubled since 2001 / 9-11 of course and is bigger than the next 12 countries that come after America COMBINED, but hey.

        The 2-3 industries actually still left on the continent got to produce their stuff for someone.

      • Wisq says:

        Uh huh … uh huh … uh huh … WAIT. Is that? Yes it is! MISUSE OF “IT’S” TO MEAN THE POSSESSIVE!!

        *tunes out and stomps off*

  8. Kuraudo says:

    When did RPS turn into a website endorsing ignorant hate speech against a political subset of a foreign country?

    Oh well, I guess the hateful politics are part of the charm.

    • lasikbear says:

      No no, they are against the political subset that supports ignorant hatespeech, didn’t you read the article?

    • Soup says:

      I know! The nerve of a journalist to have an opinion about politics. It’s a good thing no-one else does such crass things.

    • Meneth says:

      @Kuraudo: What hate speech?

      • diamondmx says:

        If I can paraphrase: “It’s not fair to be mean to rich white male racists. WAaaaaaa.”

        In unrelated news, (Heavy) Cry some more. (/Heavy)

        • Kuraudo says:

          Sigh, if you could only read what you’re saying from outside of that veil of ignorance and hate. Instead of responding mindlessly, it may be more profitable to think on carefully why some see such speech as offensive.

          Stereotyping is pretty cool I hear.

          I love you guys anyway.

          • TheApologist says:

            If you think this gently satirical article is hate speech, you should try being on the other end of homophobic speeches by Republican presidential candidates.

            Trust me, you’d rapidly acquire a thicker skin.

        • Grape Flavor says:

          Actually, if you specifically single out a certain ethnic group and sexual identity, and then mock the very idea that blanket vilification of said group could constitute hate speech, that might be hate speech right there. Funny how that works.

          Also lol at how all those who doesn’t share your political ideology are “rich, white, male, and racist”, and I suppose the terms “white” and “male” in your view are meant to have the same insulting connotation as “racist”.

          Wait, who’s prejudiced again?

    • Rusty says:

      Hey, if there was going to be a political view presented – and given the game, it would have been strange not to see some sort of political discussion – this is really the ideal outcome: the rest of us get to laugh, and you get to be outraged and pretend you’re a victim. Wins all around, really.

    • beatnik11 says:

      Its not our fault that a large segment of the American populous lacks the self-awareness to recognize their own absurdity

    • Shooop says:

      They’re making fun of our country’s political shenanigans which are going on right now.

      The sad and horrible thing is how accurate Alec’s snide jab really is as describing our elections. Let him joke about it, it’s one of the few comforts we yanks have every four years, seeing other people mock our elections for being as FUBAR as we know.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I read nothing that either ignorant or hatespeech. Snide jabs at our dysfunctional system are not hatespeech.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      If you are perceiving it as hateful, it is only because it accurately reflects the hateful nature of the very candidates prevalent on the republican side in America.
      Sad as it is, because that country deserves a lot better than that kind of people.

      From where I stand, the article also wasn’t singling something out, but rather made a broad statement about the problematic nature of politics overall, which is much more terrible altogether, because it means that both sides will lie, cheat and steal to get elected, rather than just having one bad guy.

      I feel very, very bad for America, because I know that a vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle are very kind and loving folks that are just being herded into “thinking extremes” and artificially divided instead of united, for the sake of power and politics.
      Its pathetic, the opposite of what politics should be about, and it is telling that it took a COMEDIAN to make one of the few rare efforts to say “Look people, wtf, we are all here in this TOGETHER” in a “rally to restore sanity” in a country that could be so fucking great if it just got its shit together at some point.

      America deserves better. The american people deserve better.
      I sincerely wish so many wouldn’t let themselves be manipulated to shit like that.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        I wholeheartedly agree with almost everything you said (including the part about the Republican candidates being crazy), save Jon Stewart’s credibility. Look, I like the guy, he’s funny, he’s clever (or at least his writers are), he’s likable.

        But he is a political commentator, a political commentator who expresses a very specific viewpoint. And that would be fine, absolutely fine if he didn’t hide behind “I’m just a comedian” and a very thin veil of non-partisanship, as a means to obfuscate that fact. It’s disingenuous and I can’t respect that.

  9. Kodeen says:

    Are there safe states for the different political parties, or does every state act like a true swing state?

    Here in real life, in the very red state of Tennessee, it is depressing to know that no matter how I vote, it will ultimately never mean a damned thing.

    • datom says:

      It may never allow your candidate to win. It always means something. It is all you can do to effect change and you should feel proud to cast that vote (be it Blue in a Red State or Red in a Blue State).

      Obviously, there are real advantages to Proportional Representation if it’s representing all votes that democracy should do. It’s been great in Scotland: fringe parties like the Greens, the Socialists before they (predictably) blew up. Every now and again a lunatic fringe group like the Senior Citizens or the Conservatives may be able to get some votes, but it’s rare.

      Stop stealing our milk!

      • diamondmx says:

        You’ve got to be proud, as a Scot, that you can say the conservatives are a fringe group, eh?
        It’s great to be Scottish, sometimes.

        • James G says:

          As a leftie living in the south of this somewhat satisfactory nation, can I please beg you do never leave the union. Westminster would become a permanent Tory stronghold, and I’d have to flee somewhere with worse weather.

          • M0thra says:

            Yes, This. As an unfortunate in a constituency with a 65% Tory majority, thanks to lots of easily frightened, Daily Mail reading elderly rich people, please stay and help save me from more of them.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I hear America is the best nation on God’s Green Earth.

          • Wisq says:

            Good thing we’re just on the normal Earth then.

    • NathanH says:

      If we’re going to be maximally realistic, no matter what electoral system you have or where you live, your vote will never mean a thing. It’d be very rare for any system to be decided by one vote, unless you get really local. There was a local election in England the last election where it was actually tied, but in the parliamentary elections there’s never been a tie or a one-vote win.

      Actually one system would work better: everyone in a region votes, then one of the votes is chosen randomly, and that vote determines the winner. Then you’d have a small chance of influencing things.

      • InternetBatman says:

        There have been multiple times in recent years that votes have been settled by a few thousand people. That’s hardly insubstantial.

        • NathanH says:

          Two, two thousand, or two million, it makes no difference, because in any of those elections, whether a particular individual stays at home or goes out and votes makes no difference. Their particular choice will “never mean a damned thing”.

          The reduction in power of your vote in a safe seat isn’t really important, because your vote doesn’t have any practical power. The main difference in power between a safe and a marginal seat is how many other people whose votes you have to influence to make a difference.

  10. Jason Moyer says:

    The problem with politics in my country (the US) is that everything’s about choosing between red and blue, when what most people want is purple.

    • datom says:

      The problem with consumers is if someone offers them red cake and someone else offers them blue cake, they want a purple cake, because they presume red and blue cake are somehow inferior versions of a perfect cake that lies in between. If someone offers me a beer or a carrot juice, I wouldn’t try to mix them: whatever happened to good ol’ ideology and the triumph over one vision over another?

      • Jason Moyer says:

        What happened to ideology is that Barry Goldwater, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy are dead, their ideas largely forgotten or ignored, while everyone dry humps the totally illogical and purely political coalitions that put Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in office.

      • Phantoon says:

        I don’t want purple. I want blue with red polka dots.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        Ideology is a disease, not to say that all cakes are equal mind you, but ideology, like religion, is just a means for people to shut down their brains and buy into a prebaked reality instead of having to go through the disturbing process of using actual logic to interpret the world around them. It is a religion minus the supernatural.

        Having said that, the fact remains that both parties have to actually hide and distort their own views (once past the primary stage, where the goal is to be the most ideologically “pure”), to make themselves palatable to the average American voter, is evidence that the American electorate’s political needs are not being met.

        But that’s the system for you, and virtually all the powerful people have a vested interest in maintaining that system.

    • Cold Steel says:

      I never understood that two party system in the USA anyway.

      If you want purple why don’t you gather more people who want purple too and start a new political party?
      Or is that not allowed in the land of the free? If it isn’t allowed maybe you people should finally make use of the 2nd amendment and overthrow the government to make a fairer place out of it?

      • Meneth says:

        It is possible to create political parties, but essentially impossible to gain enough votes to at all matter due to how the electoral system of the US works. Had the US used proportional representation instead, having a 3rd party be relevant would be possible, but in the current first past the post system it is near impossible.

        • Cold Steel says:

          Thanks for the insight on that matter.

          Could this electoral system be reformed? I doubt that the current rulers would want that though.

          • Meneth says:

            Seeing as the system greatly benefits those in power, I have my doubts it will ever be reformed.

          • Shuck says:

            The US is the country that invented “Gerrymandering” (the bizarre shaping of electoral districts to maximize the power of one particular party), so it’s really built into the political DNA of the country. I can’t see it changing unless something really major happens to shake things up.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Not without at least one amendment which takes a huge amount of effort to pass, and the existing political parties (and their media proxies) gain too much from the current strife.

            To pass an amendment you need two-thirds of congress (all of one party and a third of the other party) to vote on it or two-thirds of state legislatures to call a constitutional convention (which has never happened). Then 3/4s of state legislatures need to pass the amendment.

            So to pass a bill like that you’d need thousands of politicians to work against the organizations that both put them in power and keep them in power. Right now the only people that politically suicidal are members of the tea party, and they’re so radical that many of them would/have balk at / walk away from working with the other side even if it makes things better for everyone.

          • Wisq says:

            I suspect that in the short- to medium-term, the only thing that would reform the U.S. system would be the rise of a modern day American Hitler; the committing of atrocities to such a degree that the rest of the world actually goes to war(!) with the U.S.; the U.S. being defeated(!!); the current political system being identified as the source of the problem; a new political system being forcibly imposed instead; and, by some miracle, those in charge actually coming up with a better system than the current one.

            I.e. not going to happen.

      • Mordsung says:

        The foundation of the US psychology is an “us vs them” mentality, not “us vs them and them”.

      • Shooop says:

        Easy. Money.

        You need freighter ships full of money to run a successful campaign, to get your name out to the public. You need to buy ads for TV and radio, make marathon trips across the country, etc.

        The two party system chokes out any third party simply by having two sects which will throw all their pooled resources behind a person of their choosing.

      • belgand says:

        Nah, that’s pretty much what we actually have. You have a choice of center-right or center-left where each candidate is often pretty similar when you get past the rhetoric. Of course, the radical factions are still out there and often manage to accrue a certain amount of power and notability especially as a party tries to position themselves as being different.

        Honestly it seems like what people really want is that aforementioned polka-dots: the interesting political discourse tends to really come from libertarians (economic conservatism with social liberalism) facing off against populists (social conservatism with economic liberalism).

        • Vercinger says:

          The problem is that you seem to have a choice between center-right and extremist right. When’s the last time you actually had a moderate candidate, let alone a center-left one?

    • diamondmx says:

      I have to wonder what part of the red cake makes you want it:
      is it the casual racism,
      the marginalisation of women as a political power,
      the imperialism,
      love of shooting anyone with a bit of colour?

      Is it the financial irresponsibility to believe that over half of the political figures should (and DID) sign a pledge to never raise taxes on anyone, at any time, even though those taxes have never been lower in living history, and the taxes are not currently covering costs?

      Is it the fact that the party will tell you what you need to hear to agree with them, and damn the facts?

      Is it the fact that the party openly and repeatedly puts forward economic plans that cannot, have not, and will never work for that majority of the country?

      What part of the red cake is delicious, I ask you – what part does not taste like bullshit?

      The Red cake is a laughing stock around the entire first world, and some day you will stop and realise why, and either laugh, or cry.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        The part of the red cake that is appealing to Americans is personal and economic freedom. Of course, the red cake doesn’t actually offer either of those things at all, but that’s the theoretical appeal.

        • Shuck says:

          A lot of the appeal of the “red cake” is theoretical – the idea of “small government” (Republicans have expanded the Federal budget and powers for decades), getting to maintain one’s personal wealth (which oddly is also attractive to those who don’t have any and never will), and a conservative appeal for those who feel marginalized and fear change (but the party enacts economic and taxation policies to return to a imaginary past that never existed).

          • Mattressi says:

            In the same way that people who want the blue cake are deluded into thinking that their guy is going to end wars and end poverty, when, in fact, they’re going to prolong existing wars and even start new ones, while doing little for the poor and accepting huge donations from various businesses and organisations.

            It would be great if people would stop believing that the two parties are fundamentally different and realise that they’re just the same thing, they just differ in which rights they want to take away from you.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Mattressi – you’re absolutely right.

            It’s so (not) funny to see Obama and Romney fighting over petty issues, while they both want to continue the wars based on lies. They both want to eliminate the remaining personal freedom via Cyber Security acts and National Defense acts. They’re both sponsored by the same bank for god’s sake. (The one that gets bailouts and free money from the taxpayers, inflation and federal moneyprinter.)

            Bipartisan my ass. There’s no choice in US, just an illusion of choice.

          • Grape Flavor says:

            @Ultra Superior
            Actually, I’m pretty sure Obama wanted to end the war based on lies, he did end it, and he ended it reasonably successfully at that.

            Given the political predilections of RPS commenters, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority belief is “George Bush did 9/11″, and therefore the other one is based on lies too? Please explain.

            IIIRC, regardless of where you stand on the Afghan conflict, the rationale was presented clearly to the American people, and the majority of the American people and all mainstream political factions accepted the rationale. It is only recently that the support for the war effort is faltering, and the cause of that, is that Americans tend not to support wars in which they are not winning by their own criteria.

            But if you want to educate me, in RPS fashion, on how America just relishes killing brown people, and how the Taliban are just a bunch of nice guys who have the Afghan people’s rights and interests at heart, feel free.

        • Phantoon says:

          Personal and economic freedom are not the same thing. Especially as they want economic to apply to everyone, and personal to apply to white people that are straight and christian.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Actually they’re not far away. People get scared of “economic freedom” thinking of large banks and military industry doing wild things, while in fact, these entities can do evil much more easily in regulated economy, where they don’t have to compete for a customer – they get bailed out and they get all the wars they need etc. Small goverment and free markets, that’s what’s good. Obviously too big to fail companies don’t want that, big goverment is easy to create and maintain and gets them everything they need.

            Lotta muny from obedient taxpayers.

    • Shuck says:

      Given how willing the Democrats are to compromise (and abandon principles), it’s really a choice between red and purple. The liberal wing of the Democratic party is a) not that liberal, and b) doesn’t get much done. Actually, since the Republican party has taken a sharp turn to the right, thanks to the Tea Party, it’s more a choice between infra-red and purple. These days the biggest distinction between the two parties involves human rights, so the compromise has ended up being something like: “We’ll persecute the gays sometimes and then acknowledge some of their rights as well.”

      • Jason Moyer says:

        I think of Democrats less as the liberal party, and more as the populist party. As soon as the public’s opnion on something hits 51%, they’re all over it. Most people support gay rights? Bam, part of our platform. Within 5 years full legalization of marijuana will be extremely popular (it’s nearly 50/50 now and has been trending towards legalization for decades) and I guarantee you that the DNC will add that to their platform within 1-2 presidential cycles.

        I think the Democrats status as the populist party is why Reagan had to court every fringe group possible in order to beat Carter in 1980. Without religious fundamentalists, rednecks, CEO’s, etc the GOP has no chance to beat anyone at anything.

        • Aaax says:

          That’s not very true. Democratic preferences are based largely on votes from minorities like blacks and jews, so in reality they have less of a core message and do more like a picking groups one by one. Republicans, on the other hand, hinge on the white majority and even slight dip in popularity with this group can be disaster for them.

          This is not from my own head, but from book “Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics”.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            White males aren’t a majority though, at least in the sense that they make up far less than 50% of the population. Hell, there are very few things that would constitute a majority in this country; the only two I can think of offhand are women and christians.

          • Aaax says:

            In 2008 elections, 95% of total republican votes came from white people, while 65% of democratic votes. The same ratio is 45%/41% for men votes for reps/dems, and 8%/13% for poor people. So yeah, except for coloured minorities it seems to be only a few percent of difference, but in general minorites/discriminated like poor and woman vote for democrats, while majorities vote for republicans. I don’t doubt about gay vote.

            So both parties court different groups. I agree that if you mean “populist” as party for the common people as opposed to elites, democrats probably in practice are better(I say probably because dems receive and are backed by probably comparable number of elites as reps) but as you see rather large part of common people don’t agree and vote republicans.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        The problem with the Democrats are not that they are ideologically extreme, it is that they are pathologically corrupt.

        “Worker’s rights” means protecting at all costs the public employee unions who appreciate their spending largesse by donating heavily to their political campaigns. (“Deficit? What deficit? This spending isn’t “waste”, it goes straight back into my campaign! That’s not “waste”! Just raise taxes on everyone who contributes to the Republicans!”)

        “Consumer’s rights” means making lawsuits risk-free to bring and impossible to lose, creating a reckless legal environment that is the laughingstock of the Western world, and bringing up the cost of healthcare, because hey, it makes a fortune for the trial attorneys, who donate heavily to their political campaigns. (“Screw the undeserving rich, except, of course, the rich that contribute heavily to Democrats!” God bless you guys!”)

        I could go on. It is exceedingly rare for the Democratic Party to take any action whatsoever that does not directly benefit their political machine, or to oppose anything that they feel might threaten it. And they are more than willing to compromise their so-called core principles in pursuit of anything they think will help towards these ends. (“Gay marriage? No, that won’t help us get elected! Oh wait, it will? Of course! We were for it all along! LOL!”)

        Is this new or unique in politics? No. But it’s so pronounced, so craven, that after a while it’s hard to believe the Democrats believe in anything real, whatsoever, except the aggrandizement of their political power and the occasional pandering to the base, and that’s awfully hard to respect. At least the Republicans have the guts to stick to their batshit-insane positions, even as it becomes clear they are going to lose an whole lot of elections by not getting with the times.

        I’m not urging ideological extremism or unwillingness to compromise. I’m urging standing for something, maybe anything, besides your narrow political self-interest.

        • Nick says:

          And the Republicans are corrupt AND batshit insane.

          Shit either way and the partisan crap is just preventing anything positive from being done for the country as a whole.

        • belgand says:

          Nancy Pelosi is actually an excellent example of this. While elsewhere in the US political landscape she’s often criticized as some sort of liberal straw man I’m actually one of her constituents and most people in San Francisco hate her. She’s a career politician who habitually refuses to listen to or represent us and is more concerned with advancing her own career and party interests. It’s the same reason why we can’t actually get rid of her: she’s too powerful at a national level for anyone else to gain a foothold against her and the party money she brings to the table.

    • noodlecake says:

      Purple in America would probably balance out as the Conservative Party in Britain. The Republicans are SO right wing that mixing them with a slightly left of centre party like the Democrats is going to leave you with a still pretty right wing group. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of Americans were inconsiderate enough to want that.

  11. Bonedwarf says:

    Well thanks a lot, all of you, for derailing the discussion completely.

    Would have been nice to read about THE GAME AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES! But no, circle jerking over US politics.

    Idiots.

    • woodsey says:

      The Witcher 2 has some nice political stuff in it. Well, ‘nice’.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Sadly, it was bound to happen anyway considering the subject. Might as well embrace it.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      This is RPS, any suggestion of politics that are to the right of Vladmir Lenin gets pages of hysterical denunciation, and even if the topic wasn’t politics (like, I don’t know, video games), it must be instantly derailed to politics.

      It’s basically a hipster-esque mentality, where the goal is not to actually have a political conversation, but to one-up the other guy by being the angriest, snarkiest, left-iest guy in the room, for maximum e-peen.

      I’m prepared for any outraged comments accusing me of being a Republican or various other ridiculous nonsense. I’m not one, because that party tends to be increasingly bitter, dogmatic, prejudiced, scornful of compromise, moderation, and nuance, and sees everything in black and white.

      Much like the current trend of the political current on RPS.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Okay, so your views on politics aren’t black and white? Seems your views on the RPS readership certainly are.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        @Hmm-Hmm
        I’ve never hidden the fact that I frequently find the RPS comments, and occasionally the writers themselves, highly annoying. But obviously there’s enough I like that I stick around. It’s a love-hate thing.

        I just figure that if everyone else is vigorously expressing their opinions here I might as well, too.

        • noodlecake says:

          Wow. You’re clearly far more enlightened than everyone else here because you have neither left wing or right wing views. I should give up thinking about politics altogether because I clearly don’t have the sense that you have. I bet you’re the kind of person who says that they’re agnostic and therefore smarter than everyone else when talking about religion also.

          • Grape Flavor says:

            Look man, I don’t mind having a robust political conversation with a crowd that doesn’t neccesarily see things the way I do, but little of the political discourse on this site remotely resembles anything like an actual conversation.

            The authored political stuff are just preachy rants, and the comments are a furious circle-jerk where the goal seems to be who can be the most angry, sarcastic, and politically extreme.

            The fact that this annoys the hell out of those who just wanted a normal PC gaming site with a little more intelligence and personality, should not be surprising to anyone.

            And it seems to be getting worse week by week. I suspect more and more readers are going to take the editors’ suggestion that “if you don’t like it, then leave”, and that’s really kind of sad.

          • Wisq says:

            Frankly, I think their suggestion is more “if you can’t laugh a little, leave”.

            Honestly, the only actual political statement in the entire article is “As the disappointingly over-cautious incumbent takes on a billionaire charisma-vacuum for rights to the throne of America” in the intro paragraph.

            The whole “Ian Prejudice” is pure roleplay, as alluded to later in the article: “Roleplaying (i.e. as a psychopathic right-wing puritan) is the most entertaining way to play the game for sure, even if it’s not necessarily the best tactical move.”

            It also only lasts for three paragraphs (funny ones!) before the remaining nine paragraphs engage in a non-political discussion of the game mechanics.

            Yes, the header image is a bit trollish. But it’s also obviously a caricature. There’s no black female president up for election, and the white-as-paint guy — dressed in, what, a supergirl costume? — is unlike anyone actually running in 2012.

            So yeah. If you take one look at the article, don’t bother reading more than a paragraph or two, and immediately come on the comment threads and yell about how you’re never reading the site again … frankly, good riddance. Come back when you’ve learned to laugh a little.

          • noodlecake says:

            Even if RPS were worried about being politically biased, most British people know that the Republicans are insane to almost comedic proportions and to not satirize them would take an impossible amount of willpower. Even Margaret Thatcher, widely regarded as the most evil prime minister in recent history, refused to meet Sarah Palin because she thought she was completely bonkers.

          • kaiserbob says:

            Wisq: The black woman in the top picture is Condoleezza Rice.

            Dumb fuck.

        • Eukatheude says:

          So why exactly do you expect good political conversation on a gaming site?

          Aside from that, idiots are everywhere but the RPS comments section is, at the very least, the least retarded i can think of.

          • Grape Flavor says:

            I expect when I go to a site about PC gaming, that it’s about PC gaming. This is the only gaming site where politics are furiously crammed down your throat to such a degree that it’s impossible to avoid it.

            This is clearly the way the RPS staff wants it, but I can tell I’m not the only one who feels it really drags the site down.

      • Delusibeta says:

        You also have to note that American is a deeply right wing country. I’d be prepared to argue that the Democrats is roughly equivalent to the UK’s Conservative party. Subsequently, I’d imagine that what the Europeans would call “left wing” (as demonstrated in this article) would look downright communist to some on the American right wing.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Indeed. What a sh(Fired – Ed.)

  12. RayTheFourth says:

    Hey I’ve been reading this site as one of main sources of video game news for a longtime now. I found the image you used as the lead in to the article just really insulting. I have friends across the political specctrum and I am born and raised in Washington, DC, so as you can imagine I am inundated by politics. The last thing I want, even for a game on politics, is to see that my favorite video game news site going out and denigrating a whole section of the country. I don’t much care what the authors personal political beliefs are, but whatever they are I don’t see why the author decided to turn not only the lead in image but various parts of the article into an attack on political belief. If this becomes more of a pattern I will stop visiting the site, much to my chagrin. I doubt my little comment will effect anything, but I thought the admins and writers of this site should know that they have visitors that really don’t appreciate this sort of uncalled for attack.

  13. RayTheFourth says:

    To Gira (sorry for some reason the reply button keeps on sending me back to the first comment page and top of the article): Actually, like any good district resident, I’m a liberal. The problem is, especially during a campaign season, many of us are well inundated in political news and analysis, the last place I would like to see some journalist opine on his political ideology is when reading about my favorite hobby. What makes it worse is that it bring up politics in a way that denigrates a large segment of the population, including friends and family of mine. I don’t normally comment on video game websites, but this was just uncalled for.

    • Reddin says:

      This may not be the game for you..

    • RogerMellie says:

      I think it’s a fair point you raise; we don’t expect jingoism when there’s an article about a WWII FPS or whatever. Here, it didn’t really raise my hackles as it’s presented as a roleplaying decision, though I’m sure more than a few people were left thinking that it represented an exaggerated version of the writer’s opinions on the more unusual parts of the GOP. RPS isn’t shy about bringing in its opinions on various topics, but the discussions about things such as DRM, M&KB v Gamepad, Diablo 3, casual v hardcore etc are what we expect when we click the button. Politics is always way murkier.

  14. Aaax says:

    Let me tell you this suprising fact: results of presidential election in USA are not very dependent on money, once you get past the primaries. There seem to be a saturation point, over which spending more money is probably useless and all candidates seem to reach that point always. Much more important seem to be personality of candidate and political-social climate that year and other situational factors.

    Another important fact is that elections in USA matter less than in other democracies.

    Source: Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics

    • RogerMellie says:

      That’s nice and all but it still means to get into the race you need to be filthy rich. Limiting candidates to those who are either independently rich or those who can attract generous donations is pretty far from the ideal no?

      • Aaax says:

        Yeah, I think the important point here is that elections in USA are privately funded and organized. If election were sponsored by state, well… here in czech rep the only important election are to parlament(equivalent to house in US) which is funded mostly by state, while president is elected by parlament. The result is that parlament is about as corrupts as house in US, while president(we had 2 different presidents so far, so not conclusive) is some party boss. So not very different from US.

        If you are intereseted in some better system, I recommend you read eg. about Sweden or institutional economics.

  15. Shiny says:

    Oo, look, a chance to insult people we disagree with in the guise of an article on gaming! Let’s do it! And then mourn the lack of civility in politics (which is all the fault of those right-wing psychopaths!)

  16. Ashbery76 says:

    Keep your left wing nutjob views away from this gaming site.Thank you.

  17. Dances to Podcasts says:

    i just reread the post and the mocking seems to be fully equal opportunity. The right wing just comes up a bit more since that’s the side the player’s on.
    I guess right-wingers just don’t have the sense of humour. Psychopaths.

    • Mattressi says:

      I think the problem is that the stereotype of right-wingers is that they’re racist, stupid and want to see poor people suffer. The majority of them will be offended by that because they aren’t racist and don’t want to see poor people suffer. It’s just that they also don’t believe in “equal opportunity” (which translates to the government forcing businesses to hire a certain number of people based SOLELY on their skin colour or gender) and believe that most people on social security can help themselves, and that the rest can be helped by charity if they ask for it. This is then somehow turned into them being ‘bigoted’ and rich.

      The worst insult the right can come up with for the left is that they’re communists. Which, really, probably isn’t far from the truth for quite a few of them and for the majority it still isn’t anywhere near as insulting as being called a racist.

      This is coming from someone on neither side (nor even the same country). And no, I didn’t address the validity of the “stupid” insult…it really applies to both sides.

      • noodlecake says:

        Unfortunately most people on social security do need it and would die without it. There is a direct correlation between social security cuts and suicide rates. Without wealth redistribution only middle class and upper class kids would get to go to University. I wouldn’t be at University now if it wasn’t for Liberal ideals and I would probably dead by now if there hadn’t been support there in the form of welfare when I went through all my social anxiety problems. When I get my qualification and start my career I’m never going to vote conservative because by doing so I will be taking away the opportunities I had from young working class kids.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The dilemma is that even if the constituency is made up of perfectly nice human beings, IT STILL IS THEIR FAULT if they choose a party and media organ that blasts “marriage should be between a man and a woman” / racial prejudice and hatred / pro-gun so we can shoot people moar better / abortion is murder bollocks 24/7.

      You know how you can escape being reduced to a stereotype? And that goes for both sides of the aisle: Stop voting for people who EMBODY the shit and demand change NOW. Only go back to voting for when nice people step up for it.

      And the very same for the retard levels of punditry BOTH the left and right have come to in media.
      The whole system has become a rotten apple of bias and slander, and as someone who lives in a place that, at least for the most part, still has actually objective journalism(and not 24/7 filler/pundit cycles), it boggles the mind what goes on “over there”.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        @RegisteredUser
        “a party and media organ that blasts “marriage should be between a man and a woman” / racial prejudice and hatred / pro-gun so we can shoot people moar better / abortion is murder bollocks 24/7″

        See, that’s the thing though. Do you really believe many conservatives are pro- “shooting people”? Do you really believe conservative ideology is inextricable from racism? I’m largely pro-choice, but do you really believe there is any significant difference between a fetus the day before it is born, and the day after? These things are complicated.

        Maybe you just thought it was clever to say it like that.

        There’s actual commentary, and then there’s actual satire, and then there’s just trading in grotesque, over-the-top stereotyping and hyperbole that makes it look like you forgot to take your pills. Much of what I see on RPS is the third type.

        This is why I find it hard to take much of the professed “left wing” seriously. Not because I have any affinity for the right’s way of looking at things, but because I find the left wing to be often gross hypocrites and charlatans with no self awareness. They talk endlessly about “hate”, and then they say the most mindlessly over-the-top and hateful things about anyone who dares to disagree with them, or challenges the wisdom of their chosen policies. They talk about “prejudice”, and then you see how every aspect of their worldview is marred by systemic bias for and against chosen groups. They talk about “reason”, as they cling to their dogma and sacred cows just as feverishly as those on the right, even in the face of contrary evidence.

        Most of the right wingers I’ve met tend to be decent, honest, humble people, down to earth. Yes, they often have irrational, superstitious religious beliefs and are unduly uncomfortable around anything to do with homosexuality. Yes, they are patriotic/nationalistic in a way that strikes the more liberal-minded of us as cheesy and overblown. So? There are plenty of people in the world who have beliefs that are even worse, and yet the silence from many of those who condemn the Republicans is deafening.

        Is my experience anecdotal? Certainly. Are there plenty of nice, thoughtful people out there? Yes. Are there plenty of outright bigots and crazies? That also is true.

        But it’s also why I can’t trade in this two-minutes-hate style hysteria when someone expresses an opinion that is deemed as heretical by the chosen arbiters of our modern political discourse.

        The world, and virtually nothing in it, is black and white. The sooner humans work together to find that truth, to find that nuance, that balance, instead of vilifying all those who profess beliefs counter to our existing, arbitrary, religion-like ideologies, the better.

  18. MythArcana says:

    I think I just threw up in my mouth. Yeah, this game isn’t for me…and the real life version is even ten times worse. I’ll just throw in my two cents and say this; it’s monkey time all over again four years later.

    Edit: I just noticed that Stardock put his out? Really? Wow. Well, add another monkey to the barrel I guess.

  19. Treymoney says:

    It’s his gaming site, Ashbury. You’re free to write about whatever views you want on your own gaming site. Isn’t freedom of speech a wonderful thing?

  20. RayTheFourth says:

    Well considering the authors response, a video clip, I guess I wont be visiting anymore. I would have thought numerous comments from readers would have at least made him rethink his approach to the game. But to come out and say, essentially, readers be damned, well I guess he is making his feelings very clear.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Oh, stop the self-martyrdom posturing. Nobody’s driving you out. There is a difference in opinion and instead of not patronizing the site or putting forth an argument, you’re just making a fuss and painting yourself as a victim.

      Edit: Actually your previous post is pretty reasonable. I guess I’m just an over-reacting douchebag! You still come off as rather whiny though.

    • 2helix4u says:

      Don’t slip on the tears on the way out.

  21. SoLongRPS says:

    Well, RPS, I have been a long-time reader of the website, for covering gaming news well without much restraint and with honesty, but I must say, with the out-right piling of personal beliefs into this story that are completely unrelated to the subject (i.e., whether Political Machine 2012 is any good or fun to play based on the GAMEPLAY mechanics) but only serve to communicate Alec’s opinions of the GOP, whatever they are, is enough for me to stop visiting the site. If I wanted Alec’s left-wing analysis of the GOP, the American system of politics, or what the rest of the world views America as, I would visit Msnbc, mediamatters, listen to Rachel Maddow, or visit any number of websites where such views are expressed. I am not trying to change RPS, as reading the comments section shows that there are more than enough people who want their gaming news and left-wing political commentary served in the same dish. There are more than enough objective and honest gaming news websites out there for me to continue getting this information from some other source.

    Also, Alec, way to keep it classy with that video response to RayTheFourth. Your juvenile treatment of a reader who was just offering his personal view (same as you weren’t afraid to do in the article) is just another reason for me to leave.

    I am simply saying, this article is the reason you have lost a long-time reader RPS. So long! I prefer to have my political commentary and gaming news served in separate dishes, thanks very much!

    • Torgen says:

      Why is it the supposedly macho rightwingers are the drama queens and crybabies whenever their talking points are disputed?

      • Wisq says:

        No idea. But keep it up, Alec!

        As a Canadian, I find it humorous that Americans would come to a British gaming site, click on an article about an inherently political game, and not expect that whatever political commentary there is will be more to the left than their own views.

        You Americans do realise that your supposedly left-wing “Democrats” party occupies roughly the same part of the political spectrum as most other countries’ right-wing “Conservatives” party, right?

        • Torgen says:

          I like the touch where he makes a new account for this particular attention-whoring. That way he can keep posting here afterwards after this tantrum.

        • choie says:

          This American comes here specifically because the witty, smart, UK-based writers are leftier than the majority of our Democratic party (heck some of your Tories are leftier than some of our Democrats). Came for the intelligent game discusssion, stayed for the politics and social commentaries.

          So keep up the good work, Meer. So many Republicans are splendid at vitriol and bullying, but can’t take the slightest bruise without a whinge-fest. And they call us wimps.

    • jaheira says:

      It always strikes me as odd when someone posts to say they won’t be reading the site any more. If you’re about to leave forever why bother?

    • RegisteredUser says:

      He’s writing all that like its a bad thing.

  22. Snargelfargen says:

    @Grape Flavor

    Look, I fixed your post for you!

    “I expect when I go to a site about PC gaming, that it’s about gameplay mechanics, without subjective OPINIONS and experiential anecdotes. This is the only gaming site where OPINIONS are furiously crammed down your throat to such a degree that it’s impossible to avoid it.”

    Gamespot has a nice 1-10 rating system which might suit your needs a bit better.

    Edit: Reply fail, but really this applies to everyone who thinks opinions and *gasp* politics are not part of a critic’s purview. Note I say critic, and not journalist because there is a big difference.

    • Shiny says:

      I’d love to see what all the people defending the article and video response would do if the politics involved had been on the other side.

      I personally don’t like to see snide political insults worked into any article on games, no matter who the target is. As has been said, if I want that, I can go to other non-game places where it’s done more cleverly and entertainingly.

      Juvenile cheap shots aside, this site’s writing has mostly devolved into narcissistic tripe. The writers spend so much time writing about their own perceived cleverness and parading their half-witticisms like a child proudly showing her scribbled “art” to mommy. I like to come here to find interesting games and topics, which the staff does a good job of locating and picking out, but this whole gonzo New Games Journalism I me me my hey look at me! thing rubs me the wrong way.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        “I’d love to see what all the people defending the article and video response would do if the politics involved had been on the other side.”

        All politics is partisan. The same people who pretended to be outraged when people compared Bush to Hitler, are now comparing Obama to Hitler. The same people who were comparing Bush to Hitler, are now pretending to be outraged when those other people compare Obama to Hitler. Politics and hypocrisy are like the ocean and wetness.

        Don’t get me wrong here, you can’t just apply moral equivalency to everything. Often you need to take a stand. Some people are just plain wrong, and you don’t have to pretend like their view is equal to a logical one.

        But as I said, hypocrisy is an essential element of partisan politics. If your enemy does something that you can attack him on, play it up endlessly. If one of your guys does the same thing, minimize it, it’s no big deal. Never try to be “fair” or “even-handed” – you’re in this to win, after all! Politics isn’t a tea party.

        “I personally don’t like to see snide political insults worked into any article on games, no matter who the target is. As has been said, if I want that, I can go to other non-game places where it’s done more cleverly and entertainingly.”

        It’s their site, not ours, and we do have to respect that. And Alec Meer is just as entitled to voice his opinion, on his site, as any of us are.

        All you can do is put in your 2 cents on what you’d personally rather have the site be like, and to their credit the RPS writers don’t seem to mind people doing that.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Well dang, I agree with everything you just said!

          Some of my frustration (and that of others in the comments, I think) stems from confusing arguments that replace “I don’t like politics in my game reviews” with “I don’t think politics should have a place in game reviews.” Apologies if I misunderstood.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        New Games Journalism definitely brings it’s own set of problems to the table. Seems like it often relies on presenting a strong personality with interesting or controversial opinions. That’s always going to rub someone the wrong way.

        I definitely prefer it to traditional game reviews, with their thin veneer of impartiality and opaque scoring systems, but there are also times when I’m overwhelmed by just how much of a tool a writer can be.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Politics as a system is fucked up, and especially so in places like America, Italy(thank god Berlusconi’s reign is over there at least), etc.

      It LITERALLY is the job of the media and journalists to point this out and counterbalance all the FUD.

      It just has come to a point where in the US they cater TO politics 24/7 instead and have become part of a huge pundit army for the most part.

      We don’t need less, we need more fingerpointing and WTFing until something changes(for the better, ideally).

    • noodlecake says:

      @Shine So what you want is games reporting devoid of personality and humour? There are plenty of game critics like that. TotalBiscuit (who I am genuinely a big fan of actually!) isn’t remotely funny but he’ll cover games in a very analytical and informative way for you. Or better yet, maybe you could start your own game site where nobody voices opinions at all and there are just bullet points and pie charts containing cold hard facts.

  23. liberty338 says:

    Liberty should be the direct ends to all of your deliberations. For where liberty is lost, tyranny shall be found.
    The following is an excerpt from the introduction of “Defining Liberty” by Ron Paul

    “America’s history and political ethos are all about liberty. The Declaration of Independence declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights, but notice how both life and the pursuit of happiness also depend on liberty as a fundamental bedrock of our country. We use the word almost as a cliche. But do we know what it means? Can we recognize it when we see it? More importantly, can we recognize the opposite of liberty when it is sold to us as a form of freedom?

    Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others. This means, above all else, keeping government out of our lives. Only this path leads to the unleashing of human energies that build civilization, provide security, generate wealth, and protect the people from systematic rights violations. In this sense, only liberty can truly ward off tyranny, the great and eternal foe of mankind.

    The definition of liberty I use is the same one that was accepted by Thomas Jefferson and his generation. It is the understanding derived from the great freedom tradition, for Jefferson himself took his understanding from John Locke (1632-1704). I use the term “liberal” without irony or contempt, for the liberal tradition in the true sense, dating from the late Middle Ages until the early part of the twentieth century, was devoted to freeing society from the shackles of the state. This is an agenda I embrace, and one that I believe all Americans should embrace.

    To believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions.”

    The preceding excerpt was taken from http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul734.html

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