A few months ago, my studio Persuasive Games made a simple newsgame for CNN, which they published as Presidential Pong. For those of you unfamiliar with the genre, newsgames are a simple type of political game akin to the editorial cartoon.
Presidential Pong wasn't the best newsgame we've ever done (that one was probably Airport Security, a game about the arbitrary nature of TSA screening). But it was effective enough. Released right around the first Presidential debate, the game was intended both to introduce the primary candidates and to satirize the very idea of debate. In Pong, players return tennis volleys. In Presidential Pong, they return campaign volleys. Politics is, as ever, optional.
Since then, we've been getting regular abusive emails and phone calls from Ron Paul supporters. Here are a few choice words from emails we've received.
Censorship or Age Discrimination? Check FEC rules on corporate funding of candidates! one would think that with all the internet hype about ron paul, he would have made it into your game before at least half of the candidates you put on. stinks! Why cant I put Ron Paul up there and watch him pong with the best of them? Where's Ron Paul? I know how the business works - you've probably already got paid for it, and it's as finished as it is going to get
The reason, by the way, is that Ron Paul wasn't going to appear in the first debates. So we didn't include him in the game, which was about those debates. CNN has continued to promote the game on their main Politics page, thus the confusion. The phone calls are really best, because they just don't let up. Even when we explain the situation, they just accuse us of being Ron Paul hatas.
Why the ire, fair Ron Paul supporters? How could a peace-loving libertarian invoke such wrath? Perhaps Ron Paul fanciers are just that devoted. Or perhaps Ron Paul is indeed the Internet's candidate, the Howard Dean of '08.
In the game, all of the candidates have a power-up commensurate with their best features as candidates. I suppose if I were to add Ron Paul to the game now, his would unleash a fury of emails and telephone calls.
Presidential Pong [CNN.com]