A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is a simulation that can teach families the ins and outs of the political system in the USA. Both Republican and Democratic parties are represented here with current members, as well as party members from years past. The game focuses on current events; and each state in the union is fairly represented with regards to their political leanings.
What's it about?
THE POLITICAL MACHINE 2008 is a very timely political simulation game that follows different presidential candidates through the campaign trail as they attempt to sway the general population enough to win the election. The game is played from an overhead view of the USA with each state as a selectable place. The details on the political leanings of a specific state as well as what particular issues are important to the people of that state are shown in a realistic manner. After you select the candidate you wish to represent, be it Obama or McCain or even an entirely new candidate of your own creation, you choose how to run the campaign. Do you play rough and smear you opponent in key states, or do you focus purely on the positive aspects?
Controlling the game is quite simple once the slightly steep learning curve is overcome. Each turn represents a week of time where your candidate can fly to any state she or he wishes, and once there choose from the many options presented. Making speeches on key topics are one option, as are building outreach centers to win endorsements or starting an advertising campaign to appeal to the local population. As the weeks go on, visiting states with more Electoral College votes and performing the right action is key to winning the election. However each action costs money so you must take time to hold fundraisers to pay for the campaign, or else the election will be not be within your grasp.
Is it any good?
The Political Machine succeeds both as an educational tool as well as a great strategy game for anyone who is a fan of the genre. The level of detail is, at first, a little bit overwhelming. The key to success is to spend enough time learning what actions cause the best reaction from the in-game populous. Playing through this title will increase one's knowledge of the electoral system and the issues that are important to this country's citizens. The 2004 version of The Political Machine successfully indicated that Ohio was going to be a vital state to the election, far earlier than anyone else realized that was the case. Can you play this game to predict the outcome of the upcoming campaign?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about current hot topics in the Presidential race. Is the economy a big priority? Or is changing our environmental impact a much more pressing issue. Parents can also talk to their children about how different campaigns are run, be it with dirty politics or with a less confrontational method, and which works better and why?
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