Parents' Guide to

The Political Machine 2016

By John Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Easy-to-play, fun-to-learn presidential campaign sim.

Game Windows 2016
The Political Machine 2016 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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This political simulation is very easy to pick up, especially as a family title. It's colorful, cartoonish, and playful, despite some of the sensitive issues covered. Campaigns don't take very long, and it's fun to experiment with running vastly different campaigns against vastly different opponents. Surprisingly customizable character creation and game creation also up the replay value. The game's interface is intuitive and clean, and anywhere you click, useful information pops up. As a wonderful primer for this year's presidential election and the polemics dominating the debates, the game encourages learning about all the issues, from big government to the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. For some, the lighthearted tone may seem to trivialize sensitive topics, but each issue is fairly and equally presented from both sides of the aisle. Players can also play against their peers or against their parents. It's easy to set up a private match or join public matches, although the latter does open up players to offensive language, and it's not uncommon to encounter public matches with inappropriate titles. Hopefully, the next iteration of the game in 2020 will add debates and the option to run as an Independent, but for kids interested in the mechanics of government, The Political Machine 2016 provides a fun entry into the world of politics.

Game Details

  • Platform: Windows
  • Subjects: Social Studies : citizenship, government, power structures, the economy
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning : applying information, collecting data, decision-making, strategy, Responsibility & Ethics : fiscal responsibility, integrity, learning from consequences
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: Stardock
  • Release date: February 4, 2016
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Activism
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Drug Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violent References.
  • Last updated: August 24, 2016

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