Election years always seem to drive our country a little crazy and 2016 was no exception. In fact, last year’s election makes nearly every other one look tame in comparison. FBI investigations, sexual assault allegations and Russian hacking are just a the tip of the political iceberg that seemingly sunk our nations collective sanity. When all was said and done, we’re now left with a new president who, like him or hate him, is undeniably unlike any previous Commander in Chief. Here are four games that remind us that no matter how crazy things get, they can always get a little crazier.
Hail to the Chimp
Founded in 2003 by Bungie co-founder Alexander Seropian, Wideload Games is responsible for this bizarre Xbox 360 and PS3 title. Hail to the Chimp pits up to 4 players against each other as they compete in a series of mini games to be named the anthropomorphic “President of the Animal Kingdom.” The lackluster mini games themselves make about as much sense as an animal monarchy needing a president, but are not solely to blame for the game’s lukewarm reception. Attempting to capitalize on the fact that the game was slated for release during an election year, the Hail to the Chimp advertising campaign was modeled after real life political ad campaigns, which explains why many people chose to ignore it completely.
Metal Wolf Chaos
Before FromSoftware was responsible for the repeated deaths of millions of Hunters, it created one of the few Japan exclusives for the original Xbox. Metal Wolf Chaos puts players in the role of fictitious American President, Michael Wilson who, for seemingly no real reason, is said to be a distant relative of actual American president, Woodrow Wilson. It’s the late 21st century so it’s obviously a time of great civil and economic unrest in America. As many vice presidents have been known to to during times of difficulty, VP Richard Hawk leads a coup to take over the country for himself. Luckily before he’s captured, Wilson manage to escape the White House in his trusty “Metal Wolf” mech suit, thus beginning his one man war against the evil forces of Dick. Of course, with a narrative this bombastically patriotic, the game culminates with a battle against Dick in outer space in order to prevent total nuclear annihilation. Despite never seeing a western release, Metal Wolf Chaos gained a cult status after being discovered by western audiences and is highly sought after by collectors today. Strangely enough, the game is playable without importing a Japanese copy, by way of a demo, hidden on the game disc of The Official Xbox Magazine’s Holiday 2004 issue.
Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill
Historians agree that 1993 marks the height of our country’s obsession with presidential pets, as made clear by this SNES title from Realtime Associates. The Clinton family’s feline, Socks, has witnessed foreign spies stealing nuclear launch information and must journey across Washington D.C. to warn the Clintons. Along the way, Socks must avoid perilous threats such as the press, the Secret Service (confusingly, both of whom would presumably help Socks rather than hinder him), and caricatures of nefarious political figures such as the famously dog-loving Richard Nixon. Sadly, that undoubtedly large audience of cat-loving, politically savvy SNES fans never got to play an official copy of Sock the Cat Rocks the Hill as it never saw an official release. Although development of the game appeared to have been completed before it was shown off at CES in 1993, the game’s publisher, the U.S. branch of Kaneko, closed shortly thereafter, dooming this satirical masterpiece into a purgatory of obscurity. There is light at the end of the litter box though, as a Kickstarter campaign aimed at getting the title officially released in 2017 was successfully funded.
2088: An Oval Office Odyssey
The first “presidential” title that I personally ever played is one that has truly been lost to time. 2088: An Oval Office Odyssey is the very definition of obscure. It existed solely on a single issue of “Microzine,” a floppy disk based Scholastic educational magazine for the Apple II. A pure adrenaline rush compared to the other games on the disk (Keyboarding, Roundup & Estimator), Oval Office Odyssey was a text adventure game that put you in the role of the country’s first incumbent kid president during re-election. With guidance from your VP, (which depending on your choices could be either a human, robot or dolphin), you must guide your country through turbulent times, deciding on the most important issues of 2088, like what planet the World Series should be played on, dolphin public education, robot freedom of expression, and most importantly, our country’s reaction to the world’s first alien visitors. Much like Oregon Trail or Number Munchers, the game was incredibly fun if played in school, but mind-numbingly dull if played on your own time.
Have you played any of these bizarre “political” games? If so, what did you think of them? Are there any we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @BagoGames!