In 2004, amidst the bombardment of political news stories, journalists were jubilant to report on JibJab, a small digital entertainment company and their presidential election animation “This Land.” The video, a kind of stop animation using cut-outs of both George W. Bush and John Kerry, had the two presidential contenders jumping and moving around while singing a parody of the standard, “This Land is Your Land.” The satirical duet had the two politicians melodically calling each other out on some of the lighter gripes America had with both of them. It was a eureka moment for the press, who always try to find “the lighter side” of politics. It was monumental for JibJab who had now staked their claim in the land of online political parody.
The 2008 election for president saw a rush of wannabe content providers attempting to get reported as “the lighter side.” Many online Flash developers came up with games to parody or protest the candidates. The games capitalized on the angst and frustration during the media force-feeding of political stories. One game, Election Smackdown 2008, literally had the gamer smacking the various White House players. The game required very little strategy to play, yet players returned to get their fill. It just became fun to smack them all and not worry about the score.
A less violent 2008 game, Battleground States 2008, gamified the Electoral College and had its gamers trying to win over delegates and convert as many states to red or blue (other parties were represented in the game also.) Delegates were spread across a map much like the armies in Risk. Simulated die rolls at the end of the turns determined if the delegates were successful. This battlefield concept will most-likely be resurrected in the coming 2012 race.
The in-between election years brought the world other political parody Flash games. Between 2004 and 2008, the World Wide Web saw a slew of dancing Bush games. The genre continued after 2008 with a dancing Hillary game. Dress-up Flash games, usually popular with pre-teen girls entered the mix once the former fashionable Alaskan governor got in the 2008 race. A popular President Obama dress-up game was created after 2008. It came complete with African, Rastafarian, and Black Panther wardrobes among others.
Now, along with the eager press, game developers and online video makers excitedly await the results of the 2012 Republican primaries. Who will be a bigger draw? JibJab has already hinted to its upcoming fun in the 2011 Buh-Bye video now showing on their site. As far as the online Flash games go, do we really want to dress-up any of these Republicans?
The games mentioned here can be played on addictinggames.com.