John McCain

What If the Presidential Candidates Were Videogames?

We already covered the candidates' stand on videogame legislation. But what if the candidates themselves were games? Game With a Brain provides the voting guide for geeks: Barack Obama - Final Fantasy VII (PS One)

In fact, while Final Fantasy VII is often cited as one of the best games ever made, you are likely to find just as many who decry it as the most over hyped ever. These vocal gamers often note that while Final Fantasy VII got all the headlines, much better RPGs were being released on the PlayStation-such as Suikoden.

Hillary Clinton - Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES)

By the third title’s release gamers were no longer sure they wanted more Donkey Kong Country. Worse still, hindsight had caught up with the first two titles and they no longer seemed quite so perfect or revolutionary. By the third title’s release gamers were seeking change, and some mild gameplay gimmicks were not enough. Still, many consider it the best of the series.

Mike Huckabee - Bible Adventures (NES)

The actual game may not impress you much upon first play, but there is a certain fun, winning charm to its weirdness. Again, much like Mike Huckabee.

(Does anyone know if the game had squirrels as power-ups?)

John McCain - Desert Bus: Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors (Sega CD, unreleased)

A bus driving simulator, Desert Bus tasked you with driving a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in eight hours of real time. The game could not be paused, and the bus occasionally would veer to the right. So, like the Arizona senator you set out on a grueling long journey (to your party’s nomination) and occasionally veer off to the right (frightening potential independent voters). Uncanny.


Yahoo's Summary on the Candidate's Stand on Videogames

Super Tuesday is upon us and Ben Silverman of Yahoo! Games wrote up a summary on how the top three candidates from both parties stand on video game legislation. Yeah, wars and immigration and stuff are certainly important, but who wants to take away your Pokemons? But then again this is also about how the frontrunners intend to deal with the intertwining topics of violent media and free speech. Democrats Hillary Clinton Despite her good intentions, Hillary's scary track record might be enough to dissuade gamers from putting another Clinton in office.

Barack Obama Obama is more skeptical of how violent games affect behavior than his rivals, and in turn seems less inclined to legislate right off the bat. That should ring true with gamers.

John Edwards
 Edwards is the only candidate willing to outright commend the ESRB's actions, and while he tempers that with a warning, he puts more trust in the industry than anyone else. If you favor the ESRB, you likely favor Edwards.

Republicans John McCain
 Compared to his more conservative opponents, McCain is a viable option for Republican gamers, although his ties to Lieberman are worth noting.

Mitt Romney
 Obscenity laws? Societal cesspools? Unless you're wracked with gamer guilt, Romney is one hard sell.

Mike Huckabee
 He's no Mitt Romney. That's gotta count for something.

Yes, yes, Ron Paul is missing, despite him being the ONLY candidate we can depend on to NOT regulate the Internet and guarantee our First Amendment Rights...

(via gamepolitics)


'Message driven candidate sites'

'Message driven candidate sites' Steve Petersen looked at a new type of candidate sites over at The Bivings Report this week. The websites, which I assume we can label 'Message driven candidate sites', are attempts by some of the 2008 presidential hopefuls to run targeted mini campaigns around specific issues.

Petersen writes:

"Some of the 2008 Presidential hopefuls are campaigning on multiple official sites. In these cases, the candidates are selecting issues on which they're strong"

"This strategy has potential as it enables campaigns to make headway by creating a special site to build a community around a specific issue and to project a clear message that can standalone from the rest of the campaign platform".

It seems like Petersen only has been able to locate four sites of the kind. These are:

Bill Richardson's No Troops Left Behind

Joe Biden's Head to Head 08

John McCain's Mitt vs. Facts (not yet launched)

Joe Biden's Plan for Iraq

Personally I found that while these sites might not be exceedingly interesting to spend time on, they do actually present the information that I, as a voter (had I been one), am looking for on the particular issues – either through videos or just plain text. Some of the sites allow the visitors to sign a petition, other let the readers compare a candidates view on an issue to the other candidates' view on the same issue, like Biden's Head to Head 08. All in all I like the idea of these sites and, as Petersen says, it will be interesting to see how they will affect the election".

- Espen

Blog Campaigning: 3. The medium that is revolutionising political campaigning

The medium that is revolutionising political campaigning

New technologies started to change the nature of political campaigns already in the 1960s, when computers for the first time were used to assist candidates with database management (Stockwell 2005, p. 231). “Computers now power most of the political technologies in use today” (Stockwell 2005, p. 62), assisting campaigns “automate fund-raising, control campaign finances, manage the phone system for opinion polling then analyse the results, produce direct mail, ensure most effective bookings for advertising, organise volunteers, carry out research on opponents and their policies and even provide assistance in telephone marketing to key voters” (Shannon in Stockwell 2005, p. 62). The creation of the Internet in the early 1990s brought a whole new paradigm to the technological advantages of the computer (Stockwell 2005, p. 231) allowing campaigns to interact with voters in a way never before experienced: “the first major technological advance since the telephone to allow real reciprocity in a two-way flow of information” (Stockwell 2005, p. 231).

Margolis (in Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 3) claims that the Internet was first used for campaign purposes in the 1992 U.S. presidential race, but it was not until the 1996 election that voters experienced concerted cyber-campaigning with Bob Dole and Bill Clinton both running high profile websites. The 1996 election therefore marked the start of a new era for cyber-campaigning. More and more campaigns started investing time and money on online technologies, and it did not take long before websites became a standard part of every political campaign’s communication strategy. However, as with every technological invention, it took time to understand how the website could optimise a campaign’s message management. Overall, the early web campaigns were accused of recycling offline content to an online environment, not taking advantage of the interactive capabilities that the web presented (Stone in Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 4).

“Sites typically comprised a photograph, some biographical information, a policy or position statement and contact details that sometimes incorporated an email address” (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 4).

The first indication of the medium’s power to influence an election outcome came with the surprise victory of independent candidate Jesse Ventura in the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial race (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 4).

“Ventura’s use of the web and email was widely credited with enlarging his support base, particularly among younger voters and thereby delivering him the crucial extra votes needed to win office” (Fineman in Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 4).

John McCain’s success in raising money from online donations through his website in the Republican presidential primaries of 2000 gave him widespread coverage in mainstream media, and provided a further boost for Internet campaigning (Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 4). But for most commentators it was the emergence of Howard Dean in 2003 and his innovative use of social networking sites, in particular the blog, that really signalled the coming age of the Internet campaign (Hindman 2005, Wolf 2004, Williams and Weinburg 2004 in Gibson & McAllister 2005, p. 5).

This chapter will further look at how blogs have merged into the landscape of political communication and identify some aspects necessary to comprehend to understand the medium’s role in the modern election campaign. The chapter will answer questions such as: What is a blog? How did blogs enter the political arena? Why can a blog serve as a useful communication instrument for political campaigns? And how can blogs influence politics?