Archive for August, 2012

Game On! A Stealth Public Interest Punch in VOTE!!! from Epic Games

August 27, 2012

Vote from Chair

Taking the axiom, “politics is a blood sport” to new levels Chair, publishers of the Infinity Blade series, have created a mini-game based on the 2012 election called “Vote!!! The Game,” which gives voters a rare opportunity to punch something other than just a ballot.  The game is a lot of fun, appropriately cheesy, but also includes something of a stealth public-interest punch.

Wielding a set of menacing microphones, partisan players choose between being President Obama, or Mitt Romney as they jab, jostle and drop-kick their way through a series of smack-down presidential debates.  Win the debate, and you get to “vote” for your candidate.  At this point, President Obama is winning the “election” handily.  In the real-world, it’s statistically tied.

Oval Office

Pummeling their way to victory, winners of these smash-mouth styled debates rack up votes along the way, and earn credits in the form of campaign cash. Accrue enough cash on hand, and users can upgrade their wonky warriors’ wardrobe and weaponry to include Mitt Romney, clad in a Karate Gi, pounding on the president with the business end of the U.S. constitution, or Mr. Obama, round-housing his Republican rival while doing his “Running Man” victory dance dressed as Apollo Creed (we’ll spare you the sight but here’s an example).

Tap the Coins

While the app is free, there’s an option to buy coins, which will help your candidate dominate his opponent.  Although it isn’t mandated, for a modest 99 cents in-app purchase (don’t worry, you can buy more in bulk), supporters of Obama or Romney can extend the life of their political prize fighters simply by picking up a little universal healthcare coverage, courtesy of the game’s presidential perks menu.


Packed with some serious E. Pluribus Umph (sorry, this is too easy), this patriotic pugilism app has a clean, glossy interface, with intuitive player controls that make it easy for gamers to toggle. There’s corny sounding presidential debate theme music, crisp animation sequences, and for the political novice, a link to a voter registration form.  In addition, there is a Voter Resources section that offers not only registration but links to Project Vote Smart (we link to them in our apps when candidates’s websites are not available) and the Video Game Voters Network political action committee (gamers unite!).  It’s a sneaky punch we can lean our chins into.

Voter Resources

So, whether it’s President Obama saying he’s going to, “Barack your socks off,” as he delivers a dizzying array of fresh uppercuts to the former Massachusetts governor’s prominent chin, or Mitt Romney whacking the president upside the head with a campaign lawn sign, “Vote!!! the Game” dishes out one hell of a political class kicking.


VP Announcement Look Back: There’s Still Not An App for Beating Chuck Todd

August 23, 2012

Do you have trouble sleeping? You are not alone. Want to look 10 years younger? Guess what? By inserting those four magic words,”You are not alone,” into the subject line of an e-mail, viral marketing experts say its intended recipient is 90% more likely to open it.

The phrase, “Be the first to know” achieves a similar effect, especially in politics. So, if you were one of those people who downloaded Mitt Romney’s “Mitt’s VP” iPhone app because it promised that you would be the first to know when he made his selection, and you weren’t, don’t feel so bad; you are not alone.

It was Paul Ryan.  Chuck Todd reported it first.  Before the app did.

Unlike Romney’s first app, “With Mitt,” which misspelled America to read, “Amercia,” Romney campaign Digital Director Zac Moffatt, in an interview with Politico, insists this wasn’t a gaffe, “The app did what it promised to do: It delivered the VP information to voters before the campaign officially confirmed it to reporters in the news release.”

While the app wasn’t exactly great for you being in the know, it was excellent for the campaign.  To get the alert, late or otherwise, users of the Mitt’s VP app were first required to divulge their location to the campaign by tapping, “OK, Allow Access,” when prompted. Subscribers were also encouraged to, “Sign up for VP news,” and asked to submit their e-mail addresses in exchange. So, as for performing its campaign function of collecting vital voter data, the application excelled.  What the app will do next is up in the air.

It’s not the first time an intrepid voter hankering for the skinny bought into it. A Google search for, “Be the first to know,” shows that  still tops the results page. Effecting that same sense of connectedness among its supporters, “My B.O.” promised its subscribers in 2008 that, “Barack Obama is about to choose his running mate and he wants you to know first.”

Want, being the caveat there; by the time Obama HQ limped out its VP announcement via text message, news of the pick was already widely circulated, proving that, unless you’re Chuck Todd, you’ll never be the first to know.

The real world impact of Romney’s decision to go with Paul Ryan is also taking shape. Showing early signs of confidence, traders on Intrade, a political prediction market, treated Romney’s bungled announcement to a five point bump. By mid-week, expectations gradually cooled, settling the market at Romney +3.

Alleging insider trading, market watchers at PolicyMic, say Republicans in the know drove up Ryan’s numbers on the the eve of pick. “We did investigate,” said Intrade Operations Manager Carl Wolfenden in an e-mailed response to our question, “and we were not able to prove any links between any of our customers and the Romney inner-circle who knew in advance who the VP pick would be.”

Indicating that it had received a “number of complaints based on suspicions of insider trading,” Wolfenden admits that, short of a subpoena, “our investigatory powers are limited,” but contends that the company is satisfied that no insider trading took place.

We’re confident Chuck Todd was way too busy reporting the scoop to play along.  Perhaps he will also be the first to know what the Mitt’s VP app will do next.