Political skill is occasionally referred to as “gamesmanship.” With such a clearly game-like environment, why are there not more actual video games about politics? Other than The Political Machine series, I can’t think of any notable video games in the genre.
Prime Minister’s Questions: The Game takes the idea of politics as a game and literally plays it out, replacing the 30-minute weekly question-and-answer section between British politicians and their Prime Minister with a Monkey Island style talking duel.
You are presented with a question from your opposition and, as Prime Minister, you have to respond. Your response can do anything from damaging your opponent’s reputation to helping yours. The damage is played out exactly like an old-school JRPG battle, with little slashes over the characters taking damage. You even have “special” moves you can use to buff your attack before fighting.
The metaphor here is pretty direct. All you need are a handful of stock lines and you can answer political questions all day long. It’s so game-like that many of the phrases are interchangeable—yet still believable. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine politicians repeating the same stock phrases at each other over and over again hoping to score some slight edge on the scoreboard.
Talking Points: What is the author trying to say about the content-less nature of political debate? How does this intersect with politics itself being widely viewed as a game by many? Do conversations-as-game necessarily require rote phrases to repeat over and over?