“As the…interesting (train wreck) of a presidential race continues to dominate our living rooms, timelines and radio stations, Marketers and Developers have identified an opportunity, leading to a unique new trend in the application world.” While the current race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seems like another installment of the SAW movie franchise, some app-developers are choosing to turn this cringe-worthy competition into a profitable product.
A recent article posted by The Ringer detailed a variety of satirical games featuring our two, very polarizing candidates. In the article, 46-year-old app developer Kevin Colligan was hit with inspiration as he watched the Clinton email scandal unfold.
“I thought, oh, this could be a perfect, kind of humorous thing for a game,” Colligan said. “There’s definitely tons of material there.”
The Perfect Storm
It’s interesting to think about exactly what had to transpire for the satirical-app industry to have a sudden boom. While our last candidates in 2012 (Obama, Romney) were not immune to a comedic volley of arrows (ex: any Jason Sudekis’ Saturday Night Live portrayals) the amount of material provided was nothing close to this years’ race.
In one corner, we have Donald Trump, who seems to be better equipped to be a WWE superstar. His bravado, mildly (extremely) racist comments, and his willingness to go toe-to-toe with any feud, make him a cross between Hulk Hogan and The Rock.
In the other corner, we had what appeared to be the more reliable option, until the email scandal broke. When it was uncovered that Clinton had a secret email housing some very damning information, many questioned her integrity, leaving us with two candidates that were easy targets for many.
Now that we’ve looked at how this market has grown, it’s time to break down some of the actual games.
The game opens up with a text conversation between you (Hillary Clinton) and now-resigned Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz essentially letting you know, “Hey, the bad guys are trying to wipe out the emails.” From here, the game turns into part PACMAN part Angry Birds in which miniature Hillary hops across a circuit board, trying to collect as many emails as she can.
The Verdict: I like that we’re at least given some backstory, and the recent resignation of Wasserman Schultz makes the timing even better, so I’ll give it 8 hacked emails out of 10.
This game is essentially a poorly executed version of Flappy Bird, and in fact, I still don’t fully understand the premise of including a poo-shaped caricature of Trump that pops up every now and then during the game.
The Verdict: With an unoriginal premise and a very…distasteful image of Trump, I’ll give this one 3 hairpieces out of 10.
Similar to the carnival game whack-a-mole, players must whack down the image of Clinton as she appears on the screen. The game has a variety of versions including Mash Marco, Thump the Trump, Squish Bush, and Hit Mitt.
The Verdict: I like the simplicity of the game and the ability to tailor it to your favorite candidate, so I’ll give it a solid 7 awkward Hillary dances out of 10.
Even The Washington Post — the Pulitzer Prize-winning legacy newspaper that broke Watergate — has entered the mobile-game business with this Flappy Bird knockoff. The caricatures are spot on and the gameplay is a lot better than most of its competitors.
The Verdict: I just enjoy the fact that one of the country’s biggest news conglomerates has become “hip” to the app game, and I’ll give their first attempt a solid 9 spray-tans out of 10.
This stacker game forces players to stack now-defunct Republican Candidates like Ben Carson and Ted Cruz in hopes of creating a high enough wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Probably the most unique of the mobile-apps, it even features prominent Trump enemies Megyn Kelly and Vicente Fox.
The Verdict: I’ll have to choose this one as my favorite simply because I could play it for longer than 20 minutes. I’ll give this one 10 baby hands out of 10.