President Forever Series Review Excerpts ...
Now Including President Forever 2008
Washington Post | January 31, 2004
Part SimCity, part C-SPAN, President Forever lets you play campaign manager in this year’s race: You can try to guide George W. Bush to reelection, run the campaign of one of the Democratic challengers or opt for the frustrating life of a Green Party or Libertarian candidate. Or design your own candidate and use your own mug shot for him or her.
After picking a pol, you inspect this fellow’s stance on 22 campaign themes -- 18 issues, ranging from affirmative action to terrorism, plus four intangibles of leadership, integrity, experience and issue knowledge -- plot an electoral strategy and swing into action. You can design advertisements, choosing from a menu of spots that tout your position or bash your
opponent, organize grass-roots workers and lobby for high-profile endorsements.
If you like dirty tricks, you can do opposition research, run attack ads or plant a spy in an opponent’s campaign headquarters -- all while keeping an eye on tracking polls, spinning the news and prepping for debates. When the election rolls around, watching the results come in may feel like a relief.
Gameplay is smooth and entertaining, with clean, simple graphics. The documentation, however, is a bit thin, and the version we tested said Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) hails from North Dakota (the developers say they’ve fixed that). It also starts both Republicans and Democrats with equal campaign cash -- as if that ever happens. For those who would prefer to rehash old elections, a free expansion pack covering such historical campaigns as Kennedy-Nixon and Clinton-Bush is due
Seattle Post-Intelligencer | February 14, 2008
This ultra in-depth election simulation game is just the thing for the armchair politico who's always dreamed of running a campaign of his or her own.
Race42008.com | January 28, 2008
Last time on Playing 2008, we introduced you to the little time-waster Presidential Pong. This edition is about a more serious political game: President Forever 2008 +Primaries.
Let me warn you before we begin, however: once you get this game and learn all of its intricacies, you will become the biggest nerd you know. This game will have you thinking of politics more than you already do and dreaming up strategeries to win not only the general election, but your party’s nomination to get the chance to run in the general.
That being said, I give this game made by TheorySpark and 80soft.com a solid 9.5 out of 10. Simply put, it is amazing in its depth and scope. [...]
You get the idea. This game is huge, and it is deep. You will probably lose the first couple times you play it (I lost the first two times, once to Ron Paul (!) and once to John McCain, before going on to win the general election as Mitt Romney over Hillary Clinton), but once you get it’s intricacies figured out you will absolutely love this game. Your friends and family will never stop calling your a nerd, and you won’t care.
Oh, and the game is expanding, even as I type this. Once you buy the game (for 20 bucks, for crying out loud! It would be a bargain at three times that price!), you have a button called “AutoUpdate” you can turn on or off. Turn it on and leave it on. It checks for updates of the game every time you run the program. And by updates, some of what I mean is updated scenarios… tired of playing the 2008 scenario? Try taking on Kerry as Bush in 2004. Or try winning with McCain in 2000. Or play as Perot in 1992 and become the first independent President. Oh yeah - did I mention this game was deep? [...]
The name of the game for President Forever 2008 +Primaries is replay value, and there is plenty of it to go around. You will never get tired of wasting entire afternoons, weekends, and yes, maybe even workdays pursuing your quest for the Presidency with this game. Buy it now.
Globe and Mail | January 11, 2008 | By Scott Colbourne
Barack Obama wins the Iowa caucuses, with John Edwards in second and Hillary Clinton a distant third. He takes the New Hampshire primary in a landslide and seems destined to win the Democratic nomination and with it the presidency of the United States of America.
Yes, it’s all going according to plan in President Forever 2008 + Primaries, an election simulator for PCs, and now I unleash the big guns: click the “crusaders” button, select Oprah Winfrey, say goodbye to some valuable influence and command points and hello to a boost in the polls. [...]
A great way to learn how an electoral system works.
LaRepubblica.it | January 11, 2008
"Without any doubt the best game on the American presidential elections, President Forever.” (translated)
Generation Gamerz | September 10, 2007
President Forever 2008 + Primaries is a political wonk’s dream. It’s a strategy based game that is light on the shooting (unless you are George Wallace ) and long on analysis, knowledge of issues, and instinct. Sounds boring right? Like SimCity and the Tycoon series, this game is like watching the monkeys at the zoo, it’s hard to turn away.
The Philadelphia Inquirer | February 2, 2007
Power Up | By Dennis McCauley
Hmmm - President McCauley has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? [...] In the final analysis, President Forever will keep political wonks glued to their PC screens. It's also a terrific option for teaching the political process in the classroom.
Slate | October 15, 2004
Sim Shrum: Election games let you battle for the presidency | By Clive Thompson
President Forever (80soft.com) | This one is for C-SPAN junkies who dream of micromanaging every tiny facet of a campaign. Track 22 major issues (the war, health care, taxes) and check up on how you’re rated on each one in every state. You can also give your candidate stances that aren’t black or white by sliding a bar from left to right until you
reach the perfect position. (Watch out if you change your position on the fly, though. I got nailed as a flip-flopper when I abruptly supported higher taxes for the rich. Hey, polls showed the public supported it!) One nice feature is that the game acknowledges the existence of the media. When headlines pop up-”Kerry makes gaffe on Integrity issue!”-there’s a little
“spin” button next to it that lets you expend some of your political energy to blunt the damage. It’s also easy to construct fantasy scenarios. Fans have created games to simulate old elections like Hoover vs. Smith and Garfield vs. Hancock, where Howard Dean is a powerful third-party candidate, and in which the Electoral College has been reformed. (Try these yourself by downloading the scenarios.) The downside is information overload. If you don’t pay close attention to the blizzard of stats from each state, you won’t notice when the battlegrounds are slipping away. Playing as Kerry, I lost every state but Washington and Maine. Ouch.
Realism: 8; Wonk Factor: 9; Fun: 7; Realpolitik: 7; Total: 31/40
Computer Gaming World | January 2005
Want to rewrite/re-create history? Look no further than President Forever, a deceptively deep strategy game that lets you campaign for the highest office in the country. Relive the 2004 election or participate in great campaigns of the past.
Gamespot.com | Nov 12, 2004 | By Brett Todd
Wondering how to occupy your time after the conclusion of one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in decades? Political junkies looking for a new diversion should check out President Forever, a simulation where the polls never close. Chances are that you’ll never want them to, either, because this election simulation from Eighty Dimensional
Software is very good. All the complexities of a grueling run for the presidency have been narrowed down to core themes, which make the daunting task of claiming the Oval Office addictive and playable while not sacrificing realism...
The bottom line is that you never have enough command points to do everything that you want to do. There are always a dozen or more ways to spend the command points every turn. In one game where we were playing Jimmy Carter in a down-to-the-wire election with Ronald Reagan, a late-game turn presented us with so many sensible options that we
took 10 minutes to decide on a course of action. We could spin a Reagan scandal, hold a fundraiser to build enough cash to extend the integrity of our ad campaign into Wisconsin, give a policy speech on social security to hopefully firm our numbers in Florida, barnstorm New York, or try to pull the military funding endorsement away from Reagan. All these
choices were out there and were viable, yet we had just five command points to spend. Almost every decision in the game is fraught with tension, in that you never know whether you made the right or wrong move until the polls close on election night. Replay value is tremendous because there are so many legitimate paths to election day.
President Forever is perfect for strategy game junkies. It eschews messy realism for clear-cut game mechanics. Which isn’t to say it’s not complicated. It is, but with neat numbers and directly drawn cause-and-effect relationships ...
Like any good strategy game built around gameplay rather than slavish devotion to realism, President Forever is very replayable. Furthermore, it’s apparently got a mod-crazy player base. There are about 50 third-party mods available here, many with their own maps and unique rules. There are historical elections (post WWI, the wake of the Stock Market Crash
of 1929), celebrities (pitting Mel Gibson and Michael Moore against each other), changes to the Electoral College, in Colin Powell as a third-party candidate, having an election during a Soviet invasion, and so on. There are even total conversions like the Protestant Reformation in Europe during the 16th century.
GameTunnel.com | May 15, 2004
It always amazes me how games can take something that might seem like a difficult concept to turn into a game and make it shine. Such is certainly the case with President Forever: 2004, a game that takes what might be considered a somewhat un-enjoyable subject and turns it into a tremendously fun simulation.
Political games software is rare, and high-quality political games software is rarer still. Prime Minister Forever, by 80soft.com, delivers on all counts.
It is a high quality product, providing a very good controllable simulation of the 2005 UK General Election Campaign, that is also excellent value for money at £7.95. Players can take charge of one or more of the major parties, change the leader if desired, and then run the campaign the way it should be run. The games contains most of the elements of a real-life
campaign - frantic movement around the country, targeting of key seats, spin, research (if only designed to undermine opponents credibility), campaign themes, adverts, money, attempts to influence the media, etc. etc.
Globe and Mail | December 7, 2005
Dear diary ... Here’s your big chance to strut your stuff | By Joan Ramsay
You can get more than the average campaign fix, starting tomorrow, with the release of Prime Minister Forever – Canada 2006, a political strategy game that reproduces the federal election down to each riding.
So if you’ve been sitting back in your armchair, grinding your teeth at how the various leaders are handling the hustings, you can find out whether you could do any better, either as a campaign manager or as a leader.
Why, you ask, would anybody want more election than they’re already getting?
The core audience is “people who live for politics,” explains Anthony Burgoyne, lead developer for the game by Vancouver-based software company 80soft.com. But high-school, university and college instructors are also using the game It’s an update to the 2004 game, with some big changes: the number of parties you can manipulate is up to 12 (you, too, could lead the Marijuana Party) from four and historical scenarios from the past three elections are included. As well, there’ll be occasional updates on polling and important events that could influence the outcome.
Your job is to figure out how much time, money and effort to allocate to advertising, fundraising, stumping, spinning the news and recruiting supporters. “You gain a new-found respect for the parties and what they’re facing,” Mr. Burgoyne says.
At the moment, the game is restricted to one computer. But 80soft.com, which started in the political gaming business in 2000 with a U.S. federal election version, is developing a prototype to allow play on-line or on a network.
“Unfortunately,” Mr. Burgoyne says, “the election happened a little too soon.” For all of us, I expect.
Prime Minister Forever -- Canada 2006 ($18.95) can be downloaded at http://www.80soft.com.