Chair Entertainment today released Vote!, a game that promotes the most base form of political action, violence. Under the auspices of creating an app for Rock The Vote! and to raise voter awareness, it denigrates the presidential candidates by using them as avatars in a "slapstick battle" while dressing them up in "comedic outfits."
When I first read of the game on Touch Arcade I thought it seemed like an odd waste of time. After actually playing the game I was utterly dismayed at the complete lack of respect for the presidential candidates and at the way it promotes political violence in what is sure to be a very tense and charged election year.
Promoting violence between political parties while using the presidential candidates as fighters in the game is disrespectful. Possibly even dangerous considering the current extremely heightened anger between real-life political parties. It's irresponsible for Rock the Vote! to attach their name to this and degrading for a well respected game development house like Chair Entertainment to release it.
You may be thinking that I should "lighten up" or that it's "just a fun little app." Well we live in a country where members of one side are calling for an armed revolution if the other side wins and members of that side are warning about lying thieves running the White House if they lose. An app like this just perpetuates those insane political views by promoting violence. Chair and Rock the Vote! decide to let each side throw virtual punches at the opposite side, rather than add to a civilized political discourse. Vote! can only lead to an increase of the anger between members of the political parties, not an increase in political knowledge. This app does nothing to inform voters or encourage people to vote, it just perpetuates hatred.
In the press release announcing the app, Donald Mustard, Creative Director at ChAIR Entertainment proclaims, "We’re excited to join forces with Rock the Vote to help emphasize the importance of voter registration and encourage gamers to become more involved in the political process."
To me, this app does nothing to involve gamers in the political process, it promotes animosity between political parties to drive sales of virtual currency. Save a couple links to get information on web sites there is nothing politically enlightening in this game. There is no policy debate. There is no discussion of actual political issues. There is no encouragement of political involvement. Vote is just a reskin of the Infinity Blade hack and slash exploiting the candidates' images and perpetuating political rage. Vote! favors buttons to purchase "coins" to continue the game play over those to encourage political awareness. I must note that the press release announcing this game did mention that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Rock the Vote!, but no specific details were given.
Exploiting the current political rage in this country for a cheap laugh and a quick buck is just plain wrong.
An app like this would be expected from a fly by night app development house looking to make a quick buck and not worried about exploiting candidates. But for a well-esteemed development company like Chair Entertainment to release this puts them right on par with fart sound and sex position app publishers.
We've asked representatives from both Chair Entertainment and Rock the Vote! for comments on this editorial via email and phone, but at the time of publication, neither has been able respond. We will happily update this post with their responses, if received.
Take a look at the video below or download the app Vote! and let us know what you think about this app.