Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

RetRose Tinted: Campaign '84

3:07 PM on 11.04.2008 // Conrad Zimmerman

If that isn't the most boring image ever posted to this site, I'd be astounded.

Well, folks, Election Day is finally upon us here in the United States. I could think of no better way to celebrate (other than by voting which, if you have yet to do, stop reading this right now and go do so) than by playing a retro game about campaigning for the presidency. Luckily, I have just the very thing in Campaign '84 for the ColecoVision.

It's a fairly obscure title, so I'll not be offended if you haven't heard of it. My father and I used to play it fairly often and I would always choose to be the Republican. I'm sure it stung a little bit for him to have to control a donkey avatar in the game, but equally certain that was compensated for by the swell of pride in his son's chosen political affiliation. 

Follow with me after the jump as I examine one of the more off-kilter games released for ColecoVision.

Campaign '84

Campaign '84 is about as close as you could get to an election simulation game in 1983. The object, of course, is to take your candidate to the highest office in the land by campaigning through out the US, becoming popular with voters and earning the precious 270 electoral votes necessary to win. The graphics are laughable, even by Coleco standards, and the gameplay seems like it would be about as fast-paced as watching a prostitute decompose. There's more going on here than meets the eye, I assure you.

Before the game begins, the players must determine where they stand on the difficult issues facing the nation. Are you going to be for or against making the oyster the national food? Where do you stand on the hot-button topic of pet rock unemployment. The issues themselves are random and irrelevant, but it's a cute addition. What's really important here are the numbers of the issues, but I'll get back to that in a second.

Campaign '84

Once you have established your platform, the race is on. Presented with a map of the contiguous 48 states (just as in real life, Alaska and Hawaii aren't important to politicians), you move your elephant or donkey icon around the borders of the states. To begin campaigning in a state, you must find its entry point by traveling its border with a button held down.

Being in a state changes the screen to a flag of the United States, made up of people. Your task now is to mercilessly trample them and, thus, gain their support. Every person you trod upon will add to your popularity meter (the corrolation to actual politics astounds). As you step on them, they disappear, slowly eliminating the area in which you can march about. Once you reach a point where you can no longer step on another person, your campaign in that state is complete.

Campaign '84

As you rampage through the populous, numbers will appear and move over the surface of the flag. These numbers represent the "yay" or "nay"stances ("nay" has its number inside a white box) on the issues from the beginning of the game. Collecting numbers that match what you selected will give you a massive boost to your popularity, while grabbing those which do not will hurt your reputation.

Do you see it? It's just like real campaigning! All you have to do in order to win the love of the people is stick to your popularist stance on completely pointless crap and they'll adore you! 

You can only visit each state once. After you have done so, the state turns black on the map to indicate that you've been there. In addition, you are no longer restricted to moving around the borders of the state, instead being able to pass right through which makes it easier to cross the country.

Campaign '84

As in all campaigns, you have a limited amount of resources to work with. This is represented by a timer that counts down throughout the course of the game, whether you're traveling the country on the main map or campaigning in a state. You can add more time by grabbing donations, represented on the map by what I can only assume is a white plate (fundraising dinners, perhaps). Grabbing one will stop the game for a moment and bring up a message explaining where your money came from.

Of course, no campaign would be complete without shocking scandal. The other icon moving across the map is an orange bullhorn. Should you run into one of these, you'll lose a bit of time as your campaign is forced to spin some spurious attack on your character. Examples include your family not recognizing your name or your son campaigning for your opponent.

Campaign '84

Again, this is a great example of how actual political campaigns work. Oh, sure, everything is well and good when an oil tycoon dumps a million dollars into your coffers. God forbid, however, that you wear mismatched socks! That would obviously make you unfit for the highest office in the land.

When you have either campaigned in every state or time runs out, the votes begin to be counted. Similar to election coverage on national television, the votes slowly begin to pour in and states are called, one by one, for the two parties. If a state was not campaigned in at all, it abstains from the vote. States have the same number of electoral votes as they did in 1984, so there's some strategy involved in making sure you campaign in the right places to ensure you reach the necessary 270 votes to win.

Campaign '84

Campaign '84 can be played alone, but there really is no point to it. In a two-player game, players take turns campaigning in states. Unlike some states in the real USA, electoral votes for each state all go to the candidate who earned the highest popularity when campaigning there. 

Even with a second player, however, the game itself is not actually fun. It's the same, simple, boring thing with every state. The concepts are pretty clever and a case could be made for it being educational in the sense of teaching people about the electoral college, but the gameplay is so monotonous that it's hard to even complete a single play-through.

This is a novelty game, pure and simple, but one which could actually wind up being pretty good if re-made. Change up the way you campaign in states with some mini-games (perhaps a Qix clone for one state, an Arkanoid one for another) and there really might be something there. Alas, it's probably just a fantasy on my part.

Photo Gallery: (6 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

extatix avatarextatix
It's the best time of the year again! Finally we get to listen to Wham and Chris Rea over and over again!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
The Unofficial Destructoid Christmas Card has been ordered. If you claimed one, you should probably PM me your address now.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Started playing Wonderful 101 and it's good, but pretty overwhelming. Think I'll put it down for now. Also sad that there is no penis formation. [img][/img]
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
What the hell happened to Arcade racing games?
abangherbal avatarabangherbal
silahkan kunjungi juga
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Red from Transistor has joined Indivisible! many thanks to Supergiant Games for their support to this game.
JBroXNari99 avatarJBroXNari99
Does anyone know if Advent of Indies is happening this year? I looked it up today and didn't find any updates on their Twitter since January.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I brought that cake I made into work and it disappeared fast. Maybe if I lose my job I can just make a living selling cakes on the end of my street.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
My review-in-progress of Just Cause 3: Explosions - good. Grappling hook - good. Flying - good. Driving - an abomination. 8/10.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
Well, ugh, this is awkward. A year ago I wrote a cblog about cool indie games coming in 2015, and not a single one of them has been released :/
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I was happy to have never spoiled myself the final boss of Splatoon's campaign. That was one of the best boss fights ever and I absolutely love the credits track. So relaxing. [youtube][/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Today's kids will never know the struggle of putting an encyclopedia on top of an NES Max to auto-buy 99 potions before heading into Terra Cavern
CblogRecaps avatarCblogRecaps
Sometimes, on more dreary days, I make a smiley face with sliced-pickle eyes and bacon grin in my lunch-burger. It fills me up all the same, but I feel a warm sense of accomplishment, achievement and satisfaction on top of it.
Shinta avatarShinta
[youtube][/youtube] Isn't this the greatest thing ever?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Well, my Bloggers Wanted post is up, but it timetraveled back to Sunday behind Zetta's blog or will only post two days from now otherwise. Mrgrgr.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Yeah I still can't take the new Batman and Superman seriously, Batman just looks so stupid with his cowl lol.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
This near final build of Nuclear Throne is going to bring back my eye twitch.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
When I was a lad, I loved this game something fierce. [img][/img] Anyone else ever play the tie in Small Soldiers games? Maybe it's nostalgia, but I remember them being not too bad.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Finally got my surface pro 3. Holy shit I love this little guy. And Windows 10 is better than I thought.
Putting more effort into iOS game review than African American history book report. This is not what Dr. King died for. Or maybe he did, I wouldn't know because I'm not doing the book report. Wha-hey!!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -