Stardock Releases Free Version of The Political Machine

I’ll admit to having a man crush on Stardock ever since they issued the PC Gamer’s Bill of Rights at PAX last month. Gotta love it when a game publisher thinks about issues like copyright in a rational way and makes a commitment to caring about its customers.

While Stardock is perhaps best known for strategy titles Sins of a Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations, its presidential campaign sim The Political Machine is a terrific play as well. And now you can download it to sim the 2008 presidential race for free. Stardock announced last week that they are giving away The Political Machine Express for Windows PCs. From the company’s press release:

The free strategy game… puts players in the role of the campaign manager of either John McCain or Barack Obama in a quest to win the White House. The game has been updated to feature vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin…


Players play on the electoral map of the United States with the goal to gain the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the election. Players get 21 weeks (approximately the time candidates have between the primary season and the general election) to make speeches, raise money, buy advertisements, hire political operatives, appear on cable TV shows in order to woo voters to their side.

GP: Although I’ve played the full version, I haven’t tried the free Political Machine Express. The primary difference would appear to be one of scope, however, with Express focused on the actual McCain-Obama fight, whereas the full $19.99 game offers numerous hypothetical scenarios.

The video accompanying this article is the trailer for the full game.

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  1. 0
    oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. 0
    hcf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I completely agree.

    There was another problem with the corporations I’ve worked for in the past; the quarterly reports.  Because share prices will plunge or soar based on the quarterly report, no one optimizes for anything else.  Rather than buying a chair for $75, you lease it for $25.  Accepting a recurring cost that will become much larger over time instead of a fixed one-time-cost because to do otherwise means this quarter’s report looks low and your stock price will fall.  If you’re only focused on solving short-term problems, you never address the long-term.

    At some point, businessmen forget that the reason they came to the swamp was to drain it – not to fight the alligators.

  3. 0
    Xveers ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Unfortunately, corporations really DO only have one goal, and that’s to deliver more wealth to their shareholders. Pure and simple. This gets introduced in first year business classes, and will be systematically pounded into their brains by the end of every person who gets a bachelor’s in buisness. (I’m on the accounting track, so I don’t get the same level or type of indoctrination.) Pleasing the consumer is parroted only so long as it pleases the shareholders, and so long as the shareholders see the returns they want.

    The sad thing is that the fault lies not in the CEOs of the corp, but the shareholders. They only want the share to hit XX so they can sell and make a profit, or to retain YY value so they can sell on retirement and live out their lives in luxury. They don’t care about what bridges they burn that are ahead of them, or that they’re standing on, so long as they get the money they want NOW.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of business.

  4. 0
    hcf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The statement that an object has one of two states is often referred to by ‘philosophy of logic’ buffs as "Black and White Thinking."  Be wary of it.

    Let me propose that the world is not made up merely of black and white, but rather of an infinite spectrum.  Just for example, it’s quite possible that some game company might have a third party to please: their moms.

    I think in Stardock’s case you’ve put the pin in the wrong donkey.  I would have erred closer to "Stardock’s company controller", based upon their track record sending opt-out UCE to their customers on behalf of third parties, who no doubt pay for the service.  "Having a checkbox" doesn’t put the customer first, it puts them beneath contempt.

  5. 0
    Anonymous says:

    But even then, they don’t pass that on to the customer, many companies use third party funding, the famous ‘streaming ads’ fiasco or the SimCity Societies power company logos etc, and yet still try to drain every penny they can from the consumer at the same time.

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    The difference comes down to priorities.

    Game companies have two people they try to please. The customer and the investor. You can tell which one comes first by a company’s actions. I’ll leave you to figure out which EA and Stardock put first respectively.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  7. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I think Stardock is going places. It’s the only game company out there that actually feels like it’s run by people who love Video Games more than the almighty dollar. And Karma is rewarding them for it over and over again.

    Ironic that a massive corporation like EA can get it so wrong, but then, they’ve forgotten why they do it.

    Volition used to have a logo of ‘By Gamers for Gamers’. I’d say Stardock is one of the few companies that still live up to that ideal.

  8. 0
    Spartan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is a very fun well developed US political system simulation. It is highly educational and well executed and should appeal to people of all ages.


    SD is a great company doing good things for its customers and for gamers in general.


    On a side note, I have often wondered why GP and SD dont team up to make a GP edition of the game. It could be something nice for membership recruitment.  

  9. 0
    insanejedi says:

    And yet when EA releases Red Alert 1 for free, everyone doesn’t cheer or tell how awesome EA is. Or when they release bikes and new challanges for Burnout and Conquest mode for Battlefield Bad Company entirely for free no one does the same.

    I think you guys treat EA too harshly.

  10. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Probably because (a) This is the exception, not the norm, (b) Red Alert 1 is a very very old game, and (c) Most companies release new content for their games, Blizzard are excellent in their support, for example, however, I think only a few companies have ever tried getting people to pay for that extra content, EA is one of them.

  11. 0
    Anonymous says:

    How could this company still exist? Where’s the spyware? Where’s the limited installs? Where’s the draconian DRM? Clearly these people are lies put forth by the evil pirates.

  12. 0
    Anonymous says:

    EA’s anger is as irrelevant as my gratitude.

    I’ll say again, for the third time, EA have done some good things, I’ve never denied that, but they’ve also done some incredibly stupid and dumb things, and it’s those that will get remembered. Welcome to the consumer-led market.

    Whilst not everyone in a company may not be a horrible person, that is totally irrelevant as well, we’re talking policies, not people here, it’s those that effect the companies not the opinions of those who work for the company.

    And yes, this is about Money, that’s all. That’s what EA exists to make, they do that by making games, some are good, some are bad, once again irrelevant, it’s the marketting that makes them crap, not the quality of those games, you can release the best game in the world, but if you start treating your paying customers as EA have lately, then you will effect customer opinion, and that will cause a knock-on effect.

    So you go on being grateful for being thrown the odd crumb with one hand whilst DRM destroys the resale value of more modern games with the other, it’s a distraction technique, and you’ve fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

  13. 0
    insanejedi says:

    You said it was an expectation, frankly I don’t expect a company, especially with a reputation like EA’s to release a free game, let alone downloadable content for free on a console. I don’t know if you know this but DLC isin’t usually free on consoles, and having a massive update that rivals that of content you have to pay for? That’s really generous of them.

    And you say this is simply a buisness and all they want is your money? I’d feel really bad and angry at you people if I worked at EA and I suggested content or this game to be free, and it went through and the end result of that is everyone thinks i’m after their wallets. Which maybe I would be in the back of my mind building up good affinity towards Red Alert and Burnout so that it would sell better the next time around, but this is also to benifit the consumer who just got a game for free, or content for free. You are wrong to sterotype every big company as money grabing cigar chomping buisness men who only think about the dollars earned. Even the oil company and the lumber company care about issues that are not on the end dollar, such as enviromental issues. Lumber companies make sure that their forests are sustainable, and oil companies make sure to avoid actions that would destabilize the ecosystem of where their drilling. Not everyone in a big company are cold hearted people who only care about money.

    And EA doesn’t know what pisses people off? Look back 10 years ago mate and look at where EA is now. they figured out that screwing over beloved franchises and developers makes people hate them. They figured out through Westwood and Bullfrog that "hey if we make good games and make developers happy people will love us agian" and you see that, in what DICE is doing, in what Harmonix is doing, in what Bioware is doing, and what Valve is doing with them. They haven’t turned Mass Effect into an annual franchise, and their also willing to work around problems like charging content for weapons in Bad Company, and even DRM issues like Mass Effect where they took out the whole make sure this is turned on every 10 days or so. Perhaps they don’t move as quickly as we like them to on issues like DRM but they certainly are aware of the issues and do take action of it.

    And I’m an idiot to thank EA? I didin’t sign off my consumer rights when I downloaded Red Alert, or Bad Company conquest mode? I thank them as someone giving me free stuff, I accept it and I’m thankful for it.

  14. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Nice string of insults, very little content.

    I never once said ‘I deserve this’ or anything of the sort, what I said was that Stardock know how to interact with their market, and know what pisses people off, EA don’t, it’s as simple as that. I’m sure Fred Phelps has done good things in his life, but that doesn’t make him a nice person in general.

    I don’t want EA’s gratitude, they want my money, this is business, and the way you practice it effects your customers opinion, I’m not going to be grateful OR thankful for EA doing what every other company does, I AM, however, going to be annoyed when EA try to do something that many other companies aren’t stupid enough to try.

    So no, it isn’t about gratitude, this is a market, it’s about marketting, they have my money, and frankly, you come off as an idiot who thinks we should all be somehow saying thank you for giving EA our money and signing away our consumer rights in the process.

  15. 0
    Insanejedi says:

    You know, this kind of thought is what makes companies not do this, in fact this is what makes people hate you in the real world. If you go out into the world and be a boss of your own company and be like this, you will be hated by every worker you hired because when they do their work, for example finishing a report for you, giving you your coffee, file those letters for you, and you don’t have a spec of graditude because you think it’s your expectation to do the work you hired them to do, which on the one hand is true, but seriously you come off as a snob while doing so.

    Coming off as saying "I deserve this!" or "You have the obligation to give me this!" is just… no… you don’t…

    Almost all of you on this board have done nothing to deserve EA’s graditude as you all slandered on the company, And even that, do you go to some reastorant and someone offered you complementry bread, or soup and just call it "cheap?"

    They released a game for free, and they release content for free, and for that you should be grateful or thankful, because they could have not done it. They could have never released conquest mode, they could have not released bikes, but they did, and I would never give out free stuff to a bunch of people who don’t acknolage my services, for that I think EA is more dedicated to its customers then you take granted for.

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