While some gamers bemoan political messages in the medium, others don’t think subtle messages are enough. Sometimes you have to break into full on satire to get your point across. It’s in this spirit that Make-Believe Games has launched their newest Kickstarter campaign for President Cthulhu: Stump The Trump!
The project aims to combine comical style with political parody in a quirky puzzle game full of shouting. According to the campaign page, “President Cthulhu is a way for people not entirely satisfied with the current leadership of the Free World to blow off a little steam and exercise their First Amendment rights to make fun of the President.”
With a funding goal of only $1,250 and gameplay mechanics best described as “voice controlled Angry Birds,” it’s easy write this off as a joke campaign. Upon closer inspection however, this ridiculous idea shows hints of merit.
“We are a low budget, big dream, subversive political operation. Our goal is to wake people up by getting them to laugh, while actually figuring things out, not just consuming entertainment. We call it Gameztivism. We want to make more of it.”
Mark Rein-Hagen is a veteran game designer. He’s best known as the creator of Vampire: The Masquerade. Mark said he designed President Cthulhu as a kind of new wave activism (which he has dubbed, Gameztivism) to express his horror and disgust at recent Authoritarian politics.
“The point of this project, is to make a point. But its not only to point something out, but to make a difference somehow, to call attention to certain minute truths that are being ignored in the drama of the chaos that is our politics today.”
If President Cthulhu actually succeeds in making its point (or indeed any point) is open for interpretation. Bordering more on slap-stick than biting satire, at least in the trailers, it’s difficult to guess what players would actually take away from the experience. Maybe the whole point is to just laugh at the things we can’t make sense of anymore because frankly, what else can we do? I guess the premise is as deep or shallow as you want to make it.
What Even Is This?
Gameplay focuses on positioning a toy cannon to launch pies at President Trump and his flunkies, turning them into clowns. The game uses voice recognition to calculate the pie cannon’s vector. Players can utilize this feature to fully vent their frustrations about the current administration. The titular Cthulhu acts as the timer for each level, constantly creeping closer to totally annihilate everything.
The campaign notes that the game already exists in a fully playable state. Funds raised on Kickstarter will go towards polishing the game and perfecting the voice control. Make-Believe hopes to release the game on PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone as early as June 2017.