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The power of politics in games, 1980s-style

The power of politics in games, 1980s-style

October 7, 2015 | By Christian Nutt




"It was quite primitive, but for the dawn of the computer age, the predictive results seemed miraculous."

- Nelson Hernandez, developer of President Elect

Game history is always welcome, and with the next U.S. presidential election coming up next year, it's a great time to examine a classic political game. The New Yorker takes a look at President Elect, which was originally developed for the Apple II in the wake of the 1980 election by Nelson Hernandez -- speaking to both Hernandez and Joel Billings, the founder of Hernandez's publisher, SSI. 

His game's modeling predicted Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide victory -- which leads to the quote above.

"I never appreciated what a great franchise I had and all the things that could have been done to elaborate the game design with the help of a better programmer," Hernandez told the New Yorker.

The full article is a fascinating look at an early political game and also serves as a "where are they now" for one classic game developer who ultimately fled the industry -- creators of 1980s PC games are often hard to track down, so revisiting their work is always interesting.



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