Casual Friday: Obama vs. McCain--FIGHT!

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Normally, I try to keep it casual with PC World's weekly slothfest--and this week was to be no different. The original plan was to dig into the megaton fighting game, Soul Calibur IV , which launched this week for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It looks fantastic, is amazingly replayable, and lets you beat up frenemies over the Internet. Then I flip on the news. Senator McCain jabs at Senator Obama, saying that Barack is akin to Paris Hilton (minus the estrogen and X-rated videos). Obama fires back about GOP tactics. There has to be a more civil way for these two to hash out differences. That's when it hits me: You can create your own custom fighters in Soul Calibur. Yeah, I think you can see where this is going...

White House Calibur

OK, so they barely resemble the real candidates. But I did spend close to an hour trying to get the perfect look for these two.
Barack always struck me as a Jeet Kun Do master: nimble, deadly with his words--and with a pair of nunchucks. McCain? This guy's tough as nails. I don't know if I could've made it through half the stuff he did, so, of course, I have to equip him with the biggest mallet available. (Disclaimer: The author denies any knowledge of martial arts training on the part of either presidential candidate and avers that this game in no way replaces real political discourse.) Ready? FIGHT!

Round 1: National Defense

First round goes to the guy with the mallet.
Barack has youth on his side, so of course he's dancing rings around McCain. And the strategy is paying off, at first. He gets a couple combos, laying out a full plan on modernizing the military and ending stop-loss practices. But stand still too long, and the cagey Vietnam vet is gonna deliver a haymaker: his mile-long service record. BOOM! Well, that, and the mammoth mallet McCain lugs around probably isn't hurting his cause, either.

Round 2: Energy and the Environment

Getting frozen is a huge motivator.
The only drilling happening on the Arctic shelf today: a couple nunchuck shots to the head. Both candidates are seeing green these days--seeking cleaner fuels--but here's the billion-dollar question: Do you tear up your own natural resources in the meantime, or do you work out deals with foreign powers? This could be anybody's fight, but a shirtless Obama is getting cold--so he makes quick work of McCain.

Round 3: Video Game Legislation

This is still anybody's fight.
As our boys continue duking it out over the worldwide issues here, stuff like video games legislation usually falls to each fighter's "cut man" (y'know, VP running mates). And that's what really scares me. While nobody has officially been named yet, neither side is looking promising. In one corner, you could have Hil-Rod. She still has an axe to grind with Grand Theft Auto--a game not made for kids is apparently corrupting them. In the other corner (at least according to an item on the Reuters site) could be the fun-killing terminator, Mitt Romney. The guy makes it sound as if all video games are a cesspool of filth, according to one report.

Below, a couple clips from the grudge match...


... but in case you can't see it, here's an even crummier-quality version. 

Real Political Games

All jokes aside for a second, there are a number of other politically charged games out there. Some are innocuous time-wasters draped in politics. Some educate. Some enrage. Some are listed right here for your slackery convenience. And all of 'em are free.

Pork Invaders (

A pro tip: Shoot vetos through the House floor and hide underneath.
The McCain-centric Space Invaders clone has you controlling a McCain logo that fires vetos up at pork-barrel flying pigs that rain down...arrows? Here's where the GOP failed: I would much rather have seen a Monty Python-style animated McCain head shouting those vetos up at the pigs.

Presidential Pong (
The great current events game-makers at Persuasive Games put together a simple game of pong, as played by your favorite candidates. (Shockwave required.) Each political player has his own presidential power-up. Don't look for any hidden messages here. No sir.

Obama: Race For The White House (

It doesn't have the catchiest name for a puzzle game, but it's still fun.
Though Obama's illustrated head is all over this game, it really is a version of the arcade/Web game, Bust-A-Move. The idea: you match up political issues and make them disappear from the screen. If only life were that easy.

Now this is something anybody can get behind--a browser-based political board game that's a take on Life (the game). CNN Student News, C-Span, and History are behind the free educational game. It's been updated for the 2008 elections with more multimedia clips and insights. So go on, take a spin. See if you can make your way to the White House. And--dare I say--learn something in the process. (Shockwave required.)

Well, it's time for the next round in my personal Obama-McCain "debates." Until next week....

Senior Writer Darren Gladstone geeks out over gadgets, games, and odd uses for humdrum tech. In other words, he's a nerd--and he's okay with that.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon