Review – Matt Blunt: Document DestroyerNovember 26, 2007 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Review | 1 Comment
Tags: flash, Gaming, governor, politics
By now you’ve probably heard about a flash game from the Missouri Democratic Party named “Matt Blunt: Document Destroyer” which serves equal parts parody and political communication. You might have even played it or even passed along the link yourself. So instead of providing a response to it’s political context (since there are enough blogs to cover that), we thought it might be appropriate to review the game as just that – a game review. So I dug out my old issues of GamePro magazine, did a little extended play, and tried to give this game the objective analysis this exciting new kind of political communication strategy warrants.
Graphics - At first glance this game could be described as being realistic enough, using great photo scans of Governor Blunt over a fixed-perspective background, with an impressive use of scaling effects to give a depth to an otherwise boring background. Boring might be the word to describe the cubicles that the governor pops up from, and although it might have been distracting it would have been nice to see some better detailed background. And although it does limit load time and ensure greater compatibility, it would have been nice to throw in a few more frames of animation into what largely amounts to little more than Gubernatorial whack-a-mole. Why introduce reaction shots that give the illusion of animation at all?
Sound - When you start that game you are greeted by a drum loop that sounds peppy and gets you geared up as the storyline is explained. So it’s disappointing that this same loop continues through gameplay (and even in the ending). Sound effects were adequate, giving a satisfying aural recognition when an e-mail had been saved. But voice acting in this game is almost comical, giving a cringe upon every quotation recorded with an audible pitch change as though it were an elf serving as governor. I’m sure whoever approved this game though that might be cute, but it gets really repetitive with these few clips and so the voice acting grows annoying rather than being an encouraging reward for game success.
Control - At first it takes some skill to drag your mouse cursor over the pop up character in time and accurately. The depth of field would make this quite challenging, except for the fact that you aren’t required to point your mouse over the Matt Blunt in order to stop him from deleting e-mail. Instead you need mere to cross the path of that character’s pop up – you can kind of swath over the character with your cursor rather that point. My first intuition was to point and click, which will only slow you down, and so these overly simplistic controls make the challenge less satisfying.
Fun Factor/Replay Value - For a game of whack-a-mole, this could have been challenging. The depth of field and numerous cubicles the character pops up from can make the game difficult; the use of smaller characters in the background are hard to beat, and bonus’ in the foreground difficult to attain. However once the game is mastered it becomes clear that this challenge is akin to a personal time trial, and probably makes it about as much fun as beating your lap time running around the block. That isn’t to say exercise isn’t great, ‘cept to say that you’re playing a game on a computer. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to get better at this game, the ending is always the same no matter how well you do. It also would have been nice to have a leaderboard of high-scores or even a way to introduce friend to the game at the end. Inevitably you’ll tire of the repition and move on.
Overall - As a game “Matt Blunt: Document Destroyer” could have improved in any number of departments. The result is a cheap, short game that warrants little more that a single casual play. It’s interesting to take this game as an approach to the same political message that a quest-based MetroidVania type game with RPG elements might have achieved in greater depth. In comparison to older political communication games like 2004′s BushGame. Overall this game does give you little encouragement to keep playing it, which couldn’t possibly encourage investment in Missouri’s technology and software companies (just as the game suggests). Score: