Just in time for this week’s presidential debate, Rocket Surgeon’s political sim For the People: Fantasy Politics is launching “November Madness“, a free contest that allows users to predict the winners in the 2012 elections for the presidency, House, and Senate seats across the United States.
Rocket Surgeon’s offering real world prizes for those with the most accurate predictions. Each correct pick earns players a point, and the person with the highest total will win a new Apple iPad 64GB 4G. First runner-up will receive a new Samsung Galaxy S III, while the second runner-up will get a year-long subscription to Spotify Premium. Additionally, the top ten scorers in the East, South, Midwest and Western regions of the U.S. will receive $50 iTunes gift cards. Meanwhile, everyone who takes part in November Madness will receive in-game rewards.
The developer’s partnered with Real Clear Politics so users can view current polling data on the high-profile political races that are currently underway, and a leaderboard will become available on Nov. 6 so players can see how their predictions are doing as the results are announced.
For the People: Fantasy Politics is a bit of an anomaly on Facebook because it’s the first game to reflect real world political results and, according to Rocket Surgeon Founder and CEO Shel Mann, will help players become more hands-on when it comes to politics. Mann comes from an extensive background in mainstream games, having established Big Island Publishing in the 1990s and published games with groups like Atari and THQ.
Mann tells us Rocket Surgeon designed For The People to teach its players about the current political goings-on here in the U.S., especially since many voters are becoming informed outside of traditional outlets like television news groups. “The interest level in politics is rising in all age groups,” he says. “The internet is changing things so you can get information on your own. People probably think politics can’t be made into a fun game and we’re working on the tools to do so.”
As a result, the developer is using real world modeling in its game, including the implementation of three years of congressional records so players can learn the voting record of other members in the government. The studio also worked with every member of the House of Representatives (either directly or through their staffs) in order to make sure the game delivers as real a political experience as possible. In order to further this goal, the developer even created a realistic polling system, which it actually has a patent pending on.
Mann tells us players can still triumph in the game, no matter what position they take, but the idea is to create a world where one needs to actually think about how real world votes occur and consider how they could affect one’s state. As a result, players not only need to balance popularity with the voters, they have to do the same with their constituents.
Rocket Surgeon currently has $2.5 million raised from angel investors, which it’s using to continue building the game up through Nov. 6. While all of the company’s staff is currently focused on For the People, Mann tells us there are currently design documents in place for similar games that will incorporate political systems from international governments like Britain and Egypt.