Nerdy political games
I have always been a bit of a nerd. My first short story, when I was 9, was about some bears who were anthropomorphized by some high-tech paint gun. That was several years before I really became a sci-fi fan. If you want further proof, after I discovered I liked politics and elections, I participated in or helped develop a variety of online political games over the years:
A “virtual commonwealth” form of fictional micronation, this was a forum-based political simulator where users played founding fathers to a budding democracy as well as lawmakers, presidents, and businessmen – not necessarily in that order.
Road to the Presidency and Road to Power (1998-2005)
JTJ was one of the earliest online communities for political junkies to simulate running for President. I remember running as the Democrat in one game, but I don’t remember what happened. Following in that JTJ tradition, I tried to run a full-service election game of my own through emails, forums, and spreadsheets. I would grade candidate activities and strategies and use spreadsheet formulas to calculate winners. Distinct from Cyberia, these were efforts to mimic how U.S. elections worked. In one iteration, detailed Senate elections were attempted. I still own the roadtopower.org domain name in case I ever want to revive the franchise.
American Government Simulation (2004-2009)
The popularity of forum-based election games peaked with the advent of AGS during the 2004 presidential election. Players role-played politicians while a group of users administered the game from behind the scenes. Prestige Points (PPs) drove activity as the ambitious tried to run for Senator or President. My first character lasted the longest, won the Presidency twice and a Senate three times. My character’s achievements are immortalized in the collection of speeches I released titled From Maverick to Statesman. Similar efforts to capture the larger spirit behind AGS, either in adaptations or a collection, have stalled.
President Forever (P4E) and subsequent iterations of the game (2004-present)
This software replaces forum-based games for being the most detailed and customizable engine for election fun. The company has created versions based on the UK, Australian, and German election systems, among others. Users then hand-crafted fictional mash-ups of U.S. elections, created maps for local elections, and even adapted micronations for the game. I personally created games for Cyberia, University of Florida, and a US Senate race in Florida (based on my Adams novels), among others.