General Election isn’t the only political videogame to have ever been made, but by focusing on the UK election process and taking a computer board game approach, it may well have been the dullest when it arrived in 2001.
It really is a bizarre peak into an earlier era of PC gaming – when a French publisher would release an election-based game from developers with the catchy title of ‘Template Business Support Services’. Yep, it’s from Infogrames, who at the time owned the likes of MicroProse, Atari, Paradigm Entertainment, GT Interative, Gremlin Interactive and Ocean.
Infogrames went on to pick up Eden Games and Shiny Entertainment before things got a bit trickier and it had to start selling or closing developers and assets.. In 2009 it officially became the Atari Group. Meanwhile it’s hard to find out what happened to Template Business Support Services.
But what about the game itself?
Well, it’s a computer based board game, with Britain divided into 61 regions. As you travel around the board, you land of squares associated with events like press conferences, information leaks or debates. It’s optimistically described on the box as ‘a game of strategy and skill as well as a test of your knowledge of politics and election issues such as Health, Law & Order, Foreign Affairs and the Environment. All questions have multiple choice answers so you don’t have to be an expert on politics to play!’
Compounding the surreal nature of the game, the BBC website let one of their ‘online technology’ team write about his experience of the game back in May 2001.