I'll admit to having a man crush on Stardock ever since they issued the PC Gamer's Bill of Rights at PAX last month. Gotta love it when a game publisher thinks about issues like copyright in a rational way and makes a commitment to caring about its customers.
While Stardock is perhaps best known for strategy titles Sins of a Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations, its presidential campaign sim The Political Machine is a terrific play as well. And now you can download it to sim the 2008 presidential race for free. Stardock announced last week that they are giving away The Political Machine Express for Windows PCs. From the company's press release:
The free strategy game... puts players in the role of the campaign manager of either John McCain or Barack Obama in a quest to win the White House. The game has been updated to feature vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin...
Players play on the electoral map of the United States with the goal to gain the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the election. Players get 21 weeks (approximately the time candidates have between the primary season and the general election) to make speeches, raise money, buy advertisements, hire political operatives, appear on cable TV shows in order to woo voters to their side.
GP: Although I've played the full version, I haven't tried the free Political Machine Express. The primary difference would appear to be one of scope, however, with Express focused on the actual McCain-Obama fight, whereas the full $19.99 game offers numerous hypothetical scenarios.
The video accompanying this article is the trailer for the full game.