The Political Machine

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The Political Machine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: August 12, 2004
Genre(s)Government simulation
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The Political Machine is a government simulation game from Stardock and the first game in the Political Machine series, in which the player leads a campaign to elect the President of the United States. The player accomplishes this goal by traveling from state to state and engaging in a variety of activities to either raise money or raise poll numbers.

Each game starts with the selection of a pre-created candidate or creation of a fictional candidate from one of the two major American political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

Headquarters and fundraisers are possible, the effectiveness of which depends on various factors.

When enough money is accumulated the player can "invest" it in advertisements (either through newspapers, radio, or TV media). The effectiveness of these ads are determined by several factors. For instance, an ad supporting tax cuts will work better with Republican Texas than with Democratic Massachusetts.

A key factor in the game is the concept of "Stamina" and "Turns." In each turn, representing one week, a candidate has a set amount of stamina to engage in activities. For example, establishing or upgrading a campaign HQ costs more stamina than creating a newspaper ad.

A sequel, The Political Machine 2008, was released on June 16, 2008, with new characters introduced, such as Barack Obama and John McCain. A second sequel, The Political Machine 2012, was released on July 31, 2012, with new characters introduced, such as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. A third sequel, The Political Machine 2016, was released on February 4, 2016, with new characters introduced, such as Bernie Sanders and Carly Fiorina. A fourth sequel, The Political Machine 2020, was released in March 2020.


Basic candidates[edit]


Chloe Sullivan has several strong areas as a candidate, but lacks experience.


Unlockable candidates[edit]

These candidates have to be defeated by a member of the opposite party in Campaign Mode in order to unlock them.




The game received "average" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[1]

The editors of Computer Gaming World nominated The Political Machine as their 2004 "Strategy Game of the Year (General)", although it lost to The Sims 2. They wrote, "[W]e were enamored with Stardock's The Political Machine, which let us run the 2004 presidential campaign in a way that was far more fun than its real-life counterpart."[12] The Political Machine won Computer Games Magazine's 2004 "Best Budget Game" award.[13]


  1. ^ a b "The Political Machine for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  2. ^ 1UP staff (October 28, 2004). "[The] Political Machine". Archived from the original on May 12, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Geryk, Bruce (November 2004). "The Political Machine" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 244. p. 84. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Political Machine". Game Informer. No. 139. November 2004. p. 167.
  5. ^ Ferris, Duke (September 3, 2004). "The Political Machine Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  6. ^ Todd, Brett (August 18, 2004). "The Political Machine Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 19, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Chick, Tom (August 24, 2004). "GameSpy: The Political Machine". GameSpy. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  8. ^ McElfish, Carlos (August 25, 2004). "The Political Machine - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  9. ^ McNamara, Tom (September 20, 2004). "The Political Machine Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Political Machine". PC Format (167). November 2004.
  11. ^ "The Political Machine". PC Gamer: 96. December 2004.
  12. ^ Editors of CGW (March 2005). "2004 Games of the Year". Computer Gaming World. No. 249. pp. 56–67.
  13. ^ Staff (March 2005). "The Best of 2004; The 14th Annual Computer Games Awards". Computer Games Magazine (172): 48–56.

External links[edit]