Mario. Sonic. Rayman. Ron Paul? The presidential candidate is having a shot at platforming greatness in Ron Paul: Road to Revolution.
Developer Daniel Williams needed $5,000 to get his browser-based platformer funded through Kickstarter. He reached that goal in 24 hours. Hailing from Texas, the same state as the libertarian-leaning congressman, Williams spent the last few years as a freelance programmer and helped launch www.ronpaulswag.com, a merchandise site that makes ”liberty sexy with our unique mix of apparel and accessories.”
The odds of Ron Paul being the Republican nominee are slim, but Williams hopes to release this free game this summer before the August convention that will name the candidate. In this interview, he talks about the goal of the game not being to convert anyone, the unlikely inspiration for the puzzles and the odds of Keynesians showing up as enemies.
Can you tell me what Ron Paul: Road to Revolution is about?
Daniel Williams: It’s a sidescrolling adventure game where you play the role of Ron Paul. You’ll make your way across the United States collecting delegates, sound money, and ultimately end the Federal Reserve and rescue the Constitution.
What made you want to create a game on the congressman/presidential candidate. Why do you think Ron Paul makes a good videogame hero?
Like a lot of people I was apolitical. I was always of the mind that government should leave me alone, and therefor not interested at all in politics. I caught some of Rons speeches on youtube and got really pretty excited that there was someone legitimately championing for the limited government I long for. Since then I’ve gotten pretty involved in the liberty movement, and have met a lot of really great people in the process. I feel very at home with libertarians, rare for me, and I really wanted to create something for my, and younger generations of libertarians to be excited about.
Ron Paul makes a good anything hero. He’s very principled, he speaks from a place of genuine comprehension, and he doesn’t bullshit. Everything he claims is backed up with a consistent, documented history. Kids should have more heroes like that.
On your Kickstarter page you say you played some old school games and wanted to “re-harness their awesomeness.” Did any games in particular inspire Ron Paul: Road to Revolution?
I wanted to reach a wide audience, so I wanted to capture some of the ageless simplicity Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. The puzzle elements of the game were inspired by a game called Krusty’s Fun House on NES
The game seems to be feature many nods to Ron Paul’s platform, from his desire for competing currencies like gold to his opposition to the Federal Reserve. Were there any aspects of his platform that you wanted to include in the game but couldn’t quite fit in?
I’ve realized there are a lot of ‘sensitive’ topics around Ron’s campaign, and libertarians in general. I’ve tried to be careful about what sort of messages I might be sending. That being said, there aren’t really any aspects of his platform that I wanted to include but couldn’t fit in. I’ve found ways to incorporate just about everything that I felt was relevant.
Congratulations on reaching your $5,000 fundraising goal in just a day. What does this mean for the game now that you reached that level and will likely make more in the next couple weeks?
Thanks, it’s totally exciting. Firstly it means I can afford a decent soundtrack instead of trying to churn one out on my own (no musical talent or experience whatsoever). It also means I have a little breathing room to focus on making the game as good as I can, rather than working on it when I can make time in between other paying jobs. Mostly, it means that I feel the pressure to make the game as good as I can. I had no idea that the game would be so well-received, and in truth, I was pretty nervous about launching the Kickstarter project. I considered it sort of an experiment with amazing results.
In the Texas level you showed off, a deformed George Bush seems to be the main enemy. Can you reveal some of Ron Paul’s antagonists in the other states? Similarly, any hints about who the unlockable characters are?
No modern, indie game would be complete without zombies, so you’ll probably run into some. You’ll see sleep-walkers, Neocons, maybe some Keynesians.
There are a few unlockable characters. They’re a surprise for those hearty enough to unlock them, but for the most clever of your readers, I’ll provide a hint in the form of an anagram: jhomas thefferson
What do you hope somebody who doesn’t follow politics or the presidential election gets out of the game?
Truthfully, the game is made for Libertarians. I really wanted to make something culturally relevant, so there’s a lot that non-involved people may not get. But I’m trying to put a big emphasis on the game being fun – which I hope will get people at least interested enough to go do some research on their own. I’m not trying to convert or ‘Ronvert’ anyone with the game alone, I’m just trying to get their attention.