Otto Steininger, illustrator and design entrepreneur, has just released a release-the-stress-of-the-election-year digital game. “Smack That Elephant” is a phone app that offers many moments of fun for the Democrat that has everything, including depression over this year’s congressional results. I asked him what prompted such a project and here is what he said:
Why this app at this time?
A few months ago during one of many moments of anger at the sheer absurdness of the ever more venomous right-wing propaganda machine I fantasized: “what if I could just smack them off the map?” I had been thinking about developing a game for the iPhone for a while so I decided, why not do this one first because I have a real deadline: the midterm elections. Unfortunately the release has been delayed several times because either myself or the programmer was tied up with work from our regular clients, so the release happened much later than we had planned. And then the next obstacle was the realization that Apple does not accept any “[…] offensive or defamatory content […] that in Apple’s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone […] users.” So we turned to Google’s Android platform, knowing that Google seems to respect the First Amendment.
Have you met with any app store problems?
So far none (in this case it’s called Android Market—the app store is Apple’s own iPhone-specific store). In fact it is a lot easier to launch an app or game on Android Market because you are not subject to Apple’s content-controlling approval process.
What is the reward at the end of the game?
The reward is that you can, if you are politically so inclined, stem the tide of states turning red and gradually turn the map into a nice, soothing blue. You can influence the outcome by being a deft player—just like in real politics. And you can play it over and over again, beating your own score or that of a friend.