Bernie Sanders supporter Gerald Smith successfully funds a Final Fantasy-style video game based on the 2016 US presidential candidate via Kickstarter.
Ever since Double Fine’s Broken Age adventure game was successfully funded on Kickstarter, the site has become a go-to for video game dream projects of all kinds. Sometimes these Kickstarter campaigns are for spiritual successors to established franchises, and other times they’re to fund sequels that would have never been created otherwise. And other times still, Kickstarter is used to fund some outright strange projects, and so is the case with Bernie’s Journey: The Bernie Sanders Video Game.
Underground hip hop artist and self-professed hardcore gamer Gerald Smith created the Kickstarter campaign for Bernie’s Journey one month ago, with hopes of developing a a retro-style turn-based RPG based on the story of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In the weeks since, the campaign has blown by its measly $500 minimum funding goal, and at the time of this writing, is currently sitting at just over $1,500 in funds with seven days of funding to spare.
Smith cites games such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest as his influences when creating Bernie’s Journey. The game will feature an overworld that players are free to explore, along with classic turn-based RPG combat. Players can expect to battle the likes of Bernie’s political rivals, such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, while teaming with various Bernie supporters as party members. Smith has offered some examples of said party members, which will apparently include Bernie’s wife Jane Sanders, rapper Killer Mike, and economist Robert Reich, among others.
And since the game has raised $1,000 more than its initial funding goal, some stretch goals have been added as well. For example, reaching $750 added an extra gameplay mechanic wherein players will partake in recreations of the various debates from the campaign season. If players are able to answer the debate questions correctly, they will be rewarded with bonus items. At $1,000, Kickstarter backers were able to have dungeons based on supposedly anti-Bernie media outlets added to the game.
If $2,000 manages to be raised before the funding period ends next week, then one of the more interesting stretch goals will be reached. At $2,000, Bernie will be able to fly to the Vatican in Italy (the rest of the game takes place in the United States), recruit the Pope as a party member, and then travel to Hell to battle Satan himself.
Smith realizes that Bernie Sanders battling Satan in Hell alongside the Pope is an absurd concept, and so the game will understandably have a humorous bent. Despite its focus on satire, though, Bernie’s Journey is also supposed to have some educational value – assuming Smith is able to finish development of the game despite his lack of experience when it comes to video game development.
With someone who has never developed a video game before as the sole designer of Bernie’s Journey, there is a chance that the game won’t finish development. There have been some Kickstarter projects in the past that have failed to deliver, or have ended up cancelled in mid-development, and it seems likely that a similar fate could befall this Bernie Sanders video game. However, there’s also a possibility that Smith will be able to defy the odds and finish Bernie’s Journey: The Bernie Sanders Video Game by its December 2017 deadline if he truly commits himself to the project.
Bernie’s Journey: The Bernie Sanders Video Game is slated to be available in December 2017 for PC and mobile devices.