A political simulation for MS-DOS, developed by D.C. True, Ltd. and released in 1992 by Empire Interactive. You play the "Shadow President", the actual ruler of the United States of America. Using a virtual interface you control every action taken by the US. The game takes place in 1990. Germany is reunited and no one has heard of "Desert Storm" yet. There is no predefined goal here, the game has no real plot. You can do anything you want: Achieve world peace, combat poverty, conquer other countries or find out what would have happened if the Cold War had ended in a A-bomb slugging match between the US and the Soviet Union (very ugly that scenario; try it out). The world statistics are based on the CIA's World Factbook for 1990, so they are completely accurate.

You have seven advisors that can help you with your decisions:

  • White House Chief of Staff (WHC)

  • National Security Advisor (NSA)

  • Secretary of State (SofS)

  • Secretary of Defense (SofD)

  • Press Secretary (PS)

  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

  • Economic Advisor (EA)
  • Each of them have information pertaining to their position. For example, the SofD can tell you have much other countries are spending on their defense budgets (this is where you realize the US could slash it's defense budget by two thirds and still kick almost any single nation's ass. but that's another story.), the EA tells you how well a country's economy is faring, etc. Also, when planning an action (such as a diplomatic envoy), they will tell you how they feel about the move, and give you it's probable rate of "success". Because if the envoy "fails", you will lose leadership effectiveness. This leads to dissent and brings down your popularity, which you need for the elections (I don't understand this...how do elections influence the position of a "shadow president"?).

    There are a large number of actions you can take as Shadow President, ranging from tightening economic ties to restricting trade to launching a nuclear attack. Every one of your actions has an impact, and not just on your approval rating. By lobbying for human rights, for instance, you heighten ethic values in a country. But by that same action you raise dissent against the current government which leads to them condemning your actions (yes, you can verbally "condemn" a country). It is interesting to see the reactions that come forth from your actions, though they may not always seem quite logical.

    I believe the reason that this game never reached widespread popularity is because you have to love stats to enjoy it. For most people, this will be a dry, political simulation. But if you enjoy micromanagement on a world scale, this game is for you. It has all the statistics and reports you need to immerse yourself. It also quite enjoyable if you have the patience. And there are nice challenges like trying to prevent Iraq from invading Kuwait and forcing the Soviet Union to lower their nuclear research spending.

    In any case, it is a fun game to play with. In 1995 CyberJudas was released, which is basically the exact same game only with better graphics and an updated World Factbook for 1994 (it even uses the exact same advisor messages and some of the original sound effects).

    You can get "Shadow President" at the Home of the Underdogs. http://www.the-underdogs.org

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