In November, lame cartoon character Sheriff Gringo failed to win a Senate seat, despite his strong campaigning. This month, I decided to keep the Gringo flag flying by becoming a congressman. At last it is time to fear me! I am in a position of power! Well, okay, I'm not really. But after playing a sucky Windows game from the 1990s, I have now - apparently - experienced what it's like to be a congressman. The less-than-exciting game which made this possible was Capitol Hill, a cheap, thrown-together so-called game that has about three different things to do. Expecting the chance to make deals, take bribes, chase votes, fundraise and forward your own agenda? Fuck that! What do you think I'm reviewing? A good game? Ho ho! I now present to you the highlights (about one) and lowlights (everything else) of this game. I'm afraid (ooh! Scary!) that Capitol Hill is not a winner. But I won't stop there. Oh no! Not when there's many more paragraphs to inflict on you. Enjoy! And if you don't enjoy it, don't vote me in next term. Oh, wait, I'm not really a congressman. See what playing crummy old games can do to your mental state?
Ah, yes. The most thrilling graphic in the game. A door. When you start the game, you have to choose a state to have come from. Seeing as I'm British and England isn't an option as the 51st state, I went for California. Hey, it's big, sunny and liberal enough to elect an assclown like myself. And just look at the reward I got for being able to type my own assumed pseudonym and clicking on California! Yes! My own door plaque! Ooh! The perks never end when you're a new congressman. I wonder what you get if you've been there a couple of terms. I think mostly oral sex from interns, but I'd also like a big picture of my face on every wall in Capitol Hill. Although a benefit of this game is you never face re-election. You just stay in Congress for as long as you want. Ha! Fuck you, democracy! The computer informed me (for mine speaks a million languages) that I picked a low number in the lottery for offices on Capitol Hill. My number was five, which was apparently a "good number". As opposed to those nasties four and six, I assume. My office turned out to be a cardboard box on the steps of Congress. The box smelt of pee.
Pissed off at the crappy office (the game lied and said "you selected it in the office lottery"), I decided to try and play with the diary on the desk. I was pleased to see there were many hour-long gaps in the diary. I assume that's for sleeping. While clicking through the entries in the diary (you can't actually do anything, merely read about stuff that isn't part of the game), the stupid voiceover man returned. He said, "Taking time out to eat is important, and if some business can be done at the same time, all the better" Fine, but how the hell can you concentrate on business when the diary entry reads "Lunch at Joe & Moe's with the National Association of Manufacturers." First of all, Joe & Moe's. The fuck? Second of all, does that mean representative Gringo is due for lunch with the whole damn association? I can just picture that. TABLE FOR 100,000, PLEASE! There were some other meetings and entries in the diary which didn't look very interesting, so I didn't bother trying to find out anything more about them. I bet the voters of California would be kicking themselves in the nuts if they knew how Mr. Gringo was acting. Of course, then the game would have to be real. And not just shit.
Now the phone call part of the game is just fucked in the head. Seriously. There's one voice actor doing about five calls, which end up repeating themselves. And because that one actor is a very bad actor, the characters range from Mrs. Screechy Mad to Ms. Assboat Wacky. You can't interact with the calls, merely click on the phone and listen to some diatribe. And guess what sort of exciting things you get to hear? You get a call telling you some chocolate gifts are ready for collection. Then there's a call to confirm a dinner reservation. There's even a call from your secretary snapping at you and saying "I'll be there in a minute." Which is a bit odd, given the fact you're answering the call from her. Fucked up bitch! Memo to self! I must remember to fire her. This, like the following letters part of the game, is just an unnecessary and somewhat annoying feature. I was going to edit the sound files and have people making prank calls, but then I got bored and realised I wouldn't know where to start. On the bright side, at least I know my chocolate's ready to pick up.
The wordiest (and worst) part of Capitol Hill is probably whenever a letter arrives in your virtual office. Clicking on an envelope symbol brings up the latest scrawl from some clowns back in the fictional Gringo-electing California constituency. A few were rather dumb, actually asking me to do stuff like save schools and hospitals. What do these people think congressmen do? Help voters? Ha! But there was one gem of a letter. It was from some NRA nut, demanding I do all I could to "defend the right of every law-abiding citizen to buy a gun." Because I adopted a policy of voting NO to everything...ever (see below, you pre-emptive asshat), I was more than happy to agree with this person's position. Again, the level of interaction is somewhat limited as you can only read the letter, not reply to it. That's probably just as well, because I'd no doubt have wasted two hours typing a 1,000 page response which just said "cunty" as many times as I could fit it on each page. Instead, I wasted those two hours trying to find something I could actually interact with in the game. The only thing I found was, perhaps not surprisingly, the one where I could actually do something. Well, press a button. But it's a start!
The best part of the game was the fact you get to ruin American's lives through voting. For no reason, I decided to adopt a VOTE = NO! policy for deciding every bill. For example, I was called to vote on HR1 Family Leave. The bill's aim was to grant family leave and temporary medical leave under certain circumstances. In other words, twelve weeks of unpaid leave for workers if their child or relative becomes gravely ill. Fuck those work-shy bastards! VOTE = NO! I was one of 152 who voted no, 247 voted yes. Idiots. But I got my revenge. House Res. 20 wanted to re-establish the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. VOTE = NO! Then I went and did a line back in the office. Because 236 other representatives voted with me, it meant (a) the bill was stopped and (b) there was a strong smell of pot in the air on Capitol Hill that afternoon. Hang on...I'm acting as if I really am a congressman. I need help! Still, at least I got to vote on a bill proposing a light-hearted soapbox derby on Capitol Hill. Guess what I chose? VOTE = NO! Sadly, my vote was the only dissent, and little Jimmy got his soap box race after all. That sly bastard!
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