Player JLM Has Entered The Game
The French presidential election is less than two weeks away. And the outcome has never been more uncertain. Eleven candidates are competing in a campaign that has been marred by controversies involving François Fillon and Marine Le Pen, two of the four leading candidates.
With various mega-debates, marches, outdoor meetings, this campaign has brought a lot of noise to the French electorate’s ears. But this Friday, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, far left candidate of the “La France Insoumise” party, unveiled an unexpected political communications tool: a video game.
Fiscal Kombat, a vintage-looking 8-bit video game, features Jean-Luc Mélenchon as an avenger, shaking “the oligarchs” (including Liliane Bettencourt, Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde, Jérôme Cahuzac, and fellow presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron) to get allegedly-owed money back, before tossing them away. When the virtual Mélenchon is defeated by the greedy tax-evaders, the player can pour the reclaimed money into the Trésor Public, to (virtually) contribute to the 278-billion budget required for Mélenchon to implement his program.
What’s interesting about this initiative is that the video game was not developed by the Campaign Committee of the candidate, but by Le Discord Insoumis, a citizen-based, collaborative initiative whose goal is to spread Mélenchon’s ideas using the most innovative methods (an interactive display of the candidate’s platform, a user-generated-content aggregator for memes and montages, and more).
The use of a video game is a first for the French presidential race. It’s a clever way to engage younger audiences and present a candidate as innovative and creative. In other words, it’s a fun approach to illustrate change and to stress the candidate’s interest in a dynamic industry (Mélenchon advocates for the creation of a Centre National du Jeu Video).
But Fiscal Kombat, as entertaining as it can be, is an over-simplification of the candidate’s message, more a “ras-le-bol” addressed to the political elite. While Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s program certainly won’t be implemented by simply “shaking the oligarchs,” we do find the use of a video game to convey complex political ideas a novel concept worth attention.