George W. Bush has a new book out. Dick Cheney has a new video game. But the latter is not an official product and does the strangest things with its source material.
The Cheney game is called CheneyStar. It is sold for download for a dollar on the Xbox 360, in the Indie Games Channel, which is essentially the home video game equivalent of the untamed iPhone app store. Anyone can make a game for the channel, and any of these games can be about Dick Cheney. Sadly, the games don't have to be good.
CheneyStar's creators describe their game as some sort of sci-fi shoot-em-up, with a big Cheney head as a sort of floating Death Star. "Half Vice President, Half Killer Space Robot," blurbs the developer Johnny Death Games. The CheneyStar name is a riff on Sinistar, a classic arcade game with a similar style of gameplay. The Cheney head will spout some gibberish about hating liberals and shooting his shotgun. Nothing too clever, but still worth a buck for me to sample.
I downloaded the game and discovered it is odder than advertised.
I loaded CheneyStar on my Xbox 360 and for some reason a game started starring a woman in a bikini shooting a machine gun while people cheer for Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
The floating Cheney head did show up, as you can see in the video I captured of the game...and then you get into the CheneyStar game, which is duller than any other space-shooter I've played on the Indie Games Channel.* You are supposed to fly a small space-ship, using its guns to blow up the CheneyStar. Disinterested in obliterating outer space Dick Cheney, I failed. He swallowed my ship.
Dick Cheney has (sort of) appeared in at least one other video game this year. A power-hungry U.S. vice president who looked just like him showed up in a popular spy game earlier this year. That game didn't add much to the cultural conversation about Dick Cheney either. Dick Cheney = menace. That's all I got.
Where's the deep, nuanced interactive Dick Cheney adventure we need, video game developers?
*UPDATE: Apparently I stink at this game. Its developer was kind enough to send me a YouTube clip of how you are supposed to play. It looks more fun this way!