It was only a matter of time before some clever developers came out with a new mobile game that mimics the real life charades of embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s life.
Actually, the game we speak of, “Stay Mayor!”, came out back in late June during the infamous “Crackstarter” video scandal. Now the folks who created Stay Mayor!, Extra! Extra! Games, are working on a new, version 2.0, particularly after the events of the past month. Those events include Ford admitting to smoking crack “in a drunken stupor”, a video surfacing of a visibly drugged out Ford, fans parading around the mayor as he attended several Toronto sporting events and even Ford accusing a Toronto Star reporter of being a pedophile, among others.
The new update is scheduled for just after Christmas.
“Right around the time that Bill Blair came out and said he has some evidence that there actually was a video, I got on the phone with my partner and said ‘we need to do another game NOW’,” said producer Ben McEvoy. “But the story went so quickly that we had to kind of stop and say, ‘lets wait for a bit of a break here’. Now here we are almost 8 weeks later and we’re finally at the point where we have another game almost at the point of development.”
Extra! Extra! Games was built on the vision of creating games based on popular, current news stories and trying to gain notoriety through news coverage, influencing downloads by word-of-mouth. They’ve hardly any money off of Stay Mayor!- about $60 from ad revenue off of the 10,000 downloads between iOS and Android- and its pretty clear that money isn’t the motivator. Both McEvoy and his partners all have jobs that pay the bills. For McEvoy, its a role as a digital producer at a few different companies.
The folks at Extra! Extra! Games aren’t political cartoonists- although at one point McEvoy wanted to be one- nor are they satirical experts. “We just found something funny and wanted to make a game out of it,” he said. As if Stay Mayor! wasn’t hilarious enough, the company has also released the IKEA Monkey game as well as “SPECTACULAR Quebec!“, a game that pokes fun at the endless contradictory comedy surrounding Quebec’s charter of rights and values.
McEvoy calls Ford an “ongoing punchline,” and explained that while the mayor’s constant lying and antics gets under his skin from a tax-payer’s standpoint, he is in the business of creating content. “From a political standpoint he’s got a lot of things I don’t believe, and I disagree very passionately with, but I can kind of empathize with John Stewart and these other guys after George Bush left office, where it was kinda like, “sigh, there was so many good ideas!”
With Stay Mayor! Version 2.0, app gamers can expect a few cool things. In one mode the mayor must travel Toronto collecting votes for the upcoming election while police tail him. He avoids media from his driveway to get to the Gardiner Expressway, and to city hall, all the while finding buckets of fried chicken to power up on.
As the Toronto Star described it last week, “At one point in the game, the mayor will transform into a giant subway car (tentatively called “Gravy Train mode”) and shout “Subways, subways, subways!” as he pummels through cameramen and female councillors alike.”
They also briefly thought about a “big bother mode”, where the mayor’s older brother Doug Ford comes in and defends for players, bringing the mayor closer to his election goal.
But even as McEvoy claims he’s strongly against Ford, the current version of Stay Mayor! does a good job of satirizing the mayor while taking shots at the Toronto Star and other leftist media throngs.
“I think that there are a lot of sides to the stories and we don’t just want to come out and say, ‘this is totally what it is’, and then finding out we’re wrong,” McEvoy told BetaKit. “It’s also partly trying to show his perceptions of the media, so it’s the whole idea of him being chased by something that he hates and giving him the power to throw footballs at things to get rid of them. It’s sort of lampooning his opinion.”
In the end the guys from Extra! Extra! Games see no problem in devoting more gaming content to the ever-evolving circus that surrounds Rob Ford. In McEvoy’s words, he’s simply “right” for games.
“They serve a bit of a purpose too, nothing too grand but at least keeping people thinking about him.”