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I’m a gamer. I haven’t been able to play very much lately because of school, but I’ve still been burned by more than a few video game pre-orders in my time. The first game that comes to mind for me is Destiny, which was hyped as the biggest game since Halo (whose series has made $3.4B). Press was extremely positive, and huge numbers of people pre-ordered the game without an inkling of what, exactly, it would be like. “Order early and get exclusive armors, weapons, and abilities,” said the ads. The video game masses were swayed by trinkets and a rabid fan base that will like the game no matter how flawed it might be. Most of us went along with it because the hype train for this game was huge, and who doesn’t like getting on the right hype train early? After all, the studio behind Halo was creating Destiny, so it stood to reason that Destiny would be at least as good as Halo. Right?
Wrong. The single player story was short, buggy, unfulfilling, boring, and hobbled by the need to purchase downloadable content (DLC), not just to enhance the game, but to simply complete the story. Destiny is not the only game to have issues with living up to the pre-order hype. Sim City (Really any game from EA), Assassin’s Creed Unity, and more have had issues.
I feel like this is an interesting parallel to primary races. Right now, we have a multitude of candidates that all of our friends want us to throw money at for what is, essentially, a pre-order. “Donate money to Ben Carson,” says my uncle. “Ted Cruz is a great candidate, and I’m sending him money,” says my dad. The problem I have with this is that why should we send any money to candidates who haven’t proved anything during this primary? Sure all of the current Republican candidates have great resumes, have accomplished a great deal, and all of them are smart. But why should everyday people be expected to pre-order a candidate at this point in the race?
This early on, any candidate might have a short, unfulfilling, boring candidacy hobbled by missteps, poor strategy, and foot-in-mouth syndrome. I recognize that candidates do need money to operate a campaign, but there has to be a better way (ideas anyone?). It pains me how so many people get attached to a candidate before they even see how that candidate handles him or herself on the national stage. A presidential campaign isn’t as simple as brain surgery, state Senate races, or any race for a governorship; it is another game entirely.
I won’t pre-order any candidate this year. I have my eyes on Marco Rubio, but I won’t be sending in my pre-order money. I will wait for the political equivalent of Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes reviews to roll in as the race progresses. Most importantly, I will wait so I can evaluate the candidates on my own, which seems to be much easier once the hype train settles down. I just hope that one candidate among all of them will turn out to be, in the parlance of Rotten Tomatoes, Fresh as opposed to Rotten.
Just a quick note on membership. I reactivated my account so I could post this article. I was listening to the Ricochet Podcast episode “Vive Le Podcast” on the way home from Colorado State University today and the talk of presidential candidates got me in a writing mood. I had intended to rejoin after graduation (which is less than a month away) but long story short, the promo worked ;)