The objective of the game is spelled out in its title: Stay Mayor.
To accomplish this, you must charge directly forward, never stopping, barely wavering, dodging cameramen, hurling footballs. It's more difficult than it sounds.
You win when you collect $200,000 to purchase "the aleged video" [sic]. But you will lose patience long before that.
Stay Mayor is a special kind of contradiction: despite being not especially fun, it is a joy to play. The app's blend of tediousness and outlandishness captures our real-life mayor fairly well, and it's less a game in the conventional sense than an interactive political cartoon that employs the medium to make a sort-of point.
Ben McEvoy, one of the creators, tells me he'd aspired be a political cartoonist when he got out of university. But he soon discovered such gigs were tough to come by, even as far as newspaper jobs go. So he went into digital production instead.
Only recently, thanks to the grand inspiration of Mayor Rob Ford, did he decide to fuse his passions. When Ford was caught reading behind the wheel last August, he and colleague Barney Wornoff discussed building a driving game around it. The idea, McEvoy explains, would be that "you gotta avoid cyclists while you're driving, so that you can still read your briefing papers and get to City Hall in time."
They didn't end up making it. But Wornoff did later develop a game about the Ikea Monkey.
When the crack scandal broke last month, they recognized another opportunity and decided to see how fast they could turn around a game about it.
"The whole idea was: we make a game really quickly that talks about some sort of thing in the news," McEvoy says. "It can be funny, it can be poignant, whatever. So the Rob Ford thing, was sort of like, 'Hey, this one's kinda easy, let's put it together and see what we get out of it.' So it's really just round one."
Under the banner of Extra Extra Games, they got it on Google Play on June 6th. (The process of getting something into Apple's App Store is more drawn out, which is why it isn't yet available for iOS.)
"This one took us just over two weeks," McEvoy says. He hopes to get that down to fewer than five day in the future, so he can churn out a regular series of news-derived titles, including several more based on Ford.
"There's the hiding-from-the-gay-pride-parade game," he says. "It'd be the same kind of concept. Basically, you're running down Church Street, trying to get to your cottage, and avoid any kind of media, as well as gay pride. So it'd probably be the gay pride [parade] passing down, [and] you have to hide. We haven't figured that one out quite entirely yet."