You’ll read many year-end roundups on the web this month—not least The A.V. Club’s own Best Of 2012 features. But to our knowledge, there’s only one 2012 retrospective that’s entirely playable. That would be our sister site Gameological’s Play The Year extravaganza, which reimagines major moments of 2012 as a series of goofy browser games.
The Gameological Society invited four development teams to make a game inspired by a memorable 2012 news story, with two weeks to bring their game from concept to reality. Those two weeks are up, final code has been turned in, and you can experience the results for yourself. Here’s the lineup—click the screenshots to play:
It was the gaffe that defined a campaign. Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark became the most replayed and dissected quote of the election, yet few details emerged about the mysterious videographer who recorded it in the first place. Secret Agent 47% puts you in the shoes of that enterprising citizen reporter, or that scurrilous snoop, depending on your perspective, as you wield your cameraphone in a quest to capture a snippet of American history.
The pop-culture bombshell of the year was the news that Disney would be continuing the Star Wars saga with Episode VII in 2015 and another Star Wars picture every couple of years thereafter. That’s a lotta Star Wars! They will need some sort of Star Wars movie-making machine. Star Wars: Sequel Debacle Simulatron is just such a machine. With this device, the space opera of your dreams can come to simu-life. Maybe you’d like to see a Star Wars written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Martin Scorsese, with Tina Fey in the starring role. You can even have George Lucas himself direct—the possibilities are that ridiculous.
Modern presidential debates have become forums for stubbornness, taunts, and the occasional “zinger.” It’s like a playground game for the highest office in the land. Super Debate 20XX lets you play that game of presidential roshambo. In order to become leader of the free world, all you need to do is construct the perfect argument. If your foe argues rock, you argue paper. If he says that only a strong scissor initiative will get this country’s economy back on track, you counter that our founding fathers believed in the lasting power of rock.
It takes a strange turn of events for “Referee in the Lingerie Football League” to become an important line on a person’s résumé, but things got pretty weird when the NFL locked out its regular officials this year and was forced to rely on the dregs of the football referee ranks. To commemorate this bizarre moment in American sports, Pareffa The Ref puts you in the role of a hapless replacement ref. Poor Pareffa just wants to get the calls right so he can be left alone. But the crowd has different ideas.