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Wayside Press

Video game studio Wayside Press was founded by political journalist, author and humorist Eliot Nelson. Wayside has partnered with, and is being advised by, some of the world’s leading experts in entertainment, video game development and politics.

With the world of video games and interactive content easily being the most significant medium of our age, Wayside is bringing politics, the most significant subject of our age, to games with POLITICAL ARENA.

In POLITICAL ARENA, a simulation, strategy and role-playing video game, players master American politics by creating their own politician, then accumulating and spending the game’s three currencies through campaigning, legislating, negotiating and scheming. 

Players will immerse themselves in a dynamic world where each simulated politician has their own unique set of skills, traits, views and ambitions — creating an entertaining and realistic ecosystem where no two play-throughs are alike. So long as players can win reelection (and avoid impeachment or be forced to resign amidst a cloud of scandal), the path they chose is their own: President, Speaker of the House, imperious committee chair, lion of the Senate. 

POLITICAL ARENA is a sandbox for political experimentation and a deeply immersive learning tool. What happens when public campaign financing is the law of the land? How is the Senate changed by a devious and greedy majority leader? What happens if you play as a liberal in Mississippi or a conservative in California? Through POLITICAL ARENA’s addictive gameplay, players will gain deep insight and understanding of the rules that govern our politics and the human dynamics that help shape it. Players will become better citizens and have a blast doing so. 

Like the countless popular films and novels about politics, POLITICAL ARENA will draw on the more exciting aspects of government: dealmaking, campaigning, lobbying and, yes, scheming. Players can get elected Speaker and do battle with the President, not preside over quorum calls, plant opposition research in the press, not worry about dull committee testimony. However, POLITICAL ARENA will remain faithful to the rules, norms and feel of politics, ensuring players develop an intuitive and visceral understanding of how Washington and our elected officials operate.

A clean and intuitive UI and UX will make POLITICAL ARENA accessible to casual gamers and political newbies. Meanwhile, a rich list of features, complex political ecosystem and deep replayability will keep both avid gamers and seasoned politicos coming back. POLITICAL ARENA will be easy to learn…but with its dynamic gameplay, difficult to master.

The power-seeking mechanics of politics can be easily translated into a video game, and POLITICAL ARENA will leverage this to create a fun yet realistic gameplay experience. The jockeying over currencies — money, political capital and fame — will be familiar to players of Civilization and similar grand strategy games. Players of games such as Crusader Kings and Rimworld will recognize the central role that each player and NPC’s traits, skills and beliefs have on emergent gameplay. 

Following in the footsteps of games like SimCity, Oregon Trail and Kerbal Space Program, POLITICAL ARENA will be a fun video game that happens to educate, but is not an educational video game. By making a product that is fun and immersive, players will be compelled to return time and again and internalize how politics and government work at the ground level…while dodging potential scandals and trying to win reelection.

To learn more and add POLITICAL ARENA to your Steam wishlist, visit our website.