Image: Watergate: The Video Game
Good point-and-click games and good investigative journalism have more in common than you might think. Both start slow, for instance: getting the boring basics of the situation can lead you to throw your hands up in frustration and give up. But if you have patience and commitment, both can send you down a rabbit hole of addictive obsession.
Watergate: The Video Game proves that they're two great tastes that taste great together. Debuting just a few days ago, it's an old-school, Shadowgate-like adventure that puts you in the shoes of Bob Woodward during his finest hour. It starts out as a pretty straightforward retelling of All the President's Men, but quickly gets trippy. Pretty soon, you're digging up the skeleton of Checkers Nixon and confronting H. R. Haldeman with a mystical broadsword offered to you by Ben Bradlee.
The game is the brainchild of writer and improviser Samuel Kim. I caught up with him to investigate the secrets behind this minimasterpiece.
MOTHERBOARD: Why did you make this game? Were you feeling a deep hatred for Bob Woodward while playing Shadowgate or something?
Samuel Kim: A friend and I were drinking and reminiscing about old video games—as man-children from the 80s do—and the idea sprang from an offhand joke: "Hey, there ought to be a sequel to Shadowgate called Water_gate_!" It was probably the same bolt of creative inspiration that struck the director of Pokeacuntus.
Thrilling phone-call action!
I bear no ill will toward Bob Woodward. This was meant to be an affectionate tribute to his work. Granted, he's not what he used to be; if he's standing next to a computer running speech-to-text software, it's scientifically impossible to tell them apart. But in my opinion, his work during the Watergate era earns him a lifetime pass. Even when he's being politely threatened by the Obama Administration.