(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Donkey John!

Thursday, August 19, 2004
While there have been dozens of great political games centred around the upcoming US presidential elections, Australia seems to have a very sparce satirical simulation landscape. Of course, that couldn't last forever! Take a peak:

Donkey John! This wonderful little political game critiques Australian prime minister John Howard's involvement of Australia in the Invasion of Iraq and the attempts to exploit East Timor's (disputed) oil by painting his motivation as purely to deliver cheaper oil to Australia (and his actions as predictable as that gaming "hero" Donkey Kong). The choice of game-style is also great since these handheld style games were popular in mid-1980s which is where John Howard's political heroes (Thatcher and Reagan) were at their peak of influence! The caricature is also ... amusing!
Producer: Joe Boughton-Dent
Characters, Splash Screen &
Game Background: Tom Spiers
Coding & Design: Kaho Cheung
Update (1.30pm, 20 Aug): I just wanted to make clear that I'm not actually part of the team that put this game together (but I am a massive fan of the game they've made). I listed the credits above simply because they weren't very visible on the game site itself. Also, it occurs to me that the game may disappear one day, so for those interested (and for archival purposes) these are the Instructions that accompany the game:
The evil Donkey John is laying claim to East Timor’s oil resources. Press START or < space > to begin and guide brave Xanana Gusmario up the oil rig using the arrow keys, jumping the stolen barrels of oil by hitting < space >. Press < left > to activate the International Crane of Justice and use it to bring greedy Donkey John down.

If you earn over $300 in foreign aid you will be awarded an extra Gusmario, very handy considering average life expectancy in East Timor is just 65 years (that’s Donkey John’s age, by the way). And if you make it to $300 without losing a life you earn Double the Dollars until you die.

Sounds great, but it’s nothing compared to the estimated $1 million a day in revenue Australia is taking out of the disputed oil fields – more than enough to allow East Timor to stand on its own economic feet without playing demeaning foreign aid games.

Remember, if you would rather this low act was kept quiet you can always press < M > to toggle sound on/off. And if you would like to stop taking East Timor’s oil you can either vote Donkey John out, or press < P > to pause at any time.
Bring that Donkey down!!


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