The most popular game on miniclip.com at the moment is Volcanic Airways. ‘The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland has erupted, you must escape the volcanic ash and get to safety! Loops get you more points!’ For all those urgent exclamation marks, Volcanic Airways is the slowest game ever – your chubby Boeing drags its bulk through the air at such a leisurely crawl that when the ash cloud finally catches up you can’t help but feel you deserve to be engulfed. The work of the programmers behind the game, though, has been undeniably swift.
The internet gaming industry has never been slow to respond to the news. As the presidential campaigns for the 2008 US election ground on, a game called Presidential Paintball appeared: ‘Hillary, Obama, Giuliani & more play paintball for the USA presidency’– with phosphorescent green paint, in the White House! As candidates dropped out of the race, the range of characters you could choose to play as narrowed, till only Obama and McCain were left. Though Hillary lived to fight another day in Street Fight, in which Clinton and Obama go mano a mano in business attire on the White House lawn, while Bill and Michelle cheer from the sidelines.
The UK general election hasn’t proved so fruitful. But then it couldn’t have been a paintball shoot-out, or a boxing match – too dynamic, too entertaining. A bout of three-way sumo would be more like it: three sweaty blokes locked, grunting, in a monolithic head-to-head, pounding their angry legs into the dust.