GDAT. (fictitious Game and Digital Aptitude Test for testing
Gregg Keizer, Omni. Nov,
can just forget about judging the presidential candidates
by how they handle the talk-show circuit or even how they
cajole the House into transforming position papers into legislation.
We know how to evaluate Clinton and Bush: with a day or two
in front of a computer playing games.
electronic universe, candidates can be tested long before
we give them the keys to the White House. Think of this GDAT
(Game & Digital Aptitude Test) as a political simulator of
sorts, a way to put a prospective president in a decision-making
crucible without any danger of damaging the country. We make
pilots practice on simulators - why shouldn't we let George
and Bill practice before they play with the real thing?
first GDAT task tests patience and perseverance: Set up a
no-name PC clone, install Wing Commander II on the hard disk
drive, and then get the game to run. If a guy can't figure
this out on his own (no help from political handlers or Secret
Service, please), he'll never puzzle out the country's troubles.
Ten points for finishing; five for just getting the PC turned
on. This one's a tossup, though Bush supposedly uses a PC
in the Oval Office.
on the GDAT is a quick game of Tetris Classic, that addictive
puzzle game where blocks fall from the sky. It'll test reflexes
and quick-thinking skills, both essential to dealing with
a fast-changing world. How can the president make the right
move in Bosnia if he can't in Tetris?
policy's third on the GDAT. Sit Bush and Clinton in front
of a PC running Balance of Power, a classic geopolitical simulator
that puts them head-to-head with the ex-Soviet Union in a
game of nuclear chicken. The USSR may be dead, but the game
will still reliably test each man's coolness under crisis.
Twenty points to anyone who survives the game, and immediate
disqualification from the race if the game ends with a nuclear
man may claim to be the environmental candidate, but why take
their word? Let's find out with SimEarth or Global Effect,
two games of planetary ecology. Can they turn off global warming
or keep an endangered species alive? Manage the forests or
manage to eradicate zillions of life forms? Ten points for
the best-run planet (as judged by a panel of Nobel Prize winners);
five points for simply keeping the world running. Bush will
have to cheat on this one; whispers from Gore give Clinton
SimEarth's predecessor, makes a great inner-city exam. This
urban planner on the PC doesn't include South L.A.-style riots,
but it'll test the candidates' abilities to manage city growth
and even give us some insights into how eager they are to
raise taxes. See if Clinton throws money at problems, as his
detractors claim, and test Bush's free-enterprise zones. Ten
points for a happy SimCity populous; minus five points if
the little people toss the player out of the mayor's office.
can't cover everything, of course. There's no budget simulator,
for instance, to test each man's skill with numbers. Instead,
the GDAT uses a Lotus 1-2-3 or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
that tallies up federal income and lists government's expenses.
The candidates must fiddle with the numbers until the bottom
line's a wash-no deficit allowed.
even test candidates for the vice president's spot. In fact,
it's easy, since the only skill a VP really needs is golf.
We'll run each potential veep through 18 holes of PGA Tour
Golf for Windows. Bush's man Quayle should capture this easily
unless the GDAT throws in a spelling game like Super Solver's
why stop there? We test kids all the time, looking for the
best and the worst. Why not do the same with every politico?
Why not uncover the gifted public servants and spot the dullards?
want one thing for my idea: the franchise on the remedial
classes that'll coach the GDAT. I'll be richer than Croesus
in nothing flat.
© 1992 Omni Publications International Ltd.