Kung-Fu Election

This clever little parody flash game from Atom Films, Kung Fu Election pitted all the candidates of the 2008 upcoming US election in Mortal Kombat style death match fighting.

Introduced in 2008, Kung-Fu Election, was a Mortal Kombat  knock-off fighting game starring Republican and Democratic primary front-runners. The game is fairly deep, boasting three attack buttons plus special moves, but it was the intro video that snared us and we've been playing ever since!!. 



"Ah, 'Kung-Fu Election,' the classic 2008 political satire game, truly a gem for those of us who appreciate a good laugh amidst the sea of serious political discourse. Picture this: there I am, floating in my above-ground pool, tablet in hand, gleefully orchestrating epic showdowns between caricatured versions of Obama and McCain. As the in-game punches fly, it's a delightful escape from the all-too-real verbal jousting of TV commentators. In the soothing embrace of my pool, I find myself chuckling at the absurdity of these pixelated politicians performing outlandish moves, a stark, yet amusing contrast to their real-world personas. It's my perfect antidote to the daily barrage of earnest political analysis - a splash of humor in the often too dry world of politics. Who knew that watching exaggerated digital doppelgangers duke it out could be such an effective way to unwind and remember not to take it all too seriously?" Danny Diamond


This was just one of many websites that posted this game in 2008.


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Choose your favorite candidates and battle it out in this Mortal Kombat style flash game.


Development and Background

Origins and Concept

The concept of 'Kung-Fu Election' emerged from the vibrant political atmosphere surrounding the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The developers aimed to create a game that not only entertained but also provided satirical commentary on the political process. Drawing inspiration from popular fighting games, particularly Mortal Kombat, the game was envisioned as a platform where political figures could 'battle' it out in a fictional and humorous setting.

Design and Artistic Choices

The visual style of 'Kung-Fu Election' was a critical aspect of its design. The developers paid special attention to creating caricatures of the political candidates, emphasizing exaggerated features and traits to enhance the satirical nature of the game. The character designs were not only meant to be humorous but also to reflect the personalities and public perceptions of the actual political figures.

Technical Aspects

Developing a flash game in the late 2000s posed certain technical challenges and limitations. The team had to work within the constraints of early web gaming technology, focusing on optimizing the game for various browsers and ensuring a smooth user experience despite the limitations of flash technology.

Gameplay Mechanics

Controls and Gameplay

'Kung-Fu Election' featured a gameplay system that was more complex than typical flash games of the time. With three attack buttons and special moves for each character, the game offered a depth of play that was both challenging and engaging. The controls were designed to be intuitive yet requiring skill to master, appealing to both casual players and more dedicated gamers.

Character Roster and Abilities

The game included a diverse roster of characters, each representing a major candidate from the 2008 election. Characters like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain were not only visually distinct but also had unique abilities and special moves. These abilities were often humorous exaggerations of the candidates' perceived traits or political positions.

Levels and Environments

The levels and environments in 'Kung-Fu Election' were designed to reflect the political theme of the game. Each level was a caricatured representation of iconic locations associated with politics and government, adding an extra layer of satire to the gaming experience.

Cultural and Political Relevance

Political Satire in Gaming

The use of political satire in 'Kung-Fu Election' was a significant aspect of its appeal. The game not only served as entertainment but also as a commentary on the U.S. political system, turning the often heated and divisive political debates into a humorous, over-the-top spectacle.

Representation of Political Figures

The portrayal of political figures in the game was a delicate balance of satire and respect. While the game exaggerated certain aspects for humor, it also maintained a level of decorum, avoiding overtly offensive or derogatory depictions. This approach allowed the game to be funny and critical without being disrespectful.

Game Reception and Impact

Upon its release, 'Kung-Fu Election' was well-received by both gamers and political enthusiasts. It was praised for its innovative approach to political satire and its enjoyable gameplay. The game sparked discussions about the role of humor and satire in politics and how games could be used as a medium for political commentary.

Legacy and Impact

Influence on Subsequent Political Games

The success and popularity of 'Kung-Fu Election' had a noticeable influence on subsequent political-themed games. It demonstrated how video games could be used as a platform for political commentary and satire, inspiring other game developers to explore similar themes in their work.

Nostalgia and Cultural Impact

Over time, 'Kung-Fu Election' has gained a sort of nostalgic value, particularly among those who played it during their college years. It represents a unique period in both political history and the evolution of web-based gaming, serving as a cultural artifact of the late 2000s.

Absence of Updates and Modern Context

Despite its initial success, 'Kung-Fu Election' did not receive updates or new versions to reflect subsequent political events. This has led to a sense of nostalgia and a wish among fans for a modern iteration that could comment on current political scenarios.


In conclusion, 'Kung-Fu Election' was a landmark game that blended political satire with engaging gameplay, leaving a lasting impact on the intersection of gaming and political commentary. Its unique approach to portraying political figures and the U.S. election process through the lens of a fighting game showcased the potential of video games as a medium for satire and social commentary.



Basically a parody/satire of our dysfunctional political system in which partisan players duke it out in combat. Love the costumes and the artistic details that make politics into a battleground yet laden with humor and nonsense to keep it interesting. Especially love the female characters, which you can outfit with amazing weaponry and jewelry that look like they came straight from the artist - gorgeous statement rings and choker collar necklaces that contain hidden offensive weapons. The chokers actually choke the opposition and the statement rings become lances and laser weapons. Very fun, very funny, very enjoyable! No need to vote, just get out there and KILL! - contributed by Jon Elias


The main objective is to kill your opponent. You can be Obama, Romney, Hillary, Rudy, etc.  Rudy is vicious and true to form. Weaponry includes amazing blades ala Wolverine, and lots of other deadly items that you can use to destroy your opponent.  Music is appropriately radical, there's lots of blood, and when you decapitate someone, you get a big cheer from the peanut gallery.  It's the coliseum of political warfare with players you'll recognize and tactics normally used in martial arts and shoot 'em ups.  You'll play this game instead of arguing over policy - much better use of your time. - contributed by Mark Hadd.


Search Ops has a post on an experimental seo project that the veteran team at TNG/Earthling has committed to. Led by TNG/E's Rev Sale, Their simply stated goal is to rank at the top of the Google search for the word "nothing" - which has over a billion documents in Google. This is relevant, because this is the same team that was responsible for the record breaking organic traffic to Kung Fu Election.


At a dinner party about a month ago we started reminiscing about Kung Fu Election and wishing there was an update to encompass the present Trump presidency and his appointees. It seemed like such a disconnect discussing Kung Fu Election while sitting on the stunning italian modern dining furniture in my friends beautiful contemporary condo they had recently bought. Kung Fu Election was popular during our early college grunge years. A lot had happened in the past decade. All of us were appalled by the results of the 2016 election. Playing an updated "Trump" version of Kung Fu Election, if there were one, would be carthartic for all of us. Alas, no new version of Kung Fu Election is forthcoming.