Gaming

I Played Clive Palmer’s Video Game And Now I’m Trapped In Hell

Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant

Typing “Clive Palmer” into the Apple App Store, I could feel my soul leaving my body. “Do I really want to do this?” I thought to myself. No, I did not. But the world is a cruel place, and we do not always get what we want.

Last week Clive Palmer, leader of the United Australia Party and less wealthy man’s Donald Trump, released a free game on Android and iOS. Called Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant, its aim was to endear Palmer to youth and demonstrate that he is “a logical step forward for Australia”

Reactions to the game were a mix of bemusement and revulsion. Setting aside the fact that nothing about Palmer is logical, the man isn’t typically known for being humble, a meme merchant, or in touch with young people. I was baffled as to what kind of creature Humble Meme Merchant would be. 

So, in a quest for knowledge, I willingly drank the poison.

Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant

Upon beginning my descent into Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant, I was met with the logo for developer Emu War Games: A coat of arms flanked by emus wielding assault rifles. Strung below it was a ribbon reading “omnia nobis circa pecunias”, Latin for “all around us the money” according to Google Translate.  

I’d barely started and already I could feel Palmer’s presence, like a malevolent spirit haunting the app.

But fortune favours the bold, or so I told myself, so I steeled my nerves and ventured onward. Tapping a button, I confirmed I understood the game had been authorised by Clive Palmer, United Australia Party L17, 240 Queen St, Brisbane 4000 QLD.

Then I was taken to the menu screen and almost threw my phone across the room.

“CLIVE FOR CANBERRA / CLIVE FOR HISTORY / FOR GOING BACK IN TIME / YES IT’S CLIVE”

I was hit with the impulse to clap my palms over my ears as a voice blasting from my phone literally sung Palmer’s praises. If sound were a physical thing I would have clawed it from my ears and flushed them with water. I could feel the lyrics slither into my ear canal and lay their eggs.

“CLIVE FOR CARBON (well it’s the carbon tax) / CLIVE FOR MINING (there’s nothing in it for me) / FOR CLIMATE CHANGE DENYING / YES IT’S CLIVE (one of the benefits of global warming there isn’t so many icebergs)”

The game’s ostentatious menu displayed Palmer in front of a T-rex, private jet and Titanic 2, but it was the music that really stimulated my bile ducts. I was sorely tempted to hit the mute button.

But there could be no half measures, no turning back. I was here to bear witness, and a witness must not close their ears.

Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant

I gathered my resolve and entered Story Mode, where I was greeted with the sight of Palmer standing by a sign reading “Welcome to Townsville”. I’ve never been to Townsville, so I can’t speak as to the accuracy of its depiction. For all I know it’s a lovely place.

Clive Palmer‘s Townsville, however, was the centre of a Venn diagram comprised of all nine circles of Hell.

dog-faced sun shone overhead. A United Australia Party billboard asked Australians to “demand lower power prices”. Two Bill Shorten-headed cockroaches skittered along the grass. But most distressingly, Palmer’s omnipresent bard continued uninterrupted.

“CLIVE FOR LOVE (it’s all about love) / AND BEING WITH YOUR BROTHER (I’m with Kevin) / IT’S TIME TO GO BACK IN TIME / YES IT’S CLIVE (government for the people by the people)”

There was nothing for it. I ran.

Using buttons on the screen to move right, left and jump, I made my way toward the right side of the screen. “Just get out of Townsville,” I told myself, “and you can stop. Get out, and you never have to listen to another ode to Clive again.

The gameplay was fiddly and difficult, and death found me quickly and often. But I clung to the hope that there would be a finish line – a belief bolstered the presence of a level select screen.

Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant

But for me, there was no end. By the time the chorus struck up a new Palmer hymn, this time appropriating the tune of Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’, I’d lost count of the number of times I’d thrown myself down the gauntlet.

“HE’S FROM QUEENSLAND BUT HE REALLY LOVES WA / YOU HEAR HIS ADS ON THE RADIO EVERY DAY (Hi Clive Palmer here)”

I’d squashed Shortenroaches. I’d squashed 2GB radio presenter Ray Hadley. I’d leapt over canyons and on top of ledges and onto floating rocks.

“HE’S A RICH MAN AND NOW POLITICIAN / HE’S A MAN (he’s a man) WHO BUILDS DINOSAURS (rawr)”

But inevitably I’d trip up. I’d mistime a jump, or land too far forward. Then, like Sisyphus, I would be returned to the start, and all my work would be for naught.

“GETTING ASCENDANCY IS HIS AMBITION”

There were no extra lives, no checkpoints. The biscuits I diligently collected on my run provided no assistance – I couldn’t eat them, throw them, or turn them in for some advantage. I gathered them because they were there, but they were an insubstantial illusion of achievement, like participation awards and box mix cakes.

“TONY ABBOTT’S A BORE / AND BILL SHORTEN’S A DORK”

I was trapped, forever collecting meaningless tokens and running toward a finish line I couldn’t reach. The demons howled in glee as I pressed onward, their discordant voices straying further off tune and falling into laughter when I tumbled into the pit once more.

“PALMER PALMER PALMER PALMER’S WORTH A BILLION / HE’S GOT 12 BOATS / AND HE NEEDS YOUR VOTES”

Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant

Yet despite my struggle, by the time I turned in for the night I was at peace. Against all odds I’d finally freed myself, though I still hadn’t reached the end of Townsville. No, I’d achieved a greater victory. I’d escaped the game.

It had taken a while for me to break my own self-imposed rules, but I’d come to realise these rules were worthless if nothing positive came from them. This game did not bring me joy, and so I KonMaried it into the ether. Clive Palmer: Humble Meme Merchant had been wiped from my phone, never to darken my touchscreen again.

I did not have to pay Palmer’s chorus any mind, nor give him another moment of my time.  The cage was of my own making, and so was the door. I put my phone down on my bedside table, turned off my lamp, and finally laid down to rest. I’d gotten out.

And then the eggs hatched.

“CLIVE FOR CANBERRA / CLIVE FOR HISTORY / FOR GOING BACK IN TIME / YES IT’S CLIVE”