Sawbuck Gamer

Argument Champion


Argument Champion tests your ability to work the echo chamber of mob opinion.

By Drew Toal • August 21, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

I never gave a thought to joining the debate club in high school. Part of that can be chalked up to a general aversion to confrontation, but it also has a lot to do with the difficulties in marshaling evidence and using this evidence to forcefully articulate compelling arguments. I prefer to resolve disagreements with a mix of Zen koans and vapid sports clichés, and by randomly paraphrasing Bertrand Russell.

None of this works very well in Argument Champion, where Corax—the ancient, cyclopean argument demon—helps you divine your audience’s beliefs and tailor your arguments to fit those preconceptions. You and your opponent are each tasked with picking a subject and then arguing for your chosen stance while dismantling your opponent in the eyes of the crowd. Through Corax, you can figure out which arguments poll well with the audience and which unpopular ones you should link to the other guy. When it’s your turn, you pick an idea out of the crowd’s thought bubbles and try to either link it to your own through a thematic chain, or tie it to the other debater like an Akinian albatross.

I can’t argue that strongly for Argument Champion, for a couple of reasons. Basing your attack on the audience’s preconceived ideas might be the norm in the era of cable news, but debate is always more impressive when you have the chance to change someone’s point of view. Plus, skill doesn’t always apply in the game. For instance, a woman in the crowd thinks about how she loves “Howard,” and you’re supposed to link that to your topic of communism? It’s possible, somehow, but only through mostly random guessing about Howard’s social and economic proclivities. I might as well give 110 percent out on the field to the sound of one hand clapping, since God doesn’t exist.

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236 Responses to “Demongoguery”

  1. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    “GET OUT OF HERE YOU WORTHLESS SCUM!”  “No, I came here for an Argument Demon and I’m not leaving until I get one!”  “OH, sorry, no.  I’m Abuse.  Try the next door down the hall.”

    This looks like fun, although a bit depressing in how closely it resembles current politics.

  2. blue vodka lemonade says:

    My senior year of high school, some speech team kids were trying to get a debate team together. We had a few practices, and even went to one competition.

    The best thing our team ever did was get a giant index card and write RACE on it, and gift it to our (African-American) student council president who was on the fledgling team. Any time he pulled it out from his desk, we gave him the win.

  3. Merve says:

    I can’t tell if this game is just really silly or if it’s a sad commentary on political discourse in North America. My first round in this game involved arguing in favour of GOLF over GROWTH. Take that how you will.

  4. caspiancomic says:

    My first round I had to argue that ‘intercourse’ was better than ‘ordinary’, so that was pretty much in the bag. In the final round though, I had to argue ‘ritual’ was better than ‘poem’, which ought to have been nasty. My opponent though, attempted to conflate ‘feminist’ with both ‘cold’ and ‘angry’. At first I though that his goose would have been cooked in a real life debate, but the more I think about it, the more I think that line of reasoning might have won him the debate in front of most audiences.

    In the game I crushed him. Sometimes I like games better than reality.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Just try arguing Hitler vs. Elephant!

    • DrunkPhilatelist says:

      i successfully argued that crime was better than humanity to win the world championship. it reminded me of Thank You For Smoking… i didn’t have to convince people crime was all that good, i just had to remind them that rage is a lot like a newspaper.

  5. HobbesMkii says:

    I won the Galactic Championship by just linking every negative I saw to the my opponent’s topic: Baby.

    • Colonel says:

      In the last round, I somehow connect my topic, “out,” to “Spain.”  Then I just linked everything to Spain because, let’s face it, peeps love th’ Spain.

  6. trilobiter says:

    I tried for the debate team once, and failed hard.  My skills were much better suited for Academic League, where I only had to recall obscure facts at lightning speed.

  7. Stummies says:

    I ran out of time trying to connect a negative idea to my opponent’s topic. When the game went back to the main screen, nothing happened…it just hung there, silently, with the audience members looking awkwardly at each other. Did I win?

  8. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    hey Gamelogical Society — word has it that Nintendo Power is calling it quits.  You people should pull together a thoughtful, reflective obituary of it while it is still breaking news.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

  9. shouji694 says:

  10. James Bunting says:

    Kind of a frustrating game, actually. The associations don’t necessarily make much sense.