Way back in mid-May, aka March 73rd, I wrote about how the Biden team planned to put their candidate into Fortnite, somehow. At the time, the ideas they bounced around included projecting Joe against a wall in the game (????), which, just by the way, is primarily played by people who are too young to vote. It all seemed too dumb to happen, but oh geez oh no what’s this, the campaign just released a whole Biden map. Good timing!
While you wait for the election returns to come in, hoping that you might soon be able to sleep through an entire night for the first time in 8 months, perhaps you would like to experience Joe's "No Malarkey Station." It's an interactive experience in which the game drops you into an empty David-Lynchian town where Biden and Harris have left chores for you to perform. I'm not going to say this was a bad idea, but it is at least extremely funny.
Players who load up the custom map (the code is 0215-4511-1823) will find themselves wandering a windswept small-town setting that inexplicably has a subway station, devoid of all human activity as though you are the sole sinful survivor of the rapture. Cardboard cutouts will appear now and then to implore you to find Kamala Harris’ ten missing sneakers (is she a centipede???), or to visit an ice cream shop because “Joe Biden loves ice cream.” You can also wander a concrete channel that looks like the LA River and pick up “industrial waste,” which is to say a couple dozen tin cans.
You are also reminded to vote and text a number to put yourself on the campaign's mailing list.
Of all the attractions, the ice cream shop is my favorite because it is like an incredible fever dream. You walk up to a counter and then a panel in the floor drops out and you are suddenly careening down a multicolored slide, propelled at breakneck speed through a rainbow of what I think is supposed to be various ice cream flavors. Then suddenly, after a terrifying dizzying plummet, you’re back in the ice cream shop, informed that you have collected 60 different flavors. I don’t care how much Joe Biden likes ice cream, that’s too many flavors.
The experience reminds me a bit of Sonic Dreams, a mind-bending art project involving various re-imaginings of Sonic the Hedgehog, including levels where Sonic gives birth to the player (“It’s not easy being pregnant,” Sonic says), an opportunity to force-feed Sonic, and one where you can rub Sonic’s realistic human feet. It’s so weird I can’t believe it’s real.
The Biden Fortnite map exists, ostensibly, to drive youth voter engagement—at least that’s according to Christian Tom, the campaign’s director of digital partnerships, who says that the program is “built around how people spend time.” Oh, how I wish I could spend my time being propelled through an ice cream funhouse! There is an approximately 0.00001% chance that Joe Biden is even aware of this thing’s existence, but if he is, I hope he is inspired to build No Malarkey Stations all across this country and fling Kamala’s sneakers far and wide.