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Friday, 1 June, 2001, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Taking the election fight to the web
Stereo MPs
Make politicians dance to your tune
By BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward

Games and satire sites that lampoon politicians and policies are gathering a following as the UK election enters its final week.

The election-themed games found on the web give voters lots of opportunities to virtually humiliate and punish politicians.

The games range from traditional politician pastimes such as kissing babies to ones that let voters make politicians dance to a variety of pop tunes.

Not surprisingly there are lots of games that feature John Prescott.

Power politics

The political parties may have spent lots of money making their election websites attractive and easy to use, but many voters are spurning them in favour of a variety of parody and satire sites that turn the election campaign into a game.

One of the more popular games is the Stereo MPs site created by MTV UK. This lets you manipulate the dancing styles of Tony Blair, William Hague and Ann Widdecombe.

Mr Hague can be made to "vogue" and Ms Widdecombe can be made to twist her hips like the best club groover. The politicians can be made to dance to everything from rapper Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" to Papa Roach's "Last Resort".

Kiss the Baby game
Kiss enough babies and you could win the election
One popular theme in the games sites are politically-themed versions of Space Invaders. One called Parliament Invaders, found at the Friendly Giants website, replaces the familiar aliens with the disembodied heads of politicians.

It uses the flying heads of party grandees such as Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher as a substitute for the high score UFOs that whizz across the top of the screen.

There are lots of games that feature John Prescott. They vary from the relatively unsophisticated "Punch with Prezza" on the Scotsman election website to the slicker punching game created by Rancon, and the impossible to beat "Egg Prescott" game at satire site Spinon.

The combat theme is continued at the Crouching Tony, Hidden Hague site that pits the two party leaders against each other in a death-match battle of martial arts moves.

Crouching Tony
Crouching Tony goes in low
Highly unscientific testing by BBC News Online staff found that the computer-controlled opponents were hard to beat.

They employ their special attack; tiger punch for Mr Blair and hurricane for Mr Hague, so often that they are almost impossible to defend against.

Other sites are more straightforwardly satirical. One is the "C Team" site that puts the faces of William Hague, Michael Portillo, Ann Widdecombe and Francis Maude on the bodies of Hannibal, Face, Mr T and Murdock, from the A Team TV programme. Even the soundtrack of the TV series has been altered to fit in with the Tory theme.

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