Ever since the unearthing of The Great Gatsby NES game, 8-bit-lovers worldwide having been searching for the next lost retro work. Watergate: The Video Game, could very well be that. Now some may claim that this point-and-click adventure game, an apparent sequel to the seminal Shadowgate, was actually created only recently by famed Funny Or Die comedian Samuel Kim, which explains why the game's investigation into the conspiracies of President Richard M. Nixon quickly take more than a few hilariously surreal turns.
Watergate plays a lot like the classic MacVentures the game is a clear riff on. A map of available exits and a list of commands is available at the bottom of the screen, and your current inventory appears to the side of the main display window. Players make progress by clicking the desired command then the desired object, collecting evidence, visiting different locations, and being confounded at every time. Sometimes the constant command clicking is a little annoying, but it was annoying when you tried to play Uninvited on the NES, and, if anything, Watergate commits to the joke with all its pixelated heart.
A wry combination of video game parody, pop culture riffing, political satire, feverish adventure-game logic, raunchy one-liners, and bits of stunning historical accuracy made all the more comedic by how rarity, Watergate tries to be a lot of things, and it generally succeeds. It leans much closer to Dick than All The President's Men, as you might expect. As source material combinations go, 1970s investigative journalism and the Nintendo back-catalogue isn't exactly chocolate and peanut butter, but kicking around Nixon is almost as much a comedic trope as a pie-to-the-face, and more jokes work than don't. For a concept that might have proven its point with a photoshopped game cartridge, Watergate is an impressive piece of comedic, and players with an interest in, and a minimal amount of respect for, American history should definitely check it out.