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Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is dabbling in game dev

At a time when 'everyone plays games, and anyone can make a game,' is a common rallying cry, it's notable that 83-year-old two-time U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has helped develop a game.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

January 25, 2016

2 Min Read

"We need to do a better job on these later versions. They just get new glitches...we ought to find some way we can achieve steady improvement instead of simply making new glitches."

- Excerpt of game design advice reportedly given by lifelong U.S. politician Donald Rumsfeld.

The democratization of game development tools and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets have helped swell the ranks of the game industry in recent years.

At a time when "everyone plays games, and anyone can make a game," is a common rallying cry, it's notable that 83-year-old two-time U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is out beating the drum for a new mobile game he helped make: Churchill Solitaire. 

In a Medium post promoting his work, Rumsfeld notes that the game was developed by a team of developers who consulted with him and got the rights to use Sir Winston Churchill's name from his estate. According to Rumsfeld, both he and the Churchill estate will donate their portions of proceeds from sales of the game to charity, and Rumsfeld paints himself as being directly involved in the game's development.

"I’ve reviewed wire frames and branding guides. I’ve spent countless hours on beta releases. I’ve signed off on something they call 'UX,'" writes Rumsfeld. "I’ve put the game through its paces, offering suggestions and ideas to make it as closely resemble the game Churchill played."

The result is a free-to-play game based on a solitaire variant reportedly favored by the famed British leader as a means of practicing strategic thinking and whiling away the hours he suffered from insomnia. It is, by all reports, quite challenging.

"You can make a mistake very early on that can prevent you from winning a hand that would have been winnable,” Rumsfeld, who resigned his post as U.S. Secretary of Defense in 2006, told the Wall Street Journal.  “And that is also true in life.”

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