GOP Arcade: Turning Political News into Playable Games
Many of us gamers play video games as an escapist outlet to get away from all the stresses of the world. This has become perhaps no more important than now, when we are in an interconnected world where everyone is willing to share #FakeNews stories, whether from Russian Trolls or the "Failing" New York Times, to your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. All of this is precisely why you came to a video game website: so that you could escape all of that. And yet my editor hates me, so here we are talking about the GOP Arcade instead.
The GOP Arcade is a set of 12 satirical games created to lampoon the GOP during last year's presidential election cycle. Some of these titles, like Trump’s Pu**y Grabber, reflect specific events, in this case the Access Hollywood tape. Others, like Trump Toss, reflects policies and the attitudes behind them, specifically immigration policies concerning Mexicans and the border wall. And yet others still, like Angry Old and Thoughts and Prayers: The Game are as much about a reflection on the GOP as our society at large. While I won’t inundate you by talking about all 12 games, I would like to go over a few of them here.
Beware: We are legally required to make sure that you’re aware that this is a trigger zone. If you are susceptible to being triggered by satire, flashy lights, or -- dare I say -- facts, then you might want to turn back now. But be sure to share this first!
The Voter Suppression Trail
The Voter Suppression Trail is brought to us by a partnership with what our President likes to call the “Failing” New York Times. From the onset, it tasks you with, "Finding out if your vote can survive the adventure of American democracy” all tied up in a neat little package influenced by the classic edutainment game Oregon Trail, a game the GOP can truly appreciate since it was based during the times when America was still great.
First, you choose which character you will play as.
I choose to role play as myself; I played as the white guy.
The game hints at potential challenges on your way to the polling station, but I merely entered the voting facilities and was in and out in a little over a minute. While I didn’t play as either of the people of color, I can’t imagine it’d be any different. This lack of struggle really makes for both an uninteresting story and gameplay. I can’t help but feel like the message was lost somewhere in the mix.
I'd like to note that I’m not racist, I merely enjoy pretending to be willfully oblivious to the plights of anyone that is not myself while I write articles.
Angry Olds stars the disembodied heads of several old, white guys in an Angry Birds style game. Except, instead of overthrowing the pigs, you are overthrowing all of the things that old people hate, like Obamacare, Gay Rights, and Civil Rights. The one thing I can't help but wonder is where are all the grannies? Is it propositioning that grannies are just woke?
The metaphor comes across strong in a slap you in the face sort of way. You literally launch these grandpas from a slingshot, with the word "VOTE" plastered along the side, into buildings made of blocks with the names of government programs and movements etched into them, such as Obamacare, Gay Rights, and Immigration. The pigs are replaced by children. TNT boxes function the same, except now they say "Trump" on the side. Presumably because Trump's leadership is explosive, which I think is a statement both sides can agree on in some form or fashion.
Just in case the message wasn't clear enough, when you complete a level it is capped off with a sarcastic, congratulatory quip like,"That'll teach 'em to hide behind social justice!" as your dying wishes cast immigration reform, gay rights, and civil rights into a pile of rubble.
All that being said, somehow a poppy rendition of “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”, which is tucked away on the victory screen, makes all of your injustices melt away. Suddenly I look forward to being able to do just the same when I get old. You know what they say, every grandparent looks forward to the possibility that their generation is the one that ensures there are no other generations.
Bomb The Right Place
The name of Bomb the Right Place is relatively on point; it'd be like if Call of Duty was named, "Run around like a chicken with your head cut off and shoot anything that moves", or RALACWYHCOASATM for short. From the onset, you are informed that America is viewed as weak and that the only way to solve this is by bombing your way to respect. (Also how I got my girlfriend's parents to like me.)
You are then informed of enemy movement and given the option to either seek diplomacy or BOMB THEM! If you choose diplomacy, you instantly get a game over while being ensured that your enemies will walk over you. Choosing to BOMB THEM places a map of the Middle East in front of you without any country labels and only the name of a target country to assist you.
You know what this means, right kids? It’s better to have bombed and accidentally hit a civilian hospital 1,000 miles away from your desired target than to have not bombed at all.
It’s like my grandpa always said,”You lose 100% of the wars you never start!” and “You can’t win a war unless you give it 110% of your budget!”, and,”You need to keep your woman in her place. She needs to be washing dishes, not discussing war at the dinner table!” Such a wise, sexist old man. I'll always respect how he tried to ensure the destruction of any chance for me to have a nice life. A truer Angry Old has never lived.
Get Trump’s Taxes
GOP Arcade's load screen says it all. They will forever be lamented.
Irony is sometimes the most powerful tool. And the fact that Get Trump’s Taxes always failed to load, no matter how many times I reloaded (many), how many different days I tried it on (three), or how many computers I tried it on (one), spoke volumes about this situation.
I feel like this should bother me, but a friend once told me to think about it like this. "Your job as a lowly, yet glorified intern doesn’t even require you to reveal your tax returns to employer's," he started,"Just because you don’t have tax returns because you don’t make money is beside the point", he continues, his words cutting deep. "So why should a position like that of the President require it?" If you really overthink it and try to pigeonhole it into your worldview like my friend, then I guess it makes sense. I'm just sad about being poor.
Perhaps my favorite title on the list, Trump Toss has you tossing (ie deporting) illegal immigrants by throwing them over Trump's proposed border wall. This sounds easy enough, but you must avoid accidentally deporting American citizens, such as border patrol officers.
Sadly, this game's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: difficulty. It is the only game that is challenging and fun enough to actually warrant you playing it over and over in an attempt to earn victory. But it is also nearly impossible because the game doesn't spawn enough illegal aliens to actually facilitate your success. In a way it is almost like the game's poor balancing is an allegory that's possibly suggesting that it'd be impossible to deport enough people to make a border wall that costs billions of dollars seem financially viable. Take from that what you will.
Ultimately, what the game lacks in detail-- it doesn’t even allude to Mexico paying for the border wall-- it more than makes up for with the fun pick and throw gameplay.
Enough is Enough
Overall, the games on this website which I bothered to actually acknowledge were relatively bad, except Trump Toss; that was fun. I guess maybe they weren't supposed to be fun, they were supposed to tell a satirical message, but at times, much like the original draft of this article, it was hard to tell the difference between satire and actually backing a position. If you changed a couple lines in Angry Olds, then it could easily be seen as aggrandizing that position. Maybe that's the point though. Looking at the same situation from very slightly different angles can show drastically different feelings. With material like that you best not blink while consuming satire, you just might miss it.
What do you think of GOP Arcade? Do you have a favorite game? Let us know in the comments!