The GOP Arcade website is one of the best examples of videogames using satire effectively to tackle real and pertinent political issues. Donald Trump is squarely on the chopping block here, with 12 flash games dedicated to making fun of his bizarre actions. Whilst this website was created as a campaign against Trump during the election process, the satirical elements still ring true even now that he has been inaugurated as president.
The website itself has been lovingly crafted to be self-aware yet ever so “patriotic”. My personal favourite touch was the little message that popped up after entering my email address into the website, which then proudly stated “thanks, and God bless America”. All of these little nuances add to the website’s charm and its refreshing attitude towards its subject matter, and that’s all before getting to the actual videogames. I took at a look at the games on offer and will showcase the most interesting ones and the messages they are trying to get across. Just remember that all of these games are tongue in cheek and are definitely not to be taken at face value.
Trump’s Pussy Grabber
This was the initial game that caught my attention after first visiting the website. (With a title like that, who wouldn’t be curious?) Simply put, this is whack-a-mole, only with Donald Trump’s grabby hand and a whole host of cats popping their heads out of the holes. You’re tasked with grabbing the “pussies” and seeing how high a score you can reach in the allotted time. The message is incredibly clear here, mocking Trump and his attitude towards women, whilst liberally sprinkling in some of his ridiculous quotes each time you grab one of the cats. You pretty much should know what you’re getting into from the name and title screen of the game alone.
The Voter Suppression Trail
Next up is what I would consider one of the more interesting games on the website. Basically it’s a riff on a videogame called the Oregon Trail, an iconic game that was installed on most computers in American schools many years ago. You start the game by choosing one of three different characters from three different ethnicities, and the basic goal is to wait in line and make it to the polling booth. The game is showcasing the difficulty that certain American citizens would have to go through, just to be able to cast their vote. While waiting small events will pop up, forcing you to decide whether to stay in line, or to go see the problem that’s been reported to you. It can get pretty ridiculous, such as your son suddenly coming down with dysentery (a definite nod to the original source material). The catch is that the only correct choice in winning the game is staying in line no matter what; leaving the line causes an instant game over, with your vote hilariously taking the form of a tombstone. For one of the characters the line is non-existent, and sees him casually walking into the voting booth and ending the game in little under a minute. As with most of the games on the site the gameplay isn’t complex, but it’s trying to bring to light what was a large issue for many Americans during the election in an engaging and humorous way.
Thoughts and Prayers – The Game!
A running theme with many of the games is the simple gameplay mechanic of being forced to make one choice to win. Thoughts and Prayers presents you with a map of the United States and tasks you with pressing T and P to “Think” and “Pray”. All the while mass shootings are going in various states, indicated by a small crosshair and the number of people who have been killed. About half way through the game an option to “Ban Assault weapons sales” appears at the bottom of the screen, but it’s a trick. Clicking on the option blasts the Windows error message and informs you that the decision is “Un-American”. The game is trying to show that the obvious answer is sitting right there in front of everyone, yet those in charge are refusing to take action. Likewise, no matter how many times the button is clicked, the only options are to think and pray. This is something videogames can achieve over other forms of satire, using simulation to portray the frustration that many Americans must have felt when nothing is done about a burning issue such as gun crime.
Bomb The right Place
Bomb The Right Place presents the player with two options from the very first screen: let’s look at diplomatic options or BOMB THEM. Clicking on the former is an instant Game Over and it’s another game that purposefully railroads the player down a single path in order to satirise that option. You are then presented with an unmarked map of a large portion of the Middle East, and it’s up to you to bomb whatever country they tell you to. The reasons for attacking these locations are irrational and illogical, with the game highlighting America’s attitude towards these countries. The catch is that since the map is unmarked you have no idea if the bomb you dropped hit its target, but a missed target doesn’t mean failure since as the game states: “I think they still got the message”.
Get Trumps Taxes!
One of the simpler games, but also thoroughly amusing. Your goal is to mash the A and L buttons on your keyboard to pull your tax returns from the hands of a comically grotesque Trump. The guarantee is that your fingers will ache trying to pry the document out of, as the game puts it, Trump’s Cold Dead Sausage Fingers.
Trump’s controversial wall between Mexico and the United States wasn’t able to escape GOP Arcade’s satirical grip. Designed to fit for smart phone touchscreens, the goal is to click and drag a group of grossly stereotyped Mexican citizens and fling them over a gradually rising wall. The gameplay gets more difficult as the timer ticks down, with the player needing to pick out the Mexican citizens from soldiers and “rightful” American citizens. Trump stands smugly on a raised platform on the left side of the screen, and despite my best efforts you aren’t able to fling him and his absurd ideals over the wall.
Check out the rest here: http://www.thegoparcade.com/#