Donald Trump continues to do well in the Republican presidential primaries, but he might have to kiss the gamer vote good-bye. Over the past several months, some game developers have taken aim at the businessman turned presidential hopeful by releasing protest titles.
It started last year when Mexican developers took umbrage at Trump's remarks that Mexican immigrants were mostly murderers and rapists, though some, he allowed, are good people. Mexican game maker KaraOKulta fired back with Trumpealo, a mobile game where you throw soccer balls and other items at Trump onstage. The goal is to keep hurling abuse at him while he is onstage for as long as possible.
Around the same time came Trumpada, a more ambitious mobile game from Apto Comunicación Digital. This one is a side-scroller in which you play as Trump himself. He patrols the United States border, whipping enemies with his distinctive hair and throwing money at minorities to make them leave.
Apto co-founder and producer Alvaro Plasencia spoke to Fusion about the purpose behind the game via email and said…
Everybody hates this guy. He has spoken crap about Mexicans, he is making fun of us all of the time. Every time he speaks, he causes trouble to Latin communities.
Polls show that Trump’s standing with Hispanics is terrible. Up to 85 percent view him unfavorably in some polls.
It’s not just Hispanic gamers who are feeling some anger at Trump. Remarks he made in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 were recently rediscovered on Twitter, leading to a backlash from gamers after Trump partially blamed the massacre on violent video games. The shooter was rumored to be a fan of violent first-person shooting games, but it was later revealed he was more dedicated to titles like Dance Dance Revolution.
In the aftermath of the shooting, there were calls from some legislators to apply a sin tax on violent video games to fund mental health initiatives, and Massachusetts actually removed games involving guns from public rest spots with arcades.
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The latest salvo in the pushback of gamers against Trump has been the game Stump the Trump. This one pushes the envelope a little further than the Mexican titles, having players drop stumps on Trump in order to crush him to a gory death. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Beat Up Anita, the title in which feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian could have her face bruised and bloodied by players before it was taken down. Speaking of Sarkeesian and the GamerGate controversy that targeted her among others, they love to tweet support to Trump despite his anti-gaming rhetoric because they admire his troll game. Regardless, responding to accusations that violent video games make people dangerous and murderous with a game in which you kill your critic doesn’t really dispel that notion. By contrast, Trump Dump, where you make an eagle poop on Trump, seems almost kind.
It should be noted that Trump hasn’t always shied away from gaming. In 2005 he lent his likeness to Airborne to create Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon, a business simulator. The game allowed you to amass a real estate fortune and, if successful, face off against Trump himself in a battle of business acumen. The Apprentice spawned a few minor games as well. There was also a board game from Trump, and the commercial features Phil Hartman, of all people.
On the other side of the race, Hillary Clinton has a somewhat conflicted past with gaming. She championed the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which would have criminalized the sale of Mature and Adult-Only games to minors. A similar California law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2011, protecting games as free speech, with an impassioned majority decision written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. On the other hand, the Clinton Presidential Library recently put out a picture of the then-First Lady playing a Game Boy on a flight. Clinton was apparently somewhat apprehensive about computers until her daughter, Chelsea, helped her overcome it through gaming.