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Arts & Entertainment

Donald J. Trump: The game




President-elect Donald Trump battles unknown assailants.
President-elect Donald Trump battles unknown assailants.
Screencap from "Make America Great Again: The Trump Presidency"

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Imagine a video game full of action and suspense, a game where you get to hang from helicopters while shooting at ISIS militants, a game where you get to rule over the country, forging alliances and fortifying borders.

Following this description, one might infer that they've just read the description of some new, shoot-em-up video game out just in time for Christmas. 

Well, not quite. 

Each of the afore-described games features a special main character: President-elect Donald Trump. 

At least five video games starring Trump have come on the market this year. Some carry a very pro-Trump message; others are decidedly anti-Trump.

Regardless of the stance, thousands of gamers have paid to play the part of the president-elect. 

For a deeper look at what's out there, Take Two spoke to gamer and CNET senior editor Ashley Esqueda. 

(Questions and answers have been edited for clarity)

Highlights

You've looked at some these games. Many of them came out during election season. Why is digital Donald Trump such a major selling point? 

I think that he is certainly a character. I mean, just in real life. We all kind of know people like this but because he's known on a global level and he's now the president-elect of the United States, I think people want to either put out a message of anti-Trump support or they want to say, 'Hey, this guy is the best, and he's going to make America great again.' So they're expressing that in the same way a street artist would but by creating video games.

Digital bodyguard successfully defends candidate
Digital bodyguard successfully defends candidate "Rump."
Screencap from "Mr. President!"

Have any former presidents been featured as characters in video games or is this a new thing? 

I think the amount is new. There are certainly occasions where we have seen presidents in games: in 2010, you were able to play as Barack Obama in NBA Jam. Also in Call of Duty Black-Ops Zombies, there were Nixon and JFK skins that you could fight zombies in. There was also a very strange multiplayer co-op shooter called Reagan-Gorbachev. 

If you're a child of the 80s, that makes sense, though. Let's go through some of the games featuring the president-elect. Let's start with the games that have a Trump-positive narrative.

I would say that the most Trump-positive narrative would be Make America Great Again: The Trump Presidency. That was one of the ones where you control Trump, you do his 'day-to-day' activities, which is hanging out of helicopters fighting ISIS. 

Day-to-day. 

As you do when you wake up in the morning, and you're the president-elect. Building the wall on the US-Mexico border, and also invading China which is also a little bit, you know, controversial. Sort of a love letter to some Redditors who enjoy hanging out in a sub-Reddit called "The Donald." A lot of Donald Trump supporters in there, so they seem to be enjoying that one. 

A digital depiction of the president-elect attacking ISIS.
A digital depiction of the president-elect attacking ISIS.
Screencap from "Make America Great Again"
A digital depiction of President-elect Donald Trump defeating ISIS.
A digital depiction of President-elect Donald Trump defeating ISIS.
Screencap from "Make America Great Again"

Tell us about some of the anti-Trump games. 

The most anti-Trump one would be Trump Pinata, which is exactly what it sounds like. 

Depiction of Shredding a Trump Steak.
Depiction of Shredding a Trump Steak.
Screencap from "Trump Simulator VR"

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview.