Donald Trump, as crazy as it seems, is going to become the next President of the United States after his victory last night against Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton. Although both have negative views against video games and the supposed effect that they have on young people, Trump is the sort of President who would viciously go after anything that he doesn’t like. It’s not just the United States of America that could be changing, Trump now has the power to change video games as we know them.
Although perhaps a dated interpretation of how Trump views video games, he can be quoted as Tweeting in 2012, “Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!”. A powerful statement that clearly shows Trump to be against the sort of violence found in famous video game series like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. Although both games do tend to offer so much more beneath the surface, advocates against video game violence like Trump and Jack Thompson (granted, Thompson is certainly out of the picture) do not see it in the same way. To them it doesn’t matter about what kind of message the game is delivering or whether it is satirical like Grand Theft Auto‘s famously sarcastic view of world issues and politics, they only see the violence and potential political slander that can be delivered through this medium. True gamers see games as a form of art or entertainment and not always to be taken so seriously but a lot of these games do present themselves as violent and crass on the surface to intentionally generate controversy and become known in the public eye but those sorts of video games may now have to temper to new guidelines to actually guarantee being made. The soon to be released game Watch Dogs 2 features a parody of Trump called Thruss and this see through parody could very well cause Trump to enact some sort of vengeance against the game. This satire wasn’t as dangerous when everyone considered Trump to be a joke and Clinton to be a guaranteed win but now he’s actually going to be in power, it’s now a dangerous move to make fun of Trump.
The biggest risk that we face because of this is the censoring of video games. Removal of violence, controversial themes or satire could now become a reality with Trump in power. A lot of games are safe from this and although it’s true that not all games need these elements to succeed and be entertaining, a lot of them do use them to appeal to the public. Who knows what sort of games could be affected? Could games like Mafia 3, which feature a realistic take on America being racist and stars a mixed race protagonist, be in trouble? Could games like The Last of Us, which deliver a fantastic story mixed in with brutal scenes of violence and despair be censored to appeal to Trump? Any game that has these sorts of factors could eventually become a threat in the eyes of Trump and truly change the sorts of games that we play.
Is this all guaranteed? Not at all. Trump has much more important things to be focusing on at the start of his presidency and certainly won’t focus exclusively on video games. However, in the future and any time something huge comes out, there will always be a lingering fear of censorship and the possibility of causing trouble with Trump. It’s not just video games either, the whole medium of T.V., films and music could be subject to censorship. If this all seems a bit extreme and crazy, just remember the sort of man that Trump is and how powerful he will be as the President of the United States.
What can we do? As gamers we have to keep on appreciating the greatness that games provide, the messages we get from them and the art form that so many of them represent. As creators we need to keep on creating games that change the landscape, keep on evolving and don’t look back. Trump could very well change games how we know them, but that doesn’t mean that we should let him. The landscape of gaming could very well be in a dangerous position but as gamers and lovers of gaming, we can’t let that happen.