The New York Times released the final installment of its 2016 Election Guide today: ‘The Voter Suppression Trail,’ an ‘Oregon Trail’-inspired game designed to teach players about the ways that different Americans experience the voting process.
The game was created by GOP Arcade, which makes old school-style video games (think: 8-bit imagery and midi files) relating to all of the scandals and drama surrounding the 2016 election. Other games by GOP Arcade include ‘Get Trump’s Taxes,’ ‘EpiPen Tycoon,’ and ‘Thoughts & Prayers.’
When a new game of ‘The Voter Suppression Trail’ is started, the player chooses which character to be.
You can probably see where this is going already. The white programmer from California strolls into his voting location with no issue and votes. He does not wait at all, nor does he become frustrated, and his conditions are perfect. (We can ignore the incorrect form of ‘every day’ that’s used.)
The game ends pretty successfully there. If you choose the Latina nurse from Texas or the black salesman from Wisconsin, the path to voting is not quite as direct. Both have to take a bus across town to get to their polling locations, where each waits in a long line. They have to deal with trials such as missing work, their bosses threatening their jobs, being late to pick up their children (there is a classic Oregon Trail dysentery shout-out among these trials), and dealing with voter intimidation in the form of poll-watchers.
If they are able to vote at all, it is after more than an hour of waiting in either very hot or very cold conditions (depending on the character), and many frustrations along the way.
The game is fun to play, but it also sheds light on important issues that voters will face on Tuesday, from long lines to voter intimidation, technology failure to simply no time to be there, and issues surrounding privilege, lack of childcare, and missing work.
Try it for yourself here.
Comments on this article are closed.