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New York Times game turns voter suppression into Oregon Trail knock-off

Developed by GOP Arcade

The Voter Suppression Trail screenshot
The New York Times

The Voter Suppression Trail takes the beloved classic computer game The Oregon Trail and re-purposes it to make a statement about the subtle ways voter suppression can impact presidential elections.

The game, developed by GOP Arcade for The New York Times’ Op-Docs section, is playable for free and ends with the option to replay or track down your nearest poll location.

The game starts off by asking you to choose between types of voters: a white programmer from California, a Latina nurse from Texas or a black salesman from Wisconsin.

Once selected, your ability to vote may vary.

The game is the first to ever run on the Times’ Op-Docs’ page. The page was started by the Times’ opinion section in 2011 and features a series of short, interactive and virtual reality documentaries. The goal of the documentaries is always to present a unique point of view.

A scene from The Voter Suppression Trail
New York Times

The same seems to be true of this first video game, which is also the final installment of the Times’ series of Op-Docs about the 2016 election.

“In the 1800s, Americans made heroic journeys to settle in the West,” according to the introduction to the game. “These journeys inspired the classic computer game The Oregon Trail, beloved by grade school students across the country in the 1980s and ’90s.

“On Nov. 8, a new generation of Americans will make their own heroic journeys — to the polls. Some paths will be more intrepid than others, particularly for blacks, Latinos and pretty much anyone who brings the kind of diversity to our polling places that they have historically lacked. Thanks to laws passed by Republicans to fight the nonexistent threat of voter fraud, the perils will be great. Long lines and voter ID laws, not to mention pro-Trump election observers, will try to keep these voters from the polls.”

The game underlines the difficulties some face at polling places including long lines, poorly trained staff, threatening election observers and the sometimes confusing rules about ID requirements.

“Find out,” reads the text above the play button, “if your vote can survive the great, flawed adventure of American democracy.”

Avoiding vote-ending hurled insults by poll observers.
The New York Times

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