With today being the US election. and the next eight hours deciding who will lead America for the next four years, I got stuck into Paper Drumpf, a text adventure that satirises the last year of US politics. It's from Greg Buchanan, the creator of Paper Brexit, that I wrote about back in June.
You play as one of
Donald Trump's Daffy Drumpf's campaign managers, leading the man in his charge to ascent to the American presidency. Over the course of 11 chapters you'll dart between moments on the campaign trail to earlier moments in your character's lifetime, making choices that will be remembered and played out in the final chapters of the game.
Paper Drumpf did something I didn't expect, it genuinely made me feel some measure of sympathy for Donald Trump.
I'm going to go into spoiler territory below so if you're staying up tonight to watch the election, I highly recommend playing Paper Drumpf and skipping the rest of this post until later. You can pick it up for free (or with a donation) from Itch.io.
Don't look beyond this picture of Donald Trump if you want to avoid spoilers:
Image via Gizmodo UK.
It took about two hours to get through Paper Drumpf. The game is made up of 11 chapters and has you jump from a moment on the campaign trail a week ahead of the election, to days earlier in Abigail's life: when she walked out on her father, when she joined the campaign, 9/11, when she met her girlfriend, and so on.
At times the writing can seem heavy-handed but by the final chapters it had drawn me into playing Abigail in a certain manner – the game supports lots of choices but I had chosen my 'undermining-Drumpf-from-within' persona early and was sticking with it. Sometimes I made little digs at him, other times rude jokes, like saying he looked orange before he headed out on stage.
But, in the final chapters, Buchanan makes a deft twist, pulling in how I'd behaved in the game to give a new view of
Early in the game there are quotes from the Press Correspondents Dinner in 2012, in which Obama joked about Trump's chasing of his birth certificate:
These quotes are returned to later by Drumpf himself, along with things I'd said to belittle him through the game. Buchanan deftly turns this scene to show Drumpf to be a man who was publicly mocked who is striking back at the people who mocked him. It humanises him, makes him sympathetic, and, for me, it carries to Trump, too.
It's hardly swung me into Trump's favour, but it's certainly done more to make him appear human than anything else I've seen of him on the news or shot across Twitter.
As I said up top, if you're watching the election tonight, this is a great companion game.