The election of failed casino owner and reality show star Donald #Trump is something that's going to have a lot of serious consequences—socially, politically, and environmentally—for many years to come. Women, immigrants, LGBTQ people and other vulnerable minorities have just had their difficulty setting bumped up from 'Hard' to 'Extreme'. Regardless of whether you feel you've won or lost, it's time to hit 'continue' and take on the next level. Everybody play nice, now.
Here at Now Loading though, we're going to get right down to the hard issues: What does a Trump Presidency mean for video games?
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Return of moral panic?
'Violent video games' turning people into criminals or menaces to society is an old bogeyman used to demonize gamers for as long as video games have been around. Hell, it's an angle that was even used against early tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons back in the day.
The moral crusaders took on games, heavy metal and other targets, but by and large accusations of violent behaviour's relation to video games didn't stick, or hold up to scientific scrutiny. But with the 'Make America Great Again' crowd surging, a new wave of Puritanism against 'degenerate' art and culture could be waiting to crash upon us.
Now, neither Trump nor Clinton can have any pretension to even approach an understanding of video game culture. But Trump, for all his chequered history with tax evasion, fraud and sexual assault, has courted (and won) the Evangelical vote, and that puts him firmly on the side of the moral guardians.
It's possible that there'll be more censorship of games, with certain content being locked or age-restricted in the US. But technological restrictions are usually easy enough to get around. More worryingly, we could see a return to gamers being demonized and violent games being blamed for shooting sprees, like we saw after the Columbine tragedy.
Such vilification is not only highly unfair towards the gaming community, which is easily misunderstood by their more elderly fellow-citizens, but will mean that the serious issues USA's unique problem with mass shootings will go undiscussed in favor of blaming convenient scapegoats like video games.
We can't forget that the only video game that Donald Trump has openly endorsed is a boring turd of a real estate simulator. If he starts acting on his opinions about video games, we're all in serious trouble.
He'll let online hate go unchecked
Just like many other aspects of art and entertainment media, video game culture has seen a lot of discussion in the last few years about the treatment of women, LGBTQ individuals, and minorities. This pertains to them as players, consumers, industry workers and even representations in the games themselves.
At its lowest level, it's disrespectful trash-talk in online games, but the highest level, violent threats towards and harassment (including rape threats and doxxing) of individuals who've spoken critically about toxic elements in gaming culture.
It's no secret to anyone with internet access that many of the most visible trolls who delight in attacking women and minorities online are also vocal Trump supporters, and will see his victory as a vindication of their attitudes.
Donald Trump's own misogynistic actions and anti-PC stances are well-documented, so it's unlikely that he will do anything to help women, LGBTQ people, or minorities feel safer anywhere in the country, let alone in gaming.
But Donald Trump didn't start this problem, and he's certainly not going to end it. It's up to us gamers. If you find yourself the victim of online hatred and harassment, don't hesitate to speak up and call it out. Likewise, if you see it happen to someone else, it's important that you support victims and let harassers know that this is not ok. The political climate is always going to change every few years, but basic human decency should be a constant.
So long, 2016 Elections. It's been real.