The 2016 United States presidential election has come to a close, and what a doozy it has been. Private email servers, sweaty primary debaters, small hands and a great wall are but a few of the highlights from the bizarre cycle. Frankly, I’m exhausted, and I’m sure many of you share the same sentiment. Luckily, we are passionate about a medium that is centered around the concept of virtual escapism. After such an emotionally draining few days, I believe that what many of us need is a good game to take our minds off of doomsday prophesying.
So where do we go from here? While I can’t speak for our nation, I have a platform consisting of 5 games guaranteed to alleviate your post-election blues. No matter where you stood on November 8th or where you stand now, there is something to be found among the digital playscapes that can soothe your weary soul.
Couldn’t find a side to support? Did you feel like none of the candidates presented a viable vision for our society’s future? Then build your own! The fantastic Civilization series lets you take a civilization from the stone age to the space race and everything in between. The game lets your vision for a utopian zenith come to fruition. Dissatisfied with the evangelical qualifications of the candidates? Build a religious oligarchy and become the holy center of the world. Dig Trump’s trade focus? Become a mercantile master. The game’s mechanical depth is unparalleled, and the challenge that various paths pose varies with type of victory and civilization chosen, which leads to unlimited combinations and ways to play and win. The game gives you four years worth of material without breaking a sweat, meaning you can immerse yourself in another world for the entirety of Trump’s first term, leaving you informed enough to vote for whoever opposes him.
Sometimes you just need to blow off some steam, other times you feel the urge to blow away an entire city. Be it out of terrorized anguish or jubilant euphoria, Grand Theft Auto V provides gaming’s best way to cause anarchic destruction. The game is a perfect match for those who just can’t take it anymore. Rather than rioting, you can drive a car down a sidewalk or take an RPG to downtown. Complete some of the fantastically designed missions or simply watch the world burn. This game is bursting with activities to take your mind off of current events or burn through unwanted stress. Whether you’re playing the stock market or playing tennis, Grand Theft Auto V is the open world elixir for your election woes.
Is there an incoming nuclear winter? Can you afford to take any chances? Fallout 4 is a no-brainer for preparing for the new world order. Fighting grotesque bugs and radiated zombies will hone your survival instincts and combat skills, while looting and selling junk will give you a nice stash of bottlecaps for a rainy day (or the odd nuclear storm). While you learn the finer points of preparing delicious deathclaw steaks and mirelurk cakes, others will be drinking the irradiated water and getting sucked on by bloatflies. There’s something here for every party! Democrats can fulfill their sense of social justice by saving synth’s from their oppressors. Trump thumpers can use their resources to build the biggest wall the Commonwealth has ever seen. Even the greenies can focus on building grassroots communities and rebuilding the environment. When disaster inevitably strikes, we need to be prepared, and there is no better way to do just that than exploring the Commonwealth.
In times like these we need a reminder of the good that government can do, and leave it to Nintendo to give us the charming positivity it’s known for wrapped around the videogame version of Parks and Recreation. Join Isabelle (Leslie Knope) as you work as mayor of your town to improve the lives of your adorable townsfolk. Plant flowers, pull weeds, send encouraging notes and help with people’s strange hobbies while making your own way through the power of local business. If these tasks don’t scratch your economic itch, the turnip trade acts as a perfect way to invest wisely and reap the rewards. And if there’s someone you don’t like, just throw trash in their yard and hit them with a net! If only the Republican establishment knew it was that easy.
Now is the perfect time to get back into Animal Crossing, as Nintendo just released a new update adding Amiibo support, allowing you to invite the Nintendo versions of Clinton and Trump to your towns! You can’t tell me that after 30 years in the Mushroom Kingdom Peach doesn’t have some skeletons in her closet, and Ganondorf is the outsider with fantastic hair and massive insecurities. Or just invite Ness and Kirby, whatever floats your boat.
Maybe you’re just done. Not just with America, but with the entire planet. If that is the case, space is your most viable option. Though moving to Canada seems attractive right now, their space program is severely lacking, so you might want to reconsider. The Mass Effect Trilogy is the easiest and most fun way to leave our planet behind. The game provides a compelling narrative paired with just enough RPG bite to transport you far away from here. In space, there is no glass ceiling, with Fem Shep winning both the popular and electoral vote. You can also relish in the progressive nature of the Milky Way Galaxy through same-sex relationships and interracial couples. Or you just want to shoot some aliens, which is equally acceptable. While there is some minor politicking involved in the series, you eventually get to save the Earth, which is what everyone secretly wants to do anyway.
Honorable Mention: Ace Attorney
The perfect way to prepare for Hillary Clinton’s future legal battles.
The world is changing, and whether you embrace it or cringe at the thought of it, games are here to help you sort through your emotions. However, don’t bury your head in your console catalog. Use this election as motivation to make the change you want to see in the world, because the American people have shown that it is possible. But when you aren’t working to make the world a better place, you might as well unleash your pent up stress on the streets of Los Santos, the amazing depths of the Milky Way galaxy or at your village’s beach. That’s something we can all agree on.
Brett Williams is an Associate Editor for MONG that thinks a silent protagonist would be the best choice for POTUS; they just have a way of getting things done. Follow his nonexistent ramblings on twitter.