The New York Times’ Oregon Trail remake highlights US voting issues

2 min read


The American election is so close it’s violating my personal space. Americans across the country will be taking to the polls tomorrow, casting their vote for an alien wearing a human suit or a lizard wearing a cheese curl suit. And while we might disparage the candidates and bemoan our options at the polls, the reality is that voting matters. It really does. But the US of A has a notoriously low voter turn out. Why? Because it’s not always so easy to get to the polls, as highlighted in a new game.

The Voter Suppression Trail is a browser game from The New York Times that highlights the differences in experiences of voting. If you play as a white male programmer from California, it takes you a minute to vote as you stroll to your local voting station. Choose to vote as a Latina nurse from Texas? You’re going to wait for 80 minutes, leaving your sick kid at school and abandoning your sick mother all to exercise your right to vote.

It’s a silly browser game that doesn’t take long to experience. And, much like the original Oregon Trail, your experience will probably end in hardship or death (of your vote). Still, it’s cool to see publications like the New York Times making a game like this to raise awareness of how difficult voting can be depending on your situation. Plus, when you finish your play through, you can opt to find your nearest voting station.

I’d love to see a South African version of this game, but seeing as election day is a public holiday here, it doesn’t have quite the same impact if you have a wait in a queue for an hour or two in order to cast your vote.

Last Updated: November 7, 2016

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