A new series of Nintendo Entertainment System games, modded to make Donald Trump the villains, is wish-fulfillment at its finest. Trumptendo is the work of artist Jeff Hong, known for the Disney-lampooning Unhappily Ever After Photoshop jobs and a series of Nintendo games starring punk icons. He turns the frustrating reality of the Annoying Orange's bid for presidency into the series of simple yet addictive tasks that defined an early generation of gamers' youths.
It's a perfect cocktail of nostalgia for the past, fear of the present, and hope for the future. With titles like Donkey Trump and Donald Trump's Punch-Out!!, Hong likens the presumptive Republican nominee to the big bad bosses of his childhood. "I wanted to cast Donald Trump as the villain in these Nintendo games because his views and personality are so outlandishly over the top, he isn't far off that from being one of these video game characters bent on world domination," Hong tells The Creators Project.
In certain games, he has also recast those opposing Trump. Super Bernie Bros, for example, sees Mario don toussled white hair to rescue the princess from Trump's evil clutches. He also replaces our favorite Italian plumber in Donkey Trump. All this recasting requires nuance and skill, especially when it came to one particular part of Trump's visage. "One of the challenges of working with 8-bit Nintendo graphics is that likenesses have to be pixel perfect," Hong says. "Getting Donald Trump's hair and deeply condescending look were a bit tough to capture, but I think I got it." To get an idea of how much effort it takes to create truly accurate pixel art characters, check out this tutorial.
With this in mind, Hong selected games that allowed him more freedom to add detail to the characters. "Donald Trump's Punch-Out!! took the longest, but unfortunately making him essentially Mike Tyson in the game means he has a pretty killer knockout punch." Just like the absurdly crowded beginning of the Republican primary race, in order to knock Trump out you must tear through a series of forgettable warm-up characters. To skip straight to the boss, Hong preserved the original Mike Tyson's Punch-Out cheat code "007 373 5963" in the "Continue" section of the main menu.
Since there are no cheat codes like that for the actual fight against Trump, Hong has found it necessary to react to this political crapstorm the way he knows best: making art about it. "The fact that Donald Trump is a near lock-in for the GOP nomination is a pretty frightening thought." Hong says. "He's come a pretty long way from his first announcement as a candidate. The number of supporters he has shows how divided of a country we live in."
Take a peek at Hong's sweet suite of games in the images below, and play them all at Trumptendo.com.