Derek Curry & Jennifer Gradecki
In the online game WarTweets, every tweet made by @realDonaldTrump launches an orange missile that will destroy low and mid-income housing and replace it with a golden Trump tower—if it reaches its target. Players have several days to intercept Trump’s missiles by tweeting a response to @realDonaldTrump. The game takes place on a map that represents Donald Trump’s mind with locations such as “The Gulf of Fake News”, “Colusionville”, and “The Grab ‘em by the Peninsula”. Both Trump’s tweets and players responses are visualized on this map; players can see both Trump’s tweets and other players’ responses to him. WarTweets can be played on Twitter or through the game’s interface. To play on Twitter, players simply tweet @realDonaldTrump and include #WarTweets.
The game’s theme and core mechanic are based on the game Global Thermonuclear War from the 1984 film WarGames. The inspiration, or rather impetus, for the game is to promote engagement in political speech. US Courts have ruled that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 applies to Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account: @realDonaldTrump. This means that tweets made by this account are official presidential records. Federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that President Trump cannot block any Twitter users from reading or posting to this account because it is a “designated public forum.” This means that tweeting to @realDonaldTrump is a conduit for political speech that cannot legally be censored by President Trump, and a way for citizens to make their opinions of the Trump administration part of the official public record. Tweets made by players of WarTweets will register beyond the game world as they become part of the official public record. The goal of WarTweets is to promote political engagement through a playful form of networked dissent.