With the Trump administration shocking everyone by doing exactly what they said they would do, the gaming world seems like a more important escape than ever. You know what I think? Fuck that!
I’m injecting politics right here into 100XP, we shouldn’t be trying to escape from this nightmarish political hell – we should be embracing it. Soon enough we will find out that Donald Trump is actually a fast-degrading clone hybrid between a bullfrog and an old racist and the entire thing is actually the PR build up to Hideo Kojima’s new game, Death Stranding. I’m onto you, Hideo!
Trump’s actions are already starting to hit people far and wide, so in this time of turmoil and protest I wanted to remind you that not even fictional characters are safe from his tiny meddling fingers. Here are seven video game characters that, like so many others, are now completely shut out of the United States and its “freedom”.
The Prince (Prince of Persia)
To be clear I’m not talking about the musician Prince, who passed away like so many celebrities last year as if anticipating how much of a shitfest 2017 is turning out to be. No, my first pick for this list is the title character from the Prince of Persia series. One of them, at least… Let’s go with the goatee wearing prince from the Sands of Time trilogy.
Unfortunately for the Prince, not even his noble status would help him get into America at the moment. The modern day Persian empire is better known as Iran (and bits of Iraq) which is one of the seven majority-Muslim countries that are referenced to in the new ban. I hope he’s still holding onto that Dagger of Time, because he’s gonna want to reverse back a few weeks at least if he wants to get his fix of New York shopping.
When Nathan Drake travelled to Yemen in search of the lost Arabic city of Ubar, he was thrown from the back of a plane in one of the coolest action sequences ever put into code. Drake would have died, stuck in the Rub’al Khali desert, were it not for the help of a Bedouin tribe led by Salim.
Salim turned out to be pretty badass too and his goatee is definitely cooler than that last guy. He led his tribe in a horseback attack on a military convoy to rescue Nathan’s bestie Sully and saved both of their lives again after they bring the entire lost city crumbling down in their wake. Being a Bedouin, it’s unlikely that Salim has a passport at all but if he wanted to pop over the Atlantic and visit his buddy Nathan he’d likely end up with a Yemeni passport and he’d be locked out. It’s probably a good thing he is a nomad, then, so he could travel north into Saudi Arabia and reduce his threat level down from “potential terrorist” to “potential business investor”.
Altaïr (Assassin’s Creed)
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen or heard from the O.G. Altaïr himself, partly because he lived in 13th century Syria but mainly because the Assassin’s Creed series has been busy fuddling around in Europe for the last few titles. It’s not clear that we’ll ever see Altaïr again, but he has left a lasting impact on the gaming industry by reestablishing the secret order of assassins that the Templars just can’t put down.
Outside of his accomplishments in the Assassin’s Creed titles themselves, he managed to make the Order of Assassins strong enough to stop the expansion of Genghis Khan, and if you ever read about the Mongolians you’ll know that such a feat is nothing short of miraculous. One thing he couldn’t achieve though, would be to get into the USA at the moment, not just thanks to the travel ban but because he’d probably also be considered a refugee. As we all know, there’s nothing more despicable than trying to escape from your war torn homeland.
Shantae is a half-genie and a professional belly dancer who protects her home with a combination of magic and hair-based martial arts. Outside of the awesome pair of Hammer pants (or Harem pants as they were called before the 80s) she has a number of other stereotypical markers of Arabic heritage. It’s not 100% clear exactly where her home, Scuttle Town, is based; Belly dancing was a traditional folk art all across the middle east but it’s most famously associated with Egypt. Scuttle Town is in Sequin Land, which is… I dunno? A place?
If she’s lucky and Sequin Land is in Egypt, Shantae wouldn’t be prevented from travelling across to the USA and her position on this list would be in jeopardy. That said, it’s actually illegal to show off your navel in Egypt, which is something Shantae does without any sort of concern. When we take this into account and consider Sequin Land’s location close to the sea and mountains I think we can presume that she lives further north. At any rate there’s every chance she’d be turned away or detained because I’m fairly sure the USA does not recognise Sequin Land as a legitimate passport authority.
Rashid (Street Fighter)
Rashid is a laid back technology lover first introduced to the roster for Street Fighter V. He travels around the world with his servant Azam attempting to rescue an old friend from Shadaloo, so not being able to travel freely into the states is really going to have a huge affect on his mission. Rashid’s fighting style is a combination of “wind” and “jumping around on stuff” otherwise called Parkour by cooler people than I.
Again it isn’t clear where Rashid is from. He’s sort of vaguely middle eastern, in fact “Middle Eastern” is what was given as his nationality. I hope nobody at Capcom actually thinks that’s a nationality but then, they seem to think that Parkour is a fighting style. I imagine it’s possible he’d be able to get through the US Border Customs but you can bet your ass they’d be looking real hard at his passport.
Sniper Wolf (Metal Gear Solid)
Going back to Hideo Kojima, one of his most recognisable characters might be Sniper Wolf. One of the most memorable moments in Metal Gear Solid is where she uses a wounded Meryl as bait to draw out Solid Snake. It’s a point reinforced by Ocelot’s sort of pathetic love for Wolf and the exposition that surrounds it. Metal Gear Solid would be a different game if it was set today, however, as she and her many dogs would be stopped at the “wall” if they tried to travel to America because, surprise surprise, she’s was an Iraqi citizen.
In fact, Sniper Wolf was actually an Iraqi Kurdistan and grew up around the military conflict and rebellion of the Second Kurdish-Iraqi War. Her whole reasoning for joining FOXHOUND and doing the bad shit was in reaction to the lack of international empathy for the Kurdish suffering during that time. It sort of reminds me of the lack of international empathy for the people struggling through the Syrian crisis, but that would sort of imply that we’re sowing the seeds for another generation of terrorists and fanatics. Oh well, at least action games in the next 20 years will have plenty of conflict to base their convoluted narratives around.
Bahamut (Final Fantasy)
Yeah, that’s right. Bahamut is an Arabian mythological figure. He used to be a giant whale, then he was a dragon on a whale and now he’s just a dragon. I guess in this age of social media and PR you have to roll with the punches. Bahamut makes plenty of appearances in modern role playing games, but he’s probably most famously included in the Final Fantasy pantheon of summons.
Bahamut is a giant dragon with wings and a powerful move called “Megaflare”. It’s a beam of light able to obliterate anything it’s aimed at. I doubt he really cares about the ban, being as he could fly over to America whenever he wants to, but I bet his feelings are hurt.