In a world gone mad—or more specifically, an election season that makes the U.S. resemble a distant moon colony in which fundamental logic has been outlawed—sometimes the best advice is found in the sage words of David Lee Roth, who suggested you “might as well jump.” It’s with that spirit that two New Zealand game developers have put together Jrump, a new, free mobile game that combines leaping in the air with the flaxen-haired, burlap-sack-full-of-potatoes visage of Donald Trump. Set in 2017, he’s done such a great job on Earth, he’s decided to make the galaxy great again. By leaping up walls (his favorite thing), avoiding scientists, and fending off rival politicians, you can help Trump (sorry, “Jrump”) bring his unique brand of world-ending hellfire to the entire Milky Way.
What’s most stunning is how quickly the whole enterprise has unfolded. “After seeing Donald Trump so much in the news this year, even here in New Zealand, we just thought, ‘How great to build a whole game built around his love of walls,’” said Ben Markby, who created the game along with Tom Bellamy, speaking earlier this week to The A.V. Club. They built the whole game “in 12 weeks—once we saw how it was going, we set ourselves the goal of getting it out a month before the election,” adds Bellamy. “To try and ruffle a few feathers, really.” They steadfastly refuse to come down either in favor of or against Trump (“There’s obviously something about him that’s captured the world’s attention—whether that’s good or bad,” says Markby), but the game speaks for itself, with its apocalyptic view of a post-Trump presidency.
What’s incredible is how quickly the game has taken off, even in New Zealand, where the threat of a Donald Trump visit is presumably not on the agenda anytime soon. “I don’t want to speak for the whole country, but I think people are kind of dumbfounded. The fact that he’s had so much success… it caught a lot of kiwis off guard, and now they’re trying to come to terms with it,” says Markby. Bellamy agrees. “The Apprentice was quite popular here, so we initially thought the announcement was a joke,” he says, admirably understating the situation. As a result, they hoped the Trump name on their first game would help with marketing, which it obviously has. This past Friday, their downloads doubled overnight, and have kept increasing since then. “We have no idea—was it on TV?” Markby muses. (Discussions of the game on Kotaku and Huffington Post probably didn’t hurt.) It became so popular so quickly, Bellamy points out, that it only took nine days for someone else to shamelessly steal their game and release a knock-off version, called Tap For Trump Jump:
That said, Markby and Bellamy aren’t resting on their laurels. They plan to add characters poking fun at the Democratic competition, such as a “Billary” character plagued by emails and FBI agents, and new power-ups for the Jrump avatar, such as a “Make The Galaxy Great Again” hat that can be used as a shield, jetpacks—anything that “can make the game more fun for people, have it run a little bit faster,” says Bellamy. Given how long certain A.V. Club staffers may have spent yesterday trying to unlock the land of “Follywood”—which, come on, Jrump, stop getting swatted out of the air by Obama, dammit—Markby and Bellamy don’t need any improvements on the addicting angle of the game.