We are getting to that time of year where people announce their intentions to run for the office of The President of the United States. It seems every couple of weeks we are getting a new announcement regarding another candidate throwing their horse into the race. While deciding who to vote for can be a difficult decision one should not take too lightly, it can be a daunting task to decide which candidate is the most deserving.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled some video game "Presidents" who serve as a reminder to think twice before casting your ballot!
Also, some SPOILERS ahead.
At one point or another, many of us have pondered the possibility of wielding the power of the office of The President. Maybe you thought of all the good you would do or how many people you would help.
In Saints Row 4, you actually play as the Commander in Chief. So how many people did you help? How much good did you actually do? You instead beat little old ladies with a gigantic dildo bat and forced them to dance with the dubstep gun didn’t you? I thought as much.
Now choosing between George Sears and James Johnson is a tough call. However, Sears was a clone in the first place while Johnson is just a power-hungry man who wants to climb higher in his position of power. He knows who pulls the string and makes no qualms about where all of his “decisions” actually originate. He also helps a rebel group attempting to rid the USA of the shadowy cabal calling the shots. It turns out he only helped in an attempt to gain even more power.
The worst part of his actions though? He goes for the gold and gropes Raiden’s private bits uninvited. This man truly has no shame
In Citizens of Earth, the player fills the shoes of the Vice President of Earth on the eve of a huge conspiracy and an imminent alien invasion of coffee beans (don’t ask). The VP quickly proves himself to be shallow, self-important, and a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
When the VP isn’t concerning himself with his appearances or the votes he’ll receive, he’s ordering people in his party to battle for him, including his elderly mother and younger brother! The man doesn’t even participate in battles, instead ordering his followers to do his bidding. Way to lead, buddy…
The President isn’t much better as he reveals himself to be a puppet and fights you with his evil chair. (Again, don’t ask). And, of course, the secretary does all of the work for both The President and the Vice President! This less-than-dynamic duo don’t exactly inspire voter confidence in the office…
Who doesn’t like a “hyperkinetic rabbity thing” with violent tendencies and is a complete sociopath to boot? Apparently the American people do! After the current President was revealed to be a robot (by DECAPITATION) used to hypnotize people via television, an impromptu election was held between a robotic Abraham Lincoln and our loveable, furry friend Max.
Sure, Max won the election by meddling with Lincoln’s cue card for his speech. He also represents the Random Violence and Destruction Party. Last but not least, let’s not forget he also came very close to single-handedly destroying our beloved Internet. In spite of all that, he also decided all of the country’s problems could be solved by giant robots and proceeded to build an army.
I like the way he thinks.
Hearkening back to a time when FPS games were still called “Doom clones,” we have Disruptor and the deplorable President Krieger. A former soldier, Krieger isn’t above murdering his friends in order to obtain his goals. As you progress through the game, you realize Krieger was responsible for your father’s death (of course he was), and he plans to dispose of you in a similar manner after you discover his nefarious plans.
Did I mention Krieger has a secret army and a dictatorial grip on America? And he also wants to take over the world or something clichéd like that. Either way, killing your dad and then setting up you and your brother in a similar way is just the sort of thing a wanker is prone to do. What is it with bad guys and the clichés?
Being the first female President of the United States should be an accomplishment to be proud of, but President Winters run is something we would like to strike from the history books and never think of again. Oh yeah, it is that bad.
During Winters’ presidency, Russian extremists hijack our space colony Providence and use its ridiculous cannon (which it... needed?) to wipe San Francisco from the map. Off to a great start here. Further into the game, it is revealed Winters secretly helped install these extremists into power, intending to betray them later. The Russians being the clever buggers they are hijacked the colony and its ginormous laser as a way to prevent her betrayal.
Great legacy to leave, eh?
Where to start with this gem of a man? Well, Mr. Grace was a devoted person to the cause of an isolated America, limiting access to the rest of the world. He then went on to establish a despotic regime over the USA. He then went on to suppress free speech and the freedom of the press as much as he possibly could. You know, the opposite of what America is about.
As if that wasn’t enough, when Earth was being invaded by the types of extraterrestrials who would rather destroy phones they use them, he tried to get the entire world to surrender to the Chimera in exchange for leaving America alone. What a champ!
Things didn’t work out so well for Grace since he ends up on the wrong end of Nathan Hale’s firearm. Gotta love the delicious irony there!
The Apocalypse is already a bad enough situation, but when you have a President who is essentially the devil, things are looking much bleaker. Well in this 1998 release starring Bruce Willis, because why on Earth not, this was the state of affairs our hero found himself in. Bruce can only handle so many things after all, but it turns out he can kill the devil!
Now why was he his character a nanotechnology scientist?
The Democracy series has allowed players worldwide to take a stab at being a major world leader in a democratic country (Tropico has you dictator lovers covered!). Needless to say, armchair politicians usually fumble things, quite badly at that.
The Steam reviews really summarize the experience that lies in wait when one tries to take the reins of power.
-Started as America.
-Had huge debt.
-Got rid of hated polices.
-Got out of debt.
-Assassinated for ruining the country.
-Restarted as America.
-Had a bit of debt.
-Got rid of every policy.
-Turned America into a crime ridden place.
-Made lots of money.
-Got re-elected with 100% vote.
10/10 Would ruin the country again.
It makes you appreciate just how difficult running a country can be.
Now the United States is a very different country from the land of Arstotzka portrayed in Papers, Please, but the game can serve as a reminder as to what happens when power and ambitions are left unchecked. You play as an immigration officer who is tasked with controlling the flow of people into the country. What follows are countless rules, difficult decisions to make, and ensuring you make enough money to take care of your family.
While the United States are far from perfect, it’s a safe bet the USA is a better place to live than Arstotzka. Now about those TSA airport scanners…
You are impressive. You have made the list a whopping three times! Maybe in this case it isn’t a good thing though…
In a Civilization title, you take the role of some famous leader and attempt to lead your civilization from the Stone Age to the future. While you can win without conquering the world or being aggressive, you will still have to fend off aggressors. Since you have complete power over your people, you can go to war or launch nuclear weapons on a whim. If anything, these titles show the effects one person’s actions can have on the world. The games also serve as a reminder to vote for leaders who aren’t warmongers.
Looking at you, Ghandi!
At the end of the day, there are plenty of examples of video game Presidents who have dropped the ball and serve as a cautious reminder to know who you are voting for. There are candidates who are video game villains after all. You can use this list as a handy dandy checklist to decide whether or not a candidate should receive your vote.
Now then, how about #Ganondorf2016?