Today is election day in the good ol’ U.S. of A., and to celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the ten greatest politicians, real or fictional, to have ever graced video games with their presence.
10. Ambassador Donnel Udina
Space opera backdrop aside, Ambassador Udina may well be the most realistically portrayed politician in gaming history. He’s a scheming, megalomaniacal jerk who’s so wrapped up in red tape that he can’t let Shepard go to the bathroom without filling out the appropriate forms in advance. While the ambassador’s eager to push off any and all blame onto a third party whenever things go wrong, as soon as something works out, you can be damn sure he’s going to take all the credit for it himself. Without venturing too far into spoiler territory, it’s safe to say that Udina’s just desserts make for one of the most gratifying moments in the game.
9. President Ronnie
Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja
The Ronnie Administration presides over one of the darkest periods of U.S. history, when ninja related crimes are rampant and the White House is no exception. After the President himself is kidnapped by the sinister Dragon Ninja, the Secret Service is forced to turn to independent contractors Blade and Striker. When the two dudes finally prove they’re bad enough to rescue Ronnie, he repays the favor by taking them out for a fast food lunch. No parade, no special commendations, just… hamburgers. I guess Ronnie’s a low key kind of guy.
8. Prime Minister Fidel Castro
Call of Duty: Black Ops
In Activision’s forthcoming Vietnam era shooter, Prime Minister Fidel Castro finally proves he’s capable of setting aside his ideological hangups to work toward the common good. As part of the game’s cooperative Zombies mode, the famed Cuban revolutionary teams up with sworn enemies John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Robert McNamara to defend the Pentagon from a bloodthirsty horde of the undead. Castro put it best: “Ideas do not necessitate weapons, but zombies totally do.”
7. Congressman Thomas Stubbs III
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned
You may not know Tom Stubbs by name, but we’re certain there’s one view of him you’d recognize. Despite allegations of corruption and ties to Liberty City’s criminal underworld, Congressman Stubbs will always be remembered for one important thing: full frontal male nudity. Yep, that’s right. Stubbs has the distinction of being the first mainstream video game character to deliver up a full view of his minority whip and bicameral legislature. While some people might see this as conduct unbecoming of a statesman, we choose to honor his groundbreaking audacity. Just think twice before you let him shake your hand and kiss your baby.
6. The President of Madagascar
The President of Madagascar is a reclusive figure, rarely emerging into the public eye, known only through the results of his actions. As it stands, we know little more than a few basic facts. He rules his island nation with a hardline isolationist stance, shutting down borders and ports on a whim. Rumors within the country state that his actions are driven by an acute paranoid fear of infectious disease, and his policy may be governed by such seemingly innocuous things as news reports of a new sickness appearing on the opposite side of the globe.
5. Mohandas Ghandi
In Civilization V, Ghandi provides a constant reminder of the great duality of man. On the one hand, he’s best known for his advocation of peaceful resistance, and on the other, he’s liable to bomb you back to the Stone Age at a moment’s notice. His frail appearance, meek voice and holy robes mask an underlying lust for power and blood that knows no bounds. Ghandi demands extravagant tribute, changes his religion when it suits him, and stabs his longtime allies in the back with no forewarning. He’s truly a complicated leader, an enigma that historians will spend centuries attempting to decipher.
4. President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton’s cameo appearance in NBA Jam is by far the best in sports gaming history (depending, of course, on your definition of the word “is”). There’s something surreally fantastic about watching the President of the United States drive to the hoop, execute a 20 foot high triple somersault and dunk the ball so hard the net catches fire. While the upcoming Wii remake of NBA Jam will include current politicians like Sarah Palin and Barack Obama in its lineup, Slick Willy will always be remembered as America’s first ballatician. Boomshakalaka!
3. President John Henry Eden
While John Henry Eden may best be known for the shocking revelation behind his presidency, we like to focus on his easygoing, folksy populism. His fireside chats provide the kind of comfort and candor that our post-apocalyptic nation needs most. Eden’s soothing voice reassures you that in spite of the fact that you’re starving to death, irradiated beyond recognition, and currently locked in the throes of deadly combat with a twelve foot long scorpion, America is still the greatest country on Earth.
2. Mike Haggar
When Metro City mayor Mike Haggar says he’s going to get tough on gang violence, he means it. After the Mad Gear street gang tries to extort him by kidnapping his daughter, Mike decides the most politically expedient solution is to rip off his shirt, oil up, and beat the ever-loving crap out of every last one of them. Whereas most politicians would be fine with sitting in their offices and holding pointless meetings, Mike Haggar gets out there, walks the streets, and gets to know his constituents one on one, mostly by punching them in the face.
In one of the weirdest design choices ever made, Capcom decided to make the final boss of their futuristic Bionic Commando a carbon copy of Adolf Hitler. While the Western version of the game omits all of the Swastikas and textual references to Nazism, Master-D retains the same unmistakable moustache and comb-over. Strange as the decision may seem, though, it did give us the single greatest four frame animation of all time in the form of Hitler’s exploding head. For those three seconds alone, we grant Master-D the number one spot on our list.
If you think we’ve missed one, let us know in the comments below. Happy Election Day!