Spend any kind of time around video games and you’ll quickly realise that many of them, especially those big-budget titles that we class as triple-A, deal primarily in anarchy and lawlessness. In those games set amongst apocalyptic wastelands, this is somewhat understandable.
However, in worlds that can still be recognised as something approaching our own, governments still exist and hold sway over those lands. And they make for some pretty interesting characters. So I present to you the top six fictional government officials and politicians in video game history.
6. MIKE HAGGAR
Metro City is a filthy den of iniquity—Hell on Earth, where the Mad Gear gang, composed of mainly hoodlums who don’t believe in sleeves on shirts and vicious women who really liked what Madonna was wearing in the early-to-mid 80s, run rampant.
There’s only one kind of man who can stop them: a man who’s as tough on the streets as he is behind the desk of his mayoral office; a man with a moustache so maculine that Tom Selleck went into hiding for several years to recover; a man who traded in his secretariat for a spinning lariat; a man named Mike Haggar.
Of course, there was the small matter of him having to rescue his kidnapped daughter too, but still, the man takes care of his own business. Respect.
5. PRESIDENT RONNIE
Bad Dudes was a 1980s side-scrolling fighting game in which the titular “Bad Dudes” are asked to save President Ronnie from evil ninjas. God, I miss the ‘80s.
Anyway, you may wonder why President Ronnie warrants inclusion on this list, when he’s barely seen for the majority of the game. Well, it’s simple really. For one, he’s clearly a caricatured send-up of Ronald Reagan, seeming slightly bewildered whenever he does speak. Secondly, how does he repay the Bad Dudes for their bravery in obliterating hundreds of evil ninjas and rescuing him? He offers to take them out for a burger. A burger! Reaganomics called for a cut or two every now and then, and apparently that’s all he could afford. What’s more American than that?
4. THOMAS STUBBS III
’Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned’
Reasons why Thomas Stubbs III, Congressman for GTA IV’s Liberty City, might be the worst/best government official in the history of video games:
he has his own uncle killed, in order to get his hands on some family funds he arranges for the escape of several of his supporters from prison he uses a number of compromising photographs to blackmail a fellow politician he regularly indulges in the misappropriation of government funds for his own gain he wasted public funds on both a tsunami warning system and an avalanche warning system for the city (for context, Liberty City is a fictional take on New York City, making it a city absolutely certain to never suffer either of these natural disasters)
In other words, he makes the likes of Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner looks Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
3. IRWIN R. SCHYSTER
’WWF Royal Rumble’/’WWF Rage in the Cage’
Professional wrestling is full of characters, both good and bad, who people look up to. However, at the end of the day, only one was brave enough to stand up to the tax avoiders and frauds costing America billions of dollars a year.
Irwin R Schyster didn’t come to the ring to play. There was nothing flashy about him. He was all business, all day every day. And how was he treated by the fans of the WWF? They booed him, proving that they were all terrible people. Never mind though, because good law-abiding citizens could right this egregious wrong by taking control of the man they called IRS in two mid-’90s wrestling games and beating the snot out of other large men, who probably avoided paying their taxes too. You go, Irwin!
This one is a little bit of a fudge, because we don’t know for 100% certain that G-Man, the mysterious stranger who shows up at various opportune (and inopportune) moments across the duration of both Half Life and its sequel, was actually a government official. But, come on, his name is G-Man! Hell, he even carries a briefcase, and everyone knows that the only people who carry briefcases are nerds, professional wrestlers with title shots to cash in and government officials. Case closed.
He’s certainly a unique individual though, looking like someone put a picture of Eddie Munster into one of those “here’s how you’ll look in 50 years” apps and sounding like Vincent Price on a bender. More than a little creepy.
1. BURT REYNOLDS
’Saints Row: The Third’
Ok, look—I know that Burt Reynolds isn’t fictional. He is a human man who actually exists in real life. However, is he really the Mayor of Steelport, the fictional city portrayed in 2011’s Saints Row: The Third? Does he hold court in his office by frenching his aides? Does he send people out to quell zombie hordes, then make himself available to carry out missions with those very people? Well, the answer is that I’m not entirely sure. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter though, does it? It’s Burt Reynolds. Burt. Goddamn. Reynolds.
At a time when our politicians across the world are in the public eye more than ever and, as a result, more fallible than ever, then I’ll be completely honest: I’d probably take most of this dirty half-dozen over any of our current incumbents. Wouldn’t you?
Andy Manson is a gamer of over 30 years and, as such, remembers when consoles were powered mainly by imagination and transistors the size of your fist. You can follow his shorter ramblings on Twitter @PsychTyson.
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