Some civilizations have stood the test of time, while others topple like dominoes. Whether a dictatorship, democracy, monarchy, or council of robot elders, they all had something in common. There’s generally someone at the top that people can point to as being the person in charge. Sometimes, video games would depict these leaders as part of the story line. This month, Mark Freedman asks: What is your favorite real-life President/World Leader appearance in a video game? And, here are this round’s answers.
I was never really in to sports—either playing them or watching them. Playing them in real life, that is. My brother was more into sports, so we had a spattering of football games (both American and international), baseball, and other sports. While I never owned NBA Jam, we certainly rented it and borrowed it quite a bit.
There are some really great cheat codes in the game that change the gameplay, but probably my favorite is the one that lets you play as world leaders, specifically Bill and Hillary Clinton. Who knew that the leader of the free world could play the sax and jam with the best of them? It was silly and just an overall fun enhancement to the game. The new NBA Jam incarnation sports more realistic graphics and more modern leaders such as Obama, Bush Jr., and the Beastie Boys. Still, it would have been interesting to see other older presidents and world leaders of other countries. Even so, it’s fun to play as Al Gore as he tries to help global warming by being on fire.
They play for Washington D.C., of course.
If I were to pick a runner-up, it would have to be President Ronnie (Reagan) from Bad Dudes. The man is captured by ninjas. Upon his rescue, does he launch nukes or start an investigation? No! He pleads with the Bad Dudes to go out for a burger. How awesome is that?
I have never played a Civilization game. I don’t think I ever intend to. But, I heard something ridiculous about the original Civ that kind of makes me want to play it—Gandhi is a complete asshole.
Due to a programming bug in the original Civ, Gandhi will develop nuclear weapons at the first opportunity he gets after adopting a “peaceful” government. He will rarely start a war of his own accord, but if you start a war with him he will deploy the nukes. And he’ll never learn to forgive you over time, either. If you ever start a war with him, he’ll never forget it happened.
Apparently, they kept this in every other Civilization game where Gandhi appears as an acknowledgement of the error. I think it’s hilarious that one of the most renowned pacifists in our history is one of the biggest dicks in Civ 5.
Hitler’s appearance in videogames is a well documented story (like being revived and suffering the most violent death on a NES game in the Japanese version of Bionic Commando), and the role he plays in Operation Darkness gives me the chance of talking about that game one more time!
Operation Darkness’ plot not only has you fighting against Nazis—one of the most killable enemies out there—but also has Hitler himself as one of the final bosses…and, they fight alongside vampires, dragons, and other ungodly monstrosities. And, Hitler was indeed the biggest monster of them all.
Many U.S. presidents have humored the public and allowed their likenesses to be used in videogames and other media, but few have been as charitable as Abraham Lincoln, who I presume was our fifth president, based on his appearance on the $5 bill. (This is supported by Ben Franklin, our 100th President, being on the $100 bill.) Honest Abe has been featured in everything from Sam & Max to Civilization: The One Where Gandhi Nukes Everybody, but I believe his greatest contributions to the entertainment industry took place in Scribblenauts. Who could forget the day when Abe, dangling from a rope tied to a flying helicopter, picked up a rifle and fought off an angry piranha, also swinging from a rope attached to the same helicopter? Surely the history books will remember Abe’s noble sacrifice when he boldly rode a unicorn into battle, lit match in hand, to ignite the atomic bomb that ended the war against the monster over there minding its own business. And then there was the time the ol’ Railsplitter fell asleep in a swimming pool after gorging himself on steak.
What do you mean, “No one plays Scribblenauts like that”?
What is your favorite video game world leader apperance? Have a question you’d like answered in a future edition of “Q&AmeCola”? Let us know in the comments!
A question I’d like to see in a future Q&AmeCola:
Which video game character would you consider your “Spirit Animal?”
I would recommend against that, given the problematic nature of the term “Spirit Animal.”
I don’t think we have to abandon it entirely, just use a different term or phrase it a different way. “What videogame character is your guide in life?”, or “When you need to make a decision, what videogame character do you ask yourself ‘what would they do?'”. I’m pretty sure that’s the general idea that No Lynch intended.
What is problematic about “Spirit Animal?”
Spirit Animal is an actual religious concept to certain native American nations. It’s not just, “oh, I really like this animal, so I’m gonna say it’s part of my spirit.” To acquire one usually requires an intense rite of passage and is an important part of their cultures. To use it to describe anything that’s, you know, not resultant from that is disrespectful to these marginalized cultures. And it’s something we should err against out of empathy.
Thanks. I was legitimately asking, too. I wasn’t trying to sound belittiling. My knowledge of this is limited to a brief visit to the DC Native American museum and watching Chokatay on Star Trek: Voyager.
The September article is already underway, but I’d like to use this in the coming months (although a slightly reworded version, as noted in the below chain.