Spend any kind of time around video games and you’ll quickly realise that many of them deal primarily in anarchy, lawlessness and all manner of shithousery. And whilst many of those games are set amongst apocalyptic wastelands, even those set in the worlds of more developed civilisations are full of ne’er-do-wells and tough guys – it’s just that they often happen to be in positions of organised power.
With that in mind, I present to you six of the most memorable government officials in video games.
MIKE HAGGAR (Final Fight series)
Metro City is a filthy den of iniquity, where the Mad Gear gang – full of 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 masculine 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.
PRESIDENT RONNIE (Bad Dudes)
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?
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 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, so they can vote for him
– 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 a city on the Eastern seaboard
In other words, he makes the likes of Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner looks Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Would probably still take him ahead of a Tory, mind…
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 ever-loving shit out of other large men, who probably avoided paying their taxes too. You go, Irwin!
G-MAN (Half Life series)
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.
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 send people out to quell zombie hordes? And 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.
Anyway, at a time when politicians across the world are in the public eye more than ever – more often than not for all the wrong reasons – then I’ll be completely honest: I’d probably take most of this dirty half-dozen over any of our current incumbents…