Never has a bond been more unbreakable than the one between video games and presidents. President Ronnie in Bad Dudes (as shown above). President Solidus Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2. Resident Evil games had a zombie as president once, and in a game called Destroy All Humans! the brain of the very corrupt (and very assassinated) fictional president was placed into a giant cyborg body. “Behold!” says one character. “The RoboPrez!” He was a big hit with robot voters, but with few others, and that was a problem because robots can’t vote. Yet.
The real, historical American commanders in chief are in video games as well, though not usually as robots, and for the record there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that William Howard Taft was the original star of Pac-Man. But that might have made more sense than some of the presidential video game appearances we now present to you:
5. Bill Clinton Believes He Can Fly
This image is NOT a Photoshop, it’s proof that Scottie Pippen wasn’t the only big basketball talent to come out of Arkansas… here’s the man from Hope showing some serious vertical. Hillary Clinton appears to have some mad court skillz of her own; no doubt some of those Texts from Hillary went out to the NBA stars of today.
4. Thank You Thomas Jefferson, But Our Independence Is In Another Castle!
In Mario’s Time Machine, everyone’s favorite mushroom-powered plumber goes all Peabody and Sherman on the space-time continuum, righting all sorts of historical wrongs, including a missing copy of the Declaration of Independence. Fortunately he’s able to get the fresh document to his “good friend” Thomas Jefferson, who predicts Mario’s face may someday “appear carved on a mountain.” With Mario as the star this scene is adorable, though part of me thinks it would have been hilarious with Donkey Kong. Or Rupaul.
3. The torch has been passed to a new generation of interactive CD-ROM
Lots of us remember the extremely controversial game JFK: Reloaded, an “educational” game in which you stand at the window of the Texas Book Depository with a rifle and “learn” about shooting the president. But does anyone but me remember the CD-ROM game Reelect JFK? (Seriously, if you’re out there, get in touch.) As you can guess from the title, the game’s premise is that President Kennedy survives Dallas, returns to Washington and runs for a second term, as controlled by you the player. He also tries to investigate the assassination attempt himself, by sneaking away from the White House under the guise of “reporter Kevin Bruderman.” This convinces me that pretty much every president has snuck around as a “reporter” to dig up dirt on himself. In fact, in researching this game I found this very suspicious 1970 file photo of UPI Washington correspondent “Mick Dixon”:
But the murder mystery is just one piece of Reelect JFK – there’s the campaign, there’s governing… heck, the man has a pretty long – and awesome – to-do list.
And he accomplishes it all eating nothing but chowder. My day pales in comparison.
2. Ask not what your zombies can do for you
One item that’s not on the Reelect JFK to-do list: mow down zombies who have infiltrated the Pentagon. You will find that, however, in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops. And this time, President Kennedy has company: Defense Secretary Robert McNamara is there, as you might expect, but so is Richard Nixon… and Fidel Castro.
I guess if hearing John F. Kennedy tell Richard Nixon “lock and load” was on your to-do list, well, you can check that one off now.
1. “Here to help.”
I’m operating on the barest of details for this last entry, but apparently there was a game called Conduit 2, and at the end of the game the lead whoever defeats somebody and then a lot of lasers go off and a woman talks and then when things look bleak for whatever reason Abraham Lincoln and George Washington show up in robo-space suits and guns, saying they’re “here to help.”
Again, I’m completely unfamiliar with the game. I don’t know where “here” is, or who it is they’re there to help, or what help even means. All I know is that if Abe Lincoln showed up at my space station or whatever and offered help, I’d probably take it. Actually I’d probably wet myself out of confusion, but then I’d say yes.