The Not So Great Eight – 8 Video Game Presidents Who Are Debatably Just the Worst

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According to recent polling numbers, about 20% of Americans who plan to vote in the upcoming 2024 election say they are still undecided who will get their vote: incumbent President Joe Biden, or convicted felon and man who grabs women by the p***y Donald Trump. If you find yourself to be among that subset:

  2. You probably watched last night’s debate.

And if you did, everybody involved lost. The Republican candidate lied so much that if he were Pinocchio, he could stand in Atlanta, Georgia and I could pick his nose from here in Southern California. The Democratic candidate looked like a man who was announcing that his new Chief of Staff is the Grim Reaper. Voters lost because they saw the worst of both sides and are now faced with the South Park vision of a Giant Douche versus a Turd Sandwich.

So while the future political landscape sees no end to the clash between A Grumpy Old Man and A Felon Who Loves Dictators and Bad Tan-In-A-Can, it’s important to recognize an important lesson that video games have taught us: if any of these eight presidents were in charge, things could be worse.

I mean, not much worse, but still.

George Washington – Day of the Tentacle

What did you just say about him?

Ah, George Washington. President number 1. The Father of Our Country. The original Mr. Dolla Dolla Billz, y’all. Under this general-turned-president, the thirteen colonies of the new world became the United States of America.

Just don’t talk smack about his tree-chopping skills; he’s liable to get very distracted.

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Ranking as the best of the worst, this version of Washington (spoiler alert: it’s not the only time he’ll show up on this list) is incredibly thin-skinned. All it takes is for roadie slacker Hoagie to pull a playground diss on Washington, and he’ll drop literally everything to prove he ain’t no punk when it comes to chopping down cherry trees, which will free Laverne from her foliage entrapment in the future (if you haven’t played the game, it involves portable toilets and some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff).

I mean, sure, he did some great things, but can you imagine if a real president was so easily butt-hurt?

Abraham Lincoln – History Warriors

Abraham Lincoln in History Warriors

Four score and seven years ago, he knocked you TF out

Another president whose good outweighs the bad, just because you show up on the five-dollar bill does not mean you’re five times better. On the one hand, Lincoln saw the nation through the Civil War, abolished slavery, and was an accomplished airship captain and mech pilot. On the other hand, he’s perfectly fine with punching virtuosos like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and William Shakespeare in the goddamn face.

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Yes, he’s done some fine things, but do you want a president that has no problem proclaiming the emancipation of your teeth from your jaw?

Oh wait.

John Henry Eden – Fallout 3

Baseball, dogs, and the ruthless elimination of all opposition

As we approach the 4th of July, what could be more patriotic than a backyard barbecue, fireworks, and nine innings of America’s Pastime? Why, unfettered xenophobia, of course!

Self-appointed President of the United States John Henry Eden, as it turns out, has actually never experienced any of those things save the latter, due to the fact that he’s actually an immobile AI found within a ZAX supercomputer installed inside the Enclave’s base of operation in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. known as Raven Rock.

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Eden’s personality has been constructed by the extensive analysis of Pre-War presidential autobiographies, leading it to assert that it is the rightful President of the United States, an inspirational speaker on Enclave Radio, and that anyone who’s not with the Enclave and/or fails a human check should die – which essentially precludes 100% of ghouls and super mutants, whether they retained their intelligence or not.

For as xenophobic and ruthless as Eden is, it ranks low on our list due to one key fact – it can still respond to logical arguments. 

Adam Benford – Resident Evil 6

A president with brains… in his mouth

President Benford had noble intentions in mind. Inheriting a nation post-Umbrella, Benford had every intention of exposing the truth about the Raccoon City outbreak and subsequent destruction of the city.

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And then Derek Simmons happened and – BAM! – viruses everywhere. Though polling numbers haven’t been released since the Tall Oaks incident, it cannot be understated that the bullet fired by U.S. Agent and owner of gaming’s most perfect hair Leon S. Kennedy has significantly impacted Zombie-American Adam Benford’s chances of being re-elected.

TL; DR – nearly dead is fine, actually dead is not.

Howard Ackerman – Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3

Howard Ackerman - Bad Video Game Presidents

Not even SPAAAAAAAAAAACE can stop shady androids

On the surface, President Howard Ackerman knocks it out of the park. Like John Henry Eden, Ackerman believes in mom, baseball, and apple pie. Added bonus: Ackerman bears an uncanny resemblance to Oscar and Golden Globe winner J. K. Simmons. For god’s sake, he was Fred Mertz in Being the Ricardos! This is a man people would vote for.

A minor sticking point: Ackerman isn’t exactly a man.

In the Imperial campaign of Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, it turns out that Ackerman is actually – and really, we should have seen this coming – an android created and controlled by Crown Prince Tatsu, son of Yoshihero, Emperor of Japan, whose purpose was to prod the Allies into attacking the Soviets.

There’s no need for foreign warmongering – we can construct our own domestically.

George Washington – Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington

King George Washington from Assasin's Creed

Declaration of independence from an oppressive monarchy to – wait wut

Ah, President Washington, we meet again. This time, however, critiquing Washington’s bigly talent for cherry tree chopping isn’t the only thing to worry about.

Assassin’s Creed III DLC campaign The Tyranny of King Washington envisions an alternate timeline separate from the main campaign featuring the Assassin whose name is essentially just cheating at Scrabble. Instead, Washington falls under the influence of the Apple of Eden, changing from a patriotic hero, beloved by a newborn nation, to a ruthless and vicious king. Now mad with power, he crowns himself King of America, ropes Israel Putnam, Benedict Arnold, and Benjamin Franklin into being his stooges. He cages Connor, razes cities to the ground, and murders a Native woman with the very scepter he rules with.

Certainly a fist so iron-clad could never take top office in the United States, right?

You – Civilization VI

You think this job is easy? Let’s see you do it

In this election cycle, much has been made about the voting block labeled the “double-hater.” These voters hold the two front-runners in such a negative viewpoint that even making the “lesser of two evils” choice could be difficult. Some may turn their attention to third-party candidates; however in 2024 the current leading third-party candidate is the legal residence of Earthworm Jim. Some, sadly, may opt to not even vote.

And it’s difficult to wrap one’s brains around, yet understandable at the very same time: it’s the most stressful position in the U.S. government. The President literally carries the nickname of “Leader of the Free World.” The well-being of nearly 342 million Americans rests on your shoulders.

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So despite the fact that possibly Options A and B both stink, odds are you can’t hack it either.

Civilization VI, like the titles before it in the Sid Meier series, tasks the player from taking their civilization from infancy to world power. They are responsible for developing their agriculture, military defenses, infrastructure, technology, and cultural importance, among many other factors. Civilization VI is not an easy game, because it simulates a task that is not easy.

Other civilizations can capture you by military might, or make you culturally or scientifically irrelevant. Your citizens can all be converted to the religion of a foreign nation, rebel against you, or simply starve to death.

Not so cocky now, are you?

Donald Trump – Leader Strike

Donald Trump in Leader strike - bad video game presidents

The only way I can possibly discuss this guy in a factual, non-partisan manner.

It’s a bad mobile game featuring a bad person.

That’s it. That’s the entry.


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Ryan Bates
Ryan Bates
A gamer since the days games only had 8-bits to work with, Ryan is a So Cal native who likes gaming now as much as he did in olden times when the year started with a 1. Other interests include theme parks, boxing, obscure trivia, and trash movies. You can find him out in the World Wide Weird on Twitter at @RyanWritesGood.
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