The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

A Look at American Presidency In Video Games

3 min read


Now that the long drawn-out Presidential campaign has come to a close, Americans everywhere should be happy that they live in a thriving democratic society where we’re allowed to choose those who chart the path our nation will take or, at the very least, we’ll be able to watch TV without Barack Obama or John McCain telling us what to think.
As gamers, we’re not entirely isolated from the presidency. Thus, in celebration of this presidential election, let’s look at five memorable instances of a real American President showing up in a video game.

“NBA Jam” – Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton has received credit for many things, such as the prolonged economic growth of the 1990s, balancing the U.S. Federal budget, and, thanks to this game, being able to slam-dunk a basketball that’s on fire from the other side of the court. You had to enter a cheat code to unlock him, but the satisfaction of schooling a friend as the 42nd President is ever so sweet. Besides, it’s far from the worst thing to happen involving Bill Clinton and cheating.

“Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die” – Abe Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most respected and idolized figures in American history, so when an evil conspiracy set on controlling the world needed a figure to work for them, who better to choose than the 16th President himself?

Or, since Abe Lincoln died in 1865, how about the statue of Abe Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial, come to life? So, to protect America, you have to run against him and ensure his defeat, instead resulting in the election of a hyperactive, insane, homicidal rabbit who eventually sells the United States to Canada.

“JFK Reloaded” – John F Kennedy

Unlike the other games here, where the intent is humorous, JFK Reloaded is a serious game in which you recreate the assassination of JFK. The JFK assassination has given birth to a multitude of conspiracy theories all based on the idea that one lone man in a warehouse couldn’t have possibly done that on his own. This game demonstrates, quite powerfully, that yes, it was very possible.

“Mercenaries 2” – Barack Obama & Sarah Palin

This one has yet to happen, but already deserves mention due to how amazing an idea this is. An upcoming update to “Mercenaries 2,” a GTA-style game in which you play as a mercenary taking down a Venezuelan dictator, will add Barack Obama and Sarah Palin as playable characters, giving you a chance to hunt something a bit more interesting than a moose or deliver to Venezuela the change it needs. And by change I mean cluster bombs.

“Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja” – Ronald Reagan

“Bad Dudes” is a great beat-em-up from the late 80’s which has gained infamy for its hilarious intro screen. On it, a man with a military haircut tells you “The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?” So as a tank-top wearing bad dude you fight your ways through wave after wave of ninjas in order to rescue President Reagan, who thanks you by taking you out for burgers. Seriously.