As you no doubt have heard, 2016 is a major election year in the United States. Not only is the presidency up for grabs, but many seats in Congress and on state and local levels are as well. No matter who you vote for, it’s likely that you think at least a few of the folks running for office this year are corrupt. But these folks are nothing compared to the most corrupt video game politicians.
When games deal with politics, it can be cutting satire, messy sermonizing, or even gangsters fighting evil aliens like in the picture above. There are even a handful of games that put a treacherous elected official right at the center of the plot. Fandom is here to rank the five most nefarious fictional elected officials in gaming history. Naturally, we’ll begin with one of the most politically charged game franchises…
President George Sears (Metal Gear Solid 2)
The first Metal Gear Solid ends its tale of espionage with quite a major cliffhanger. MGS protagonist Solid Snake has an evil clone who orchestrated all the near-world destroying events of the game. And that twin just so happened to be the current President of the United States. As players would discover in Metal Gear Solid 2, President George Sears was controlling the whole conspiracy and had been forced out of office by his overlords. Now calling himself Solidus, this video game politician built an entire private army to start a war on American soil. To explain this in more detail would take another 3,000 words, so either read the MGS wiki all day or trust that this was one bad president.
Senator John Henry Simmons (Payday 2)
The Payday series is more known for its addictive team-based shooter gameplay, but it’s got more story to it than outsiders might realize. In Payday 2, one of the main drivers of the plot is Sen. John Henry Simmons. Codenamed The Elephant, Sen. Simmons is a power-hungry congressman played by accomplished actor Bokeem Woodbine, and he’s often sending players on criminal missions. Sometimes it’s to rig elections for members of his party. Or he’ll contract the players to frame another senator for stealing a painting. He’s got an impressive variety of crimes he needs you to commit. But hey, at least Sen. Simmons pays you well for all those misdeeds.
President Elizabeth Winters (Vanquish)
Shame on you if you never played Vanquish. This Platinum Games production from 2010 is an over-the-top, adrenaline-drenched shooter from the folks who brought you Okami and Resident Evil 4. You play as a cybernetically enhanced agent named Sam Gideon and you battle Russian robots in outer space. It’s even more fun than it sounds. But where’s the corrupt video game politician fit in? Well, Sam is following the orders of President Elizabeth Winters who sends you after the space Russians after they microwave all of San Francisco. The only problem for President Winters is the Russians only got those weapons because she’d been secretly dealing with them to create an enemy she could later defeat. That all spun out of her control, and it’s up to Sam to clean up the mess. Unfortunately for Winters, her conspiracy is exposed, with grave consequences for everyone involved.
Senator Alfred Woden (Max Payne)
Now here’s a corrupt video game politician that’s on the player’s side. In the convoluted plot of Max Payne, Senator Alfred Woden is your man on the inside of the Norse mythology-laden conspiracy at the center of the plot. He helped start the program that would ultimately cause the death of Max’s wife. Not only that, but Woden was in deep with the Russian mob. Perhaps to make amends, the one-eyed congressman helps Max throughout the game, though usually for his twisted reasons. When Woden finally does something good in Max Payne 2, it leads to his death. Maybe it was too little too late.
Senator Steven Armstrong (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
Senator Steven Armstrong isn’t just the most corrupt video game politician, but he’s also the most fun. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, you play as the once-reviled, now beloved Raiden. You spend the entire game fighting ostentatious, stylized enemies who have a similar ninja style to Raiden. But when it’s time to face the man behind this army of robotic operatives, you find a Texas Senator in a suit and glasses. Armstrong reveals he was doing it all along to usurp the U.S. government and replace it with his dictatorship. This is all revealed as he’s kicking the crap out of Raiden in Revengeance‘s most grueling boss battle. Seeing a U.S. Senator transform into a hulking, metallic warrior is something you’ll only see in a Metal Gear game. And his explanation of his powers is one of the best lines in gaming history. To quote Sen. Armstrong, “Nanomachines, son!”
Quite a collection of corrupt video game politicians, no? Try to keep them in mind during this year’s election, because it can always get worse.