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For a lot of people, April 15th may seem like any other day, but for all of you hard-working, money-conscious folk, April 15th is also one day in particular: Tax day! That's right! The very day that Uncle Sam snatches over a third of all your hard-earned cash for the continuation of the nation's well-oiled machine is upon us, and it's often a heavy burden. As much as we would like to feel like manipulated cogs in the IRS's well-oiled machine, we should all know that there are people that do care: video-game characters! Didn't think that they didn't work for a living too? Well think again as I break down a top ten list of the best off and worst off taxpayers that make up the gaming landscape.
Worst Off: Wario [Corporate Tax]
As one of the richest video-game characters around, it’s easy to think of Wario as the foremost taxpayer of the Mario universe. CEO of his own company of Wario Ware Inc. and the sole creator of his “micro-games,” multi-millionaire Wario is more than well to do and that no doubt comes with sizable taxes for his thriving industry. However, knowing Wario’s mentality, we can be sure that he gets away with murder when it comes to keeping the profits moving. We can reckon that his partners in crime of Dribble and Spitz and armies of lawyers kept busy hitting the books looking for plenty of ways to “persuade” the authorities of a few tax breaks, few of which he'll probably get away with. It stinks, but that’s how the corporate world tries to scam you.
Worst Off: Nathan Drake [Income Tax]
His globe-trotting adventures may have lined his pockets with gemstones and priceless artifacts, but there's no denying that Nathan Drake has come across his fortunes with decidedly less than legal means. Mowing down pirates, warlords, and mercenaries has lent him a huge stash of wealth, but that’s not something to be telling your bookie. As a result, displaying his finds to the authorities is probably the last thing on his mind, much less on a tax sheet. Really, how do list a Mayan death mask as on your tax records? Due to these extenuating circumstances, we could expect a guy like Drake to be offloading his precious wares in some shady, back-alley deal of Sully’s rather than going to the taxman today. After all, the scene of Drake and Elena sitting down to do their taxes just conjures up images of the inevitable plane, boat, or car near them exploding and their tax records going up in smoke anyhow.
Best Off: Nook [Sales Tax]
Animal Crossing's famed shopkeeping raccoon of Nook is easily the most successful (and only) businessman in town, so it should come as no surprise that he should be loaded with taxes to pay. However, this adorable yet savvy critter will charge such high prices for his cheap wares that he makes more than a tidy profit. He may nag you so much for completing jobs and refusing to pay full price on junky items that he may just be a taxman himself in attitude. With your town's only public projects being a simple windmill and a few bridges, it's very probably that Nook gets to keep a lot of that profit to all to himself. Add that factor on top of the fact that his dependents of nephews of Timmy and Tommy raccoon would make his tax burden a bit lighter in spite of the huge, last upgrade you can help him make on his store. Still, Nook has a public image to maintain and would definitely keep a good aura of civic responsibility about him and pay off his share of taxes, however small they no doubt are.
Worst Off: Mario [Inflation Tax]
Mario's years have been chock full of parties, road races, and role-playing games filled with hitting literally thousands of coin blocks over the course of his historic plumbing career, but his wealth comes with an evident price. Anyone student of Austrian Economics would tell you that the costs of overinflation comes with soaring prices and the devaluation of the currency, and Mario’s production of tons and tons of gold coins only inflames this theory tenfold. For every coin that Mario comes up with, the worth of the Mushroom Kingdom’s coin goes down another soaring number. Toads across Princess Peach’s kingdom can now lament over lower standards of living thanks to this greedy plumber’s lust for wealth and fame. Does Mario apologize? No. He simply goes for more coins. Plus, consider the fact that Mario’s gold coins aren’t even legal tender by the U.S. federal government for payment of debts, private or public. Mario has not a real dollar to his name and his future of living in a warp pipe or a bunk in Luigi’s Mansion are just a step too close for comfort.
Best Off: Connor Kenway [Income, Property Tax]
It's odd to think of any Assassin’s Creed character possessing considerable wealth with their lack of actual, umm, “jobs” to go to, but Assassin’s Creed III’s Connor Kenway has quite a bit of Colonial pounds under his knife-heavy belt. All of that fur-trading, treasure hunting, homestead work, and literal highway robbery in AC III paid off big time if you kept at it, and it showed in the fine manor house of his that Connor furnished with trinkets by the game’s end. Such a large estate obviously demands enormous taxes to pay, especially with the colonies’ post-war debts to pay off, and Connor has quite the steady income to look at too. Thankfully, our patriotic assassin has friends in high places, namely the Founding Fathers themselves. Combine that aong with his direct help in fighting the American Revolution, and Connor’s eligible for more than his fair share of tax breaks. His common tendency to simply toss his hard-earnd pounds in the city streets to passers by can also be very easily be written off as charitable deductions to the poor. That, and Connor is likely to just steal as many pound as he needs from some unfortunate sucker that walks by his rooftop perch. But our Connor would be better than that. . . right?. . .
Worst Off: Cave Johnson [Corporate Tax]
Portal 2’s genius creator and company head of Aperture Industries lends a number of talents to his company’s successes, but considering his taxes are not one of them. As much as he’s been the pioneer of Aperture’s revolutionary portal technology and human test subjects, good ‘ole Cave let the Aperture laboratories fall into utter disarray. Once pristine, shining hallways and test chambers became filled with icky sewage and trash by the time you stepped into Chell’s shoes and that kind of company image does not bode well for Aperture’s corporate tax rate. The kind of fees that the demolished and hazardous environments of Portal certainly come at the expense of Aperture’s pocket book. But then again, Cave is just a pre-recorded voice in the labs’ computers. He can’t be brought to court, much less be charge of anything as a disembodied entity. Who knows? Cave might be lounging around in the Bahamas with his secret bank accounts with not a care in the world. Getting away with breaking the law isn’t the right thing, but a Cave evidently proves that being CEO means that you get to do whatever style of business you darn well please.
Best Off: Cole McGrath [Inheritance Tax]
What’s very true about superheroes is that, outside of swingers like Batman and Ironman, lifestyles of the rich and famous don’t come with the job. Cole McGrath lone possessions of his napsack and “amp” device can certainly testify to this fact as the man’s simply flat-broke. Losing his job after the Empire City blast and pretty much having no income, savings, cars, stocks, or hire-ability to speak of, poor Cole’s flat-broke with not so much as a few lawn-chairs to tax. Oh, and there’s that little thing of being dead since Infamous 2 to factor in. Therefore, the issue of taxation can only come to the subject of auctioning off Cole’s estate and property, and as it’s list above is pretty short, it’s safe to say that even death taxes are at a minimum for Cole as of today. Zeke is no doubt going to inherit Cole’s bag, amp, and maybe a few empty beer bottles, but even Uncle Sam wouldn’t be able to tax this bad boy in the afterlife.
Worst Off: Dr. Eggman [Natural Resources Consumption Tax]
Sonic’s arch-nemesis of Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik is one bad dude, and paying his taxes is most likely not his strong suit. Worse, his army of robots and airships doesn’t come cheap and the resulting pollution and destruction of the islands and forests of helpless little cartoon creatures doesn’t help his tax records any. Every missile and laser Eggman fires no doubt comes with enormous environmental concerns, and those carbon emissions from jetting around in that hover pod of his no doubt comes with huge federal payments. Unfortunately for the IRS, Eggman’s not likely to be paying them back anytime soon and is more liable to shoot down Washington D.C. than pay off his overdue taxes. Sonic is probably the IRS’s only reasonable hope of shaking the pocket change out of Eggman, and with his gaming record, that’s pretty sad. Nevertheless, every invention of Eggman's is ruined by the blue menace and his profits are no doubt down because of it. Let’s hope that this animated Richard Hatch of a tax-dodger gets his just-desserts. All of those helpless bunny rabbits and parrots deserve federal compensation.
Best Off: Luigi [Property Tax]
Though he may arguably have the worst real-estate imaginable, Luigi should realize that his haunted property might have its distinct advantages when it comes to tax season. In Luigi’s first game, he won that haunted mansion of his without paying a dime for it thanks to the mysterious “contest” prize that came in the mail to him, and thus, he can consider the house a total freebie. What’s more of a steal is that it’s filled to the brim with all kinds of creepy, horrifying ghosts and scary things that make him jump at night. Why is this a great deal? Because when it comes time to forfeit on his taxes, there’s absolutely no way to repossess it! It’s just down right unfeasible for any bank or fed to be stepping into the house, much less selling it at auction, so Luigi’s Haunted Mansion will probably be his forever. True, it’s a no doubt miserable fate, but this is a list about taxes after all, not life.
Best Off: Every Grand Theft Auto Character [All Taxes]
It should be pretty self-explanatory that the world of Grand Theft Auto is undoubtedly the worst place to collect taxes. Given its outrageously high crime statistics, it’s highly unlikely that any of its residents, from Niko Bellic to Tommy Vercetti stay awake at night crunching numbers for the feds. We can rest assured that whatever drug money and piles of counterfeit cash that are made in the GTA universe stay in the GTA universe and not included in funding our social security and medicare. Thus, GTA's characters are technically the best off taxpayers ever by scamming their government, but perhaps not in the most ethical ways possible.
So, for all of you sending in those tax-forms by now, know that you're not alone.Though mone money may be what makes the world go 'round, it's always the way you earn, (or don't earn) your money that counts. Thanks for reading this absurd list and stay tuned for more blogging!