The Top Ten Government Shut-downs in Video-games - Tim Gruver Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Top Ten Government Shut-downs in Video-games

The world may continue to turn for the rest of the globe, but today is no ordinary day for the good ‘ole U.S. of A. After the occurrence of the so-named “government shutdown” at exactly 12:00 A.M. last night, the U.S. government has officially ceased all “nonessential services” until further notice in the absence of a federally approved annual budget. As millions of federal workers and other U.S. citizens wait in earnest for Congress to act, we ask ourselves, “Have we been through worse?” 

In times like these, video-games can be a refuge as well as a lesson. Governments’ screw-ups are sometimes as close to us as our game screens. Why not take a gander at all the political wisdom they have to give? 

10. Frequent Cornerian Invasions (Star Fox)

By all accounts, Corneria looks like a dandy ‘ole world if it wasn’t being invaded by anthropomorphic monkey men with an inferiority complex. Thus, the poor Cornerians are reduced to a smoldering heap about every couple of years a mad scientist decides to take over the galaxy, or whenever Nintendo releases another darn Star Fox entry, whichever comes first. Thus, to combat deadly anthropomorphic monkey men, the only solution apparent to anthropomorphic dogs in Sergeant Pepper getups is to hire other anthropomorphic animals, namely foxes. Star Foxes to be exact.

Don’t get this list wrong, Corneria has always been and always will be a great starter level for any Star Fox game. Seriously though, hiring out mercenaries just to get your planet’s capital back in order with ridiculously frequency is, well, ridiculous. That’d amount to D.C. hiring out those poker playing dogs to machine gun the House every time a budget bill was too long. Then again. . . 

9. Galactic Federal Stupidity (Metroid: Other M)

Yes, everyone hates Other M, but ya know what’s more hate-inducing? The pain in the butt military industrial complex at the heart of the game. Captain Malcolm has what amounts to a sorta cool but not really cool ‘tude that results in the classic,“I’m a soldier and I’m above a personality” kinda guy. His military regiment has no apparent peacekeeping purpose outside of blasting the rare Metroid in their path, albeit badly, whining a lot, and calling each other “lady,” even to the entirely appropriate individual. At least they had the common sense to hire an awesome bounty hunter like Samus, but not before they attached a rubber hose to her brain and sucked out all its remaining life force. That’s especially odd saying that for a character who didn’t speak for most her history. 

The amount of resources that Malcolm’s government spends on hunting silly jelly aliens and not really protecting those space lanes very well is no doubt enraging any galactic taxpayer and the Galactic Federation is in the “Sure needs to be shutdown” list if it hasn’t already been said and done by now. It’d be good riddance, because where were the Galactic Federation’s child social services for orphaned space girls anyway? 

8. G.U.N Getting Shot in the Foot (Shadow the Hedgehog)

     

You know that your video-game government agency is trying to compensate for something when it names itself after the not rarest weapon in all gaming history. Apart from the childish acronym and tendency to shoot first and ask questions about animal rights later, G.U.N is a bloated extrajudicial body that can’t even do its own frakking job right. First they give federal grant money to a mad scientist out of Guess Who, then they arm themselves with giant mechs with blatantly colored weak points, and then they lose to two cartoony hedgehogs in shoes and gloves. 

The fact that the world gets destroyed thanks to their incompetence tops off the biggest record-breaker of getting the ARK making sure the whole darn world got shutdown forever. So much for that whole "Guardian Unit of Nations" schtick.Thank goodness that those Chaos Emeralds are as commonplace as vending machine candy. Time, alternate timelines that is, always seem to be on G.U.N.’s side to right every wrong they didn’t fix. Otherwise we might’ve had some terrible Shadow the Hedgehog game. Wait. . . 

7. Citadel Council's Destruction (Mass Effect)

      

If you thought that the U.S. Congress could very well filibuster over choosing an official congressional doughnut flavor for days, then Mass Effect’s Citadel Council couldn’t get its head out of the sand if a Reaper was poking them in their upright butt. The Reapers did just that to get their attention, and if it wasn’t for a certain heroic Mr./Mrs. Commander Shephard, they’d never have had a galaxy left to fight over in the Reaper invasion. Whether it’s the Turian’s expansionist bad attitude, the whole “humans have too much emotional baggage,” or whatever insipid thing that the council gets an ulcer over, one thing’s clear: a bunch of frick’in big killer roboty things are coming and you’re the only one that can stop it. Earth is glad you did do something. 

Fans might not have been as jazzed with your adventure’s ending, but who cares in the long run anyway? You rocked that armored suit like a bad-a** and got half the internet’s GOTY. Live with that. 

6. New Vegas: Post Apocalypse Beatdown (Fallout: New Vegas) 

Polls and pundits both agree that Congress is getting more useless by the day, so why not just blow the whole dang system up in a blaze of nuclear glory? That’s the conundrum of Fallout: New Vegas’s radiated apocalypse and all the glorious mutant killing and unlimited gambling pleasures of the new Sin City speak for themselves. With nothing left but ruined Hooters, killer creatures, and a list of progressively more brutish militants, New Vegas is an anarchist’s paradise. 

From the stuffier, formal sounding New Republic of California to the comically self-righteous Brotherhood of Steel and the almost Saturday morning cartoon sounding “Powder Gangers” (“Power Rangers”, get it?), it takes all kinds to raise a village, or a wasteland in this case. Above them all, Caesar’s Legion proves that there was one nutjob dead serious enough to uphold the mantle of the ultimate “stick’in to the man” dictator of history. Decked out with Roman-esque tents, whips, and armor, they claim dominance over a land that knows no rules and thrive as its worst product of human nature. 

Or the time in between when Mitt Romney would finally be elected as the last politician on Earth. Whatever.

7. Gotham City Chaos (Arkham series)

By now in comic-book history, Gotham’s probably beyond the usual amount of jokes about ridiculously high crime-rates and killer clowns run amok, but the unusually stupid mayoral decisions in Arkham City really take the cake. Rather than simply breaking the necks of all the psychos Batman never redeems or rehabilitating Gotham’s scumbags with real, medically proven treatments, Carl Rove lookalike Mayor Quincy Sharp imprisons all of Gotham’s worst gangs right in the heart of the city’s worst neighboring slums. Does it save extra prison space? Heck yeah. Does it make any voter feel safe living a block away from a laughing serial killer in clown makeup; an icy mad scientist in an hazmat suit; a half-burnt, ex DA; and a giant play-doh monster?! Heck--no?

The answer to that sticky wicket would be simple to the insane former head of an insane asylum: stick another crazy guy in charge of all the other crazy guys. Yes, the aptly named Hugo Strange is put right over all of his new psycho prisoners to make sure that only he can bombard Gotham from black Chinook helicopters. Guess all those tinfoil wearing conspiracy theorists would’ve been right if not for Batman’s punching in Hugo’s teeth and foiling that dastardly plot. 

Such an idiotic plot only demanded what would most certainly be the fastest mayoral recall election in history, or should. After all, who cares if dangling Mr. Sharp and his most assuredly wet pants over a railing was technically illegal? Gotham needs a mayor it deserves. . . but not the one it doesn’t need. 

5. The Mushroom Kingdom's Royal Pains (Mario Series)

The Mushroom Kingdom’s hopelessly unstable monarchy might very well be the ugly poster child of all video-game governments. Kidnappings, assault, arson, and intrigue are all as commonplace for Princess Peach’s rule as Mario’s actual plunging toilets isn’t. Don’t let the Disney Princess look fool you: the reigning matriarch’s picturesque castle is about as vulnerable a hotspot for chaos as unlocked coin blocks. Worse, its denizens only possessions seem to be bombs and performance enhancing drugs and their only life pursuit a xenophobic war against minority turtle races. 

It’s little wonder then that routine government shutdowns occur almost daily, what with the literal absence of your supreme monarch and all. It’s all the more suspicious that Peach’s near-begging for abduction conveniently incurs Mario and his sibling’s perpetual war against the Koopa Kingdom. . . as if it was all a staged hoax to continue its poor Toads’ blind allegiance towards totalitarian war regimes.

Nevertheless, peace is always quickly resolved thanks to players’ mad platforming skillz and a few extra lives. Still, a subsequent disaster is always around the next corner thanks to one Toad butler’s constant calls for criminal backround checks on Koopa immigration falling on Peach’s deaf, expensively bejeweled ears. 

3. Shinra's Demise (Final Fantasy VII) 

Final Fantasy’s brand name invokes feelings of majestic, fairy tale experiences. Final Fantasy VII’s nightmarish universe recalls that of a corporate engine gone awry in the worst way possible. If you think Wallstreet’s already monopolizing mainstreet’s interests, then check out the planet Gaia’s problems. Its city of Midgar’s ashen clouds of industrial waste and brutal police state are as anti-environmental and civil liberties as you can ask for. What’s a world to do? Rally together the best Occupy Wall Street gang you can get. 

The pitifully sorry group you start out with is intimidatingly puny. A spiky haired simpleton, a too short for shorts clad female hipster, a grizzled rappa who don’t rap wit a sweet arm cannon, and a couple of dudes named after Star Wars pilots don’t add up to much. Like a certain Corellian smuggler’s sweet ride, however they got it where it counts. 

The rebel team of Avalanche do in Shinra’s no-good doings and through heartache and sacrifice, democracy triumphs over the big bad corporate wolf. What’s not to love about JRPG’s sociopolitical speak?

2. Rapture's Downfall (Bioshock)

For a place that’s technically built on no governments allowed, Rapture embodies a hypocritical iron-fisted freedom that’s only understood by the twisted mind of Andrew Ryan. Rather than let his citizenry do enjoy anything they earn by the sweat of their own brow, he instead allows killer diving-suit men with pointy drills and scare-your-pants-off little girls tempting you with something other than cookies in the wake of his once beautiful city’s collapse. That’s the worst post-government shutdown if I ever saw one. Well, especially since there was no government in principle to begin with. 

Though the mystery behind Rapture’s uncanny demise is up to your own imagination and its philosophies up to your own interpretation, one thing’s clear: don’t be injecting random drugs in to your system. You don’t know where that freaking stuff came from. Crazy person! 

    1. Outer Heaven's Defeat (Metal Gear Solid 4)

Libertarians and progressive routinely speak out against the military industrial complex’s grip over federal legislation and Hideo Kojima might just be listening to them more than we think, given MGS 4’s fantastically evil embodiment of it. Perhaps born out of The Big Boss’s best intentions, Outer Heaven’s origins may be firmly rooted in freeing the world’s armies from the grips of heartless governments, but at the cost of enslaving them to a just as mindlessly savage corporate power. 

Outer Heaven is a virtual government itself, arguably the greatest military might on earth by the very near date of 2014 and throwing around politicians and nations like rag dolls at a whim under Liquid Ocelot’s villainous stache. At best, Outer Heaven symbolizes the dream of uninhibited free enterprise, and at its unspeakable worst, it represents the same hunger for abusive power that gives way to monopolies, federal or financial. 

Lucky for the world that it had one last, dying Snake to save it from total self-destruction in the ultimate government shutdown ever portrayed on a tv screen. As Outer Heaven’s mechs collapsed and its soldiers out of a job thanks to Snake and company’s efforts, the world could now see a new dawn coming out of the darkness. . . or at least Revengeance’s cyborg slaughter screwed it up 4 years later. Screw you Senator Armstrong. 

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Thanks for reading my inane little political bantering and leave your comments down below. Did you laugh, did you cry, did you learn something, or simply scratch your head in bewilderment at this blog of fancy? Remember: gaming is by the people and for the people. Government: don’t go messing with the wrong people now, ya hear?

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