Last week a fellow GIO community member messaged me on Twitter suggesting a blog topic surrounding the upcoming presidential election and somehow linking it to a video game theme. At first I was a bit apprehensive, admitting to him that I try to avoid blogging about politics because of the sensitivity often associated with the subject, but after careful consideration, I think I can pull it off without upsetting anybody (I hope). Before I proceed I just want to say even though I choose not to blog about politics or the election, I do take it very serious (more so than you'll ever know) and am in no way trying to dismiss the significance of this freedom that we're fortunate enough to enjoy.

With so many voicing their opinions and holding their ground without compromising an inch it's easy to invoke the wrath of those with opposing views, so my goal was to inject a little levity and humor into such a tense and volatile situation.

My first thought was to play it safe and perhaps showcase those games where the President played a role or was featured in the game. Maybe take the "thegodofwine7" approach and do a Top Ten list of sorts; something like "Top Ten Video Game Presidents". I immediately remembered Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2, a series where the bulk of the campaign involved rescuing President Ballantine from a coup d'état in Mexico.

Then of course there was a title that was a bit more popular that you might've heard of - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. The story revolved more around the Russian President Vorshevsky, but did include the Vice President of the United States being taken hostage. That sort of counts, right?

Well, if we're going to talk about that game, there's no way we can skip mentioning Call of Duty: Black Ops. Heck, it even features two former real world presidents. Besides the single player campaign with its plot loosely based on the assassination of President Kennedy, it also included the rather popular Zombie Mode featuring JFK and Richard Nixon. Whether you were alive or not, or agreed with their lifestyles and politics or not is irrelevant - seeing these two united to battle zombies was cool and warrants their inclusion on any list of Top Presidents in a video game.

Well, the next game I could think of was Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja and its atrocious end game screen. After having this image etched in my mind, I decided to cancel this idea. I suppose instead you get a Top Three or maybe a Top Two Pt. Five Video Game Presidents.

The next thought I had was to conduct a mock Presidential debate (a parody of course) among all the candidates including Gordon Freeman, Marcus Fenix, Duke Nukem and others. Imagine if Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, or Candy Crowley asked the candidates the following questions.

Lehrer: "Mr. Freeman, the economy is experiencing an unexpected resonance cascade; stock in Black Mesa Research Facility has plummeted to an all time low and unemployment rates in City 17 are above 90%...can you briefly outline your recover play in the allotted two minutes?"

Freeman: "..."


Schieffer: "Mr. Fenix, Iran is close to developing a weapon of mass destruction, which not only threatens our allies in the Middle East, it could pose a grave risk to our national security. If you were elected President, what course of action would you pursue to deter Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?"

Fenix: " *bleep* Iran! I'd kick their mother *bleep* *bleep* back to the Dark Ages. Those *bleep* *bleep* would regret the day they ever decided to *bleep* with us or our brothers. Brothers to the end, that's what I say. Iran, meh. Iran ain't got *bleep* on the Locusts. Horses and bayonets aren't going to cut it. Aircraft carriers and submarines aren't going to cut it. Our fleet IS too small. I agree with my opponent in this regard. That's why when I'm elected President I will increase our defense budget by 500% and commission a bigger fleet of ships, spaceships that we're ready for those *bleep* *bleep* when they attack. You know what comes after D-Day? E-Day."


Crowley: "Mr. Nukem, a number of nationally recognized media interests including the Washington Post and the Denver Post have published articles about how women's issues are at the forefront of this election. What are your thoughts on women's rights?"

Nukem: "Well, Well...women...they have the uh, right to remain silent of course. I do know that. And they have the um...gee, well, um...the right to work. Sure I don't care if they work. I know lots of women who work hard for their money. Look, if I'm elected President I guarantee the people of this fine country I will have plenty of women working under, I mean for mean...what I'm trying to say is if I'm elected President, I can see women in all sorts of positions in my administration. Does anybody have any gum...I'm all out of gum."

(Saint: I hesitated with adding the Duke Nukem comment and truly I'm not trying to offend anybody or come off as a sexist; I'm only trying to mock how both parties tend to twist and skew the comments made by their rival. My apologies if anybody takes it any other way than that or is offended by it.)

Well, I could see that approach was going to spiral out of control before erupting into a giant fireball so I settled on a different idea. I imagined the entire video game population of heroes and villains and everything in between and then viewed it from the perspective of Toy Story, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and maybe a little bit of that Sony commercial - Long Live Play...whereby at the end of the day, all video game characters exist in the same imaginary world of video game land for lack of a better term, and then I wondered...what one character has the skill, experience and charisma to be the President of video game land.

Of course the ever popular Mario did well and had the backing of the Union whereas Kratos didn't because he only focused his campaign on defense spending and securing the borders. Ah, then there was the charismatic Nathan Drake who might win the popular vote but his shady past would no doubt haunt his presidency. Rumor has it a reporter asked John Marston if he would run for office and Marston shot the man on the spot. Now I hear that guy is pushing daisies up at Boot Hill. Sackboy, cute as he is...everybody thought he'd look good behind the podium addressing the nation but would fail as a Commander in Chief, so he was passed over. Sam Fisher wanted to run...said nobody understood foreign policy quite like him, but feared ambassadors from practically every country would question his existence or worse...join together and run a smear campaign accusing him of illegally entering their country and killing their citizens. Snake chuckled when he heard this, mumbled something that sounded like rookie and disappeared into the crowd. Master Chief declined but said he would consider the Secretary of Defense position if it was still available after he got done saving the world...said he could use a break. Elena Fisher had a ton of supporters insisting she run for office; she joked that she visited Russia once so she was qualified but then admitted she was a journalist, not a politician. We're still waiting to hear on Gordon Freeman's decision.

The answer is obvious.

President Shepard.

The President of the United States (since that's where I am and what we're talking about) primary function is to the best of his (or her) ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Think about it. Shepard has prior military experience and knows what it takes to be Commander In Chief. Not only has he sent troops into battle, he's been into battle. He knows the sacrifice it takes; and not just at the "country" level, but at the galaxy level...nay, the universe level. He understands foreign policy and national security issues, just look at his track record. He wouldn't just secure the borders, he'd secure the mass relay drives.

All this talk of clean coal, digging for oil and energy independence. Shepard supports mining nearby planets and stripping them of their resources while leaving the colonized (or mostly colonized planets) alone. We could be energy independent without any further harm to our own planet.

Hah, we speak of bipartisanship...well Shepard united alien races, some of which were feuding for generations upon generations, yet he managed to bridge the gap and bring them together. I think he could handle some unruly Republicans and Democrats. It doesn't hurt that Mass Effect was available on all the platforms whereas some of the other candidates are exclusive to a single platform...and audience.

As previously mentioned, women's issues are at the forefront of this election. Shepard didn't just have a codex full of women, he had a crew full of them, some of them filling key positions. Of course there are allegations he might have had an inappropriate relationship or two, but what good presidential candidate hasn't been accused of that before?

Even though Shepard is against high velocity barrels, piercing mods and Pistol Cranial Trauma System type weapons, he does support the right to bear's believed the National Rifle Association (NRA) would still endorse him for president.

Medicaid and Medicare? Shepard's plan calls for major healthcare reform so every family can have endless supplies of medi-gel, which has been shown to heal nearly every sort of ailment or trauma. Who needs Medicaid or Medicare when you have medi-gel.

Shepard's perspective on same sex marriage...hah, even I won't touch that one.

Education...he's a big advocate for continuing education. He was always having his crew research and study new technology and advanced systems so this could be adopted by the alliance of alien races and the humans.

Unemployment rate? Shepard knows something about creating jobs, so the unemployment rate won't even be an issue. He was always putting people to work doing something and if he needs to create a lot of jobs, well heck...destruction always seems to follow him everywhere he goes. Somebody will have to rebuild the devastation left in his wake. How many workers do you suppose it took to construct the Citadel?

Okay, all jokes aside...the election is a week away. Whether you vote or not, or who you vote for is really inconsequential to me. It's a freedom guaranteed by our Constitution and how you choose to use it is none of my business. If you choose to vote or if you're undecided, as someone who has voted for more years than some of you have been alive...might I offer some advice? There is no such thing as a perfect candidate...someone who you completely agree with on every issue. Vote for the candidate who shares the same perspective as you on the issues that matter most to you, while respecting those who value different issues and potentially a different candidate.

And if you don't vote, let me just say there were times I didn't like the candidate I was voting for, but I voted anyway. Not because I felt I had to as my civic duty or because I thought it was expected or the right thing to do...but simply because I could...


Ah, smell that? Freedom...