The world is still in a state of shock and political hangover at the news that the next President of the United States of America is going to be Donald Trump. Yes, Donald J. Trump: the oldest and least experienced president in US history, whose long campaign consisted of sexist, ableist, racist, and fascist rhetoric. Despite being beaten in the popular vote by his opponent Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is going to be POTUS — leaving some people elated and others (especially vulnerable minorities and LGBT+ groups) scared and devastated. Many people are getting ready to mobilise and push back against the threat that a Trump presidency means to them; some are marching and protesting in the streets. Others are stepping away for a while to indulge in some escapism and take time for some self-care — and what better way to escape than video games? This got me thinking: how many video games feature presidents as characters? And how many of those examples would make better American presidents than Donald Trump?

Here are the six that came to mind. I’m sure that there are many more… and they’re probably all better than Trump.

Saints Row IV

Easily the best Saints Row game in the series, Saints Row IV saw you playing as The Boss of the Third Street Saints — a character recently elected to the role of President of the USA after riding a nuke into space and saving the world from terrorism forever. Best of all, the excellent character creator tools let you make a president of any ethnicity (including ones that don’t exist), age, and body type (although only binary genders — boo!). Then you get super powers and spend the rest of the game liberating humanity from alien enslavement. 10/10 would elect again.

These are causes I can get behind.

These are causes I can get behind.

 

Liberation Maiden

No listicle by Angus Baillie would be complete without at least one entry ripped fresh from the depths of anime hell. Liberation Maiden puts players in control of the Second President of New Japan, who must personally thwart of an invading nation in a giant, flying mech-suit. Oh and also she’s a Japanese schoolgirl, because of course she is. Sure, you spend most of this relatively short game destroying things, but they’re all evil things that murdered your father. Plus it’s nice to imagine a female president who can settle her personal vendettas all by herself without dragging her people into harms way. For all your ‘first female president’ power fantasies, vote 1 Liberation Maiden.

Sonic Adventure 2

For some reason the messy plot of Sonic Adventure 2 features a brief moment where our blue hero surprises the President of the USA by jumping through the open window of his limousine. While only a brief appearance, this depiction of the president is notable for existing inoffensively. Good job, sir.

Make Sonic great again.

Make Sonic great again.

 

Frog Fractions

Spoiler alert on a browser game from four years ago: Frog Fractions starts out looking like nothing more than a cheaply made arcade-style edutainment game about fractions. From here, things only get weirder as players guide their frog on a comical odyssey of popular video game genres, from text adventures to bullet hell shooters to Ace Attorney-style courtroom dramas. Somewhere in the midst of this melon-twisting mess you spend some time being the Frog President — swimming around in your giant pool and earning money by producing pornography for insects. Sure, he doesn’t sound like a particularly good president. But given what we know about Trump, I think he is the lesser of two evil toads.

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3

A series of real-time strategy games known for its ridiculous live-action cut scenes, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 features an exciting cast of fictionalised world leaders including Emperor of Japan (played by George Takei) and — of course — the President of the USA (played by J.K. Simmons). You can choose to play as one of three warring global powers, and what makes this game great is that you, and you alone, can choose who represents you. There’s nobody else there to fuck that decision up for you. Of course all the leaders are very cartoonish and silly as well, which I’m sure is something many people would happily settle for under these circumstances. The game is also worth mentioning purely so I can include this clip of Tim Curry, who plays Colonel/Premier Anatoly Cherdenko of the Soviet Union — who very much proposes an idea that many of us can get behind right now.

Tim Curry, you magnificent bastard.

Dark Souls

Okay hear me out. Sure, Dark Souls doesn’t actually have a president in it. But you do get to struggle through a decaying kingdom filled with hostile creatures and murder the Lord of Cinder in order to end his rule and bring about a new era. So in some ways it’s at least aspirational, right?

Oh, and somebody did mod the game so that every death replaces the infamous “You Died” text with “Thanks Obama”. So there is that too!