It's almost 2017 and chances are that your father is an ex-gamer. Today, he might be a mechanic, a professor in literature or a government official, but if he grew up in the late 70s or the early 80s, he probably had some kind of relationship with an Atari or a Nintendo when video games were "blitzing the world."
The people who got their hands on the earliest devices are reaching an age where they're able to hold high positions in society. Like senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who grew up playing Pong and is still an avid Plants vs. Zombies player to this day.
The Senate Floor And GTA Don't Mix
Especially the combination of being an elected politician and a gamer is interesting. Because even though video games have been a thing for more than 40 years and many older people use games on their smartphones to entertain themselves, the idea of spending time playing them still seems childish to most. It doesn't go well with the responsible, mature image a politician is supposed to project.
If you're reading this, you probably identify yourself as a gamer in some degree. But if you also aspire to get into politics, wanting to mold the future of your country through bureaucracy and diplomacy, let me stop you right there. Because it's time to choose. For the sake of your future career.
Our Time Will Come
The notion that gaming is a more wasteful way to spend your spare time than playing sports or watching TV is still dominant. And even though it might be gradually phasing out, as more and more people from "the video game generation" are advancing into the political big league to contradict the general prejudice, we still have the oldest Congress ever, and it's full of conservatives. And being conservative by definition means change is mostly a no-go.
Therefore this is not yet the time for you to come out as a video game enthusiast if you plan to walk the halls of power in the future. Some say that nerds rule the world, and that might be the case in all practicality, but on paper, the world is very much ruled by extroverted show men, who have proven themselves as resolute decision-makers in real life.
What you can do now is start planning how to take over the world in approximately 10 to 15 years, when the human race has softened up to video games a bit more. To help you on your way, here's some political advice on how to best avoid your gamer background screwing up your future career.
Remember The Language Barrier
The internet never forgets, and if you plan to make it politically big at some point, you have to regulate your language. No more 1337 speak. No more tweets telling your followers that you "took off some heads with a chainsaw last night" after playing Dead Rising, or that you "Can't wait to beat that Big Daddy tonight" when you just bought a new BioShock game. The political world speaks Orwellian Newspeak, and so should you.
Mind Your Toxicity Levels
Trolling or sabotaging an online game can be a way to have fun or let of some steam. It's better to take it out your suppressed rage on someone on the internet than in real life, since no one knows who you really are and the consequences are minimal.
But being identified as a person doing something really toxic, like what we see in the video, can trashcan your career. Because everyone knows an asshole when they see one, being it in a video game or not. And don't trust your anonymity online; your in-game friends will probably sell you out if there's enough money involved. If you want success in politics, you have to be able to swallow your pride and make compromises. Something that doesn't come naturally to a lot of gamers.
No More Mr. Bad Guy
Political correctness is a thing, not so much in video games but very much in politics. The mere fact that you at one time made a chaotic evil Baldur's Gate character and did some terrible, terrible things to a bunch of innocent NPCs might be enough to harm your political reputation. If you're playing any kind choice-based game with character creation, make sure to always walk the path of righteousness to reflect how you would treat people in real life.
Play The Straight Edge Games
The public doesn't like controversial games like GTA, Manhunt or Doom. They are too violent to have a broad appeal, too sexually explicit to work with more god-fearing voters and sometimes just a bit too honest. Politics are about deception, and you don't want people to know, that you're playing the same game the Columbine Kids were playing or one that's actually illegal in several countries.
Weathering The Storm If Busted
If you ever get busted and have to admit that you're a gamer, don't worry too much. Just stick to some safe choices when asked about what games you like. Tell them you like Uncharted (strong-willed, handsome, witty, white male lead with a kind heart) and Tomb Raider (strong-willed, beautiful, witty, white female lead with a kind heart.) You'll project the qualities of Nathan Drake or Lara Croft while the second game proves that you're not a bigot.
When you come home, continue playing Postal 2 while laughing hysterically at the ignorance of mankind.
Only A Matter Of Time
In all seriousness though, we are already in an era where video games as a hobby isn't as stigmatized as earlier, and this will come to politics as well. In 10 years, the generation which grew up with Atari consoles will be in their 50's and ready to take over the reins of real power from the late baby boomers. In 20 years, the majority of politicians will be familiar with video games personally and probably have a childhood memory about it themselves.
So even though Ted Cruz among others had to hear a lot of shit for their limited love for video games, the idea of a gaming politicians isn't going away.
What are your thoughts on politicians also being gamers? Do you think we'll ever see a president who openly admits to play video games as a hobby? Frank Underwood excluded.
[Video credit: Mid or Meepo]