2020 is shaping up to be a crowded field for Democratic candidates. Within those dozens of faces and promises, some voters don’t see themselves represented. Tragically, gamers make up one of those demographics. While Bernie Sanders has made the performative step of joining Twitch, no one else has bothered to reach out.
Enter Ace Watkins.
Ace Watkins is a real human being. In no way is he an extension of the satirical games jokes website Hard Drive that is, itself, an extension of the satirical website The Hard Times. He accumulated 100,000 followers in his first month on Twitter and was almost immediately profiled by Newsweek. That’s why it is such a treat that Watkins and his campaign made time to sit down with us today.
Paste: Ace, what inspired you to run for President of the free world?
Ace Watkins: Well, as you know, America isn’t truly “free.” It’s free-to-start, but not free-to-play entirely. You can spend your own money to get a leg up, but true gamers grind on the free version for a long time to earn enough premium currency to unlock the things they want. I’ve been hard at work for years collecting as many diamonds as I can, and I’m excited to see what new skills and abilities I’ll gain access to once I spend them to unlock the President costume. But we need to make a version of America that is fun to play right from the get go.
Paste: What would you do to counteract the policies of the Trump administration?
Watkins: Donald Trump started off his campaign in 2016 by promising to run America like a business. This was obviously a failure. We need someone who is willing to run America like a videogame. I would start by parrying or blocking each one of Trump’s racist and unconstitutional pieces of legislation and then I would string together a series of light, medium, and heavy laws that culminate in my Executive Order super move.
Paste: Trump has blamed mass shootings on videogames. What videogame deserves the most blame for mass shootings?
Watkins: No videogame should be blamed for mass shootings. Seriously, there are so many reports and studies which prove that there is absolutely NO link between violent acts and videogames. Every single country on the planet has the same percent of videogame players and yet the United States has far more shootings per capita. So no, I do not think a single videogame is to blame for a single shooting. That being said, there are definitely a few frustrating levels in Baba Is You I could see inspiring a mass shooting.
Paste: Jesus Christ. Ok. Moving on… What was the best game of 1996?
Watkins: Without a doubt, Game 6 of the NBA Finals was the best game of 1996. The Bulls beat the SuperSonics and won the series 4-2. Michael Jordan was named MVP, which was well deserved and very exciting to watch. Super Mario 64 is a close second.
Paste: What’s the gamer chair of the POTUS going to look like?
Watkins: Red, white, and blue… and black.
Paste: The ESRB has failed America with its rating system. What rating system will your administration institute?
Watkins: The ESRB has become bloated and ineffective because they waste so much time debating what cartoon mischief and suggestive themes our kids can and cannot be exposed to. Under my administration, all games will be rated E for Everyone, because videogames are a human right.
Paste: Which LucasArts Star Wars game will you force to become canon again under your leadership?
Watkins: The last thing I want to do is to upset relations between the United States and LucasArts by imposing my own beliefs about the Star Wars canon on them. They have sovereignty and religious freedom to believe in midichlorians, Jar Jar, and anything else they want. What I will say is that, as President, I will absolutely maintain and strengthen relations with LucasArts. They are one of our most important strategic allies.
Paste: Do you support a repeal of the Electoral College?
Watkins: I do. The Electoral College is an inherently non-democratic function of our so-called democracy. I believe the popular vote should elect our presidents because if it worked for Everybody Votes Channel on the Nintendo Wii, then it can work for America, too.
Paste: Do you see America’s failures as backward compatible?
Watkins: Yes, in the sense that we might make the same mistakes over and over again if we don’t course correct. We need to stop looking to the past, to the 8-bit era of American politics, and start looking towards the future to see how we can innovate with the political hardware we have in 2019. For example, when Donald Trump says he wants to “Make America Great Again,” he fails to recognize that, for so many Americans, America was never “great.” That’s why I want to Make America Git Gud. Because leading our nation forward is going to be about hard work, grinding out the extra levels, and being the best version of ourselves so that we can face the final bosses that we’re coming up against. Enemies like mass unemployment, climate change, income inequality, student loan debt, and more. They make Dark Souls bosses look like Pokémon gym leaders.
Paste: PC gamers occasionally refer to themselves as the master race. What is, in your opinion, the actual master race?
Watkins: I think the viewpoint of PC Gamer Supremacists is hateful, ignorant, and illogical. At the end of the day, when you look past the superficiality of their hardware of choice, both PC Gamers and Console Gamers are part of the same species: Gamers. We need to stop squabbling over our imagined differences, remember our similarities, and come together for the betterment of all Gamerkind. Yes, this even includes Mobile Gamers.
Paste: Do you have a plan for tax cuts that will benefit the gamers of society?
Watkins: Our current tax code is needlessly complicated, which is why I plan to start over and model our financial system on that of a videogame. Goods should cost the same no matter what shopkeeper you visit, unless you have a piece of equipment whose description says you get a discount. Furthermore, when I’m President, the only tax code will be “rosebud,” which gives you 1,000 dollars immediately, no questions asked. You shouldn’t abuse that, though, or else you might get bored due to the lack of difficulty and set your house on fire just to keep yourself entertained.
Paste: Will you promise that no American will ever have to update a DirectX driver again?
Watkins: The DirectX lobbying group are maybe the most powerful special interest group in American politics, but it’s rarely discussed. Gamers lose an estimated 50 million hours of gaming time annually to DirectX driver updates. That’s time they can never get back and I feel deep sorrow thinking about it. It’s an incredibly hard problem, but having an honest national dialogue about corruption in the driver industry is the first step towards a solution.
Paste: If you are elected, will you promise to tell us whether aliens are real or not on your first day in office?
Watkins: Not only that, but I will also tell you whether Pokémon are real. I strongly suspect that they are.
Paste: Where do you think the population should protest-Naruto run next?
Watkins: Protest is a beautiful and inspiring expression of free speech, but the best way to make your voice heard as a young person in America is to Naruto run for local office.
Paste: Who is your League main?
Watkins: I get asked this all the time. Mains are clearly an important issue among voters, no matter what game. It’s clear that this is because everyone wants to feel represented. Everyone wants to come together over a shared identity that they can celebrate with pride. As President, it is my duty to pick a random character every time I play a game so that everyday Gamers know that I understand their circumstances. You couldn’t pay other politicians to play as Ice Climbers in Smash Bros. Ultimate, but I welcome the opportunity and the challenge to expand my worldview and acknowledge the privilege of higher tier characters.
Paste: Who is the most patriotic League main?
Watkins: All League mains are patriotic. There is nothing more American than choosing someone to represent you, whether it’s in the Top, Jungle, Middle, Bottom, or Support lanes.
Paste: Under a Watkins presidency, what vaporware title can we expect to see finished and released?
Watkins: After years of being stuck in development hell, I vow as President to finally release Medicare for All.
Paste: Does Ace Watkins stand for the national anthem?
Watkins: Yes. I always stand, remove my hat, and place my hand over my heart when I hear the Halo 2 title screen song.
Brock Wilbur is a writer and comedian from Los Angeles who lives with his wife Vivian Kane and their cat, Cat. He is the co-author (with Nathan Rabin) of the forthcoming book Postal for the Boss Fight Books series.