Bernie Sanders Has A Twitch Channel, Which Games Should He Stream?
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) Is For The Gamers
Senator Bernie Sanders (or his campaign staff) just created an official Twitch account--verified and everything. His chat log seems to be flooded even though there are no streams or videos yet. However, the campaign's digital communications director Josh Miller-Lewis stated that the Twitch account (like YouTube and Facebook) is intended to be a platform for live campaign updates and discussions, "tapping into an audience where there’s not a lot of political content already." While this doesn't inherently include streaming games, it's not stopping us from conjuring up ideas of how Sanders could capitalize on his bid for the presidency.
Sanders recently jumped into the discussion of games industry unionization via Twitter as well; he declared support for the organization efforts of Game Workers Unite and said, "The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union." This of course aligns with his positions on labor issues, but now he has video games on the mind.
To be clear, this is not an endorsement of the Senator, but he is the second candidate to have a Twitch page (the first being fellow Democratic candidate Andrew Yang), so we're going to take a moment to envision his potential path as an influencer. Whether it be somewhat serious or utterly ridiculous, we put some thought into the 10 games Bernie Sanders should stream on his official Twitch channel.
This is probably the lowest hanging fruit. What better government simulation game than the latest entry in the Democracy series? Its tagline is literally, "Do YOU have what it takes to run a country?" If Sen. Sanders can't prove it to us in a simulation live on stream, how can we trust him with the highest office in the United States?
Really though, it'd be fascinating to get the long-time Senator's take on all the factors and situations that Democracy 3 throws at you, because it can get down to some nitty-gritty details. He'd probably also point out inaccuracies or shortcomings of the game's systems as it relates to labor laws and drug legalization--which lead to some disingenuous results--one of its key criticisms.
Another easy pick, Tropico 6 is all about managing a government. The small island nation you govern in Tropico 6 isn't exactly a one-to-one representation of the United States of America, but it would be interesting to see how Sanders reacts to the trials and tribulations of El Presidente, what he thinks of the game's take on colonialism, and how much time he spends investigating the day-to-day lives of his citizens. We're also curious what jokes he would laugh at.
Two Point Hospital
We all know Sen. Sanders is a major proponent of universal healthcare, so wouldn't it be fun (if a bit idiosyncratic) to watch him run a wacky for-profit hospital empire in Two Point Hospital? Yes, this is a lighthearted management sim--though its actual management is quite deep--but we could see Sanders discussing the American healthcare system over the backdrop of a hospital worker vacuuming ghosts. In all seriousness, it would be interesting to see his interpretation of a management sim about hospitals in a country that could really use a less capitalist approach to healthcare.
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
Civilization VI's Gathering Storm expansion, which adds a climate system to the strategy game, is all about how human activity affects the natural world. Climate change is perhaps the biggest issue we face as a species, and Gathering Storm forces you to think carefully about how your early-game choices will affect the climate as the game progresses. Could Bernie use this to discuss the current climate crisis and what America could be doing to literally avert complete disaster? Possibly. Would the chat encourage him to bait Gandhi? Also likely.
You Are Jeff Bezos
You Are Jeff Bezos is a text-based examination of the shocking amount of wealth accumulated by the Amazon CEO. It has a Kafka-esque setup and a seemingly simple goal, to spend all of Bezos' money. One run only takes a few minutes, and while the game has an air of comedy to keep it from getting too depressing, it does shed light on just how much $156 billion could buy. At the very beginning of the game, there's only one thing that's too expensive, even for the richest man in the world: paying off Americans' $1.5 trillion in student debt.
In short, You Are Jeff Bezos is not just enlightening--it's a fantastic tool to illustrate what extreme wealth means in concrete terms. Sanders, who is notoriously tough on Wall Street, could use the game as a jumping-off point to discuss his tax and education proposals with a potentially new audience.
This might be a deep cut, but Fortune Street (aka Itadaki Street) is basically Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii's take on Monopoly. You roll dice, buy and develop property, and accumulate wealth, but what makes Fortune Street different is that you can buy and sell stocks on blocks. Nothing quite like the Mario and Dragon Quest universes colliding in a good ol' game of competitive capitalism.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Sanders has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, which makes everyone's favorite dad-based dating simulator an obvious pick. The senator and presidential candidate would do well to pick such a popular game to help boost his Twitch presence, and we think he'd generally have fun creating a dad and experiencing this funny, surprisingly emotional tale with the American people.
Final Fantasy VII
If you can recall, Final Fantasy VII really kicks off by starting a revolution. Cloud, Barrett, Tifa, and comrades of AVALANCHE are out in Midgar to disrupt the corrupt Shinra Inc. and crack down on its exploitation of Mako energy. Shinra even goes as far as framing AVALANCHE by killing innocent people of the Sector 7 slums and manipulating the media to place the blame on them.
It's literally about trying to take down an evil corporation and stopping it from destroying the environment. Many like to call AVALANCHE an eco-terrorist group, but I like to think of them as motivated activists. I'd like to get Bernie's take on all this, but also how he feels about 100-hour JRPGs.
You can't really top MatPat hooking Pope Francis up with a copy of Undertale, but a close second would be someone doing the same for Bernie. In some seriousness, it'd be interesting to see Sen. Sanders' interpretation of Undertale's underlying themes of mercy, empathy, and social class, especially as it relates to his overall message and positions throughout his career (should he follow the pacifist route). Also, progression through Undertale's story is in the player's hands, which would give us a pretty good indication of who Sen. Sanders really is.
Hitman 2 (Vermont level, specifically)
Hitman 2 can be a difficult, stressful time, but if there's one thing Sen. Sanders would appreciate about the game is its recreation of a Vermont suburb. We can confirm that the level Whittleton Creek closely resembles the vibe of real-life Chittenden County, which encompasses Burlington, VT where Sanders was once mayor. I wonder what he thinks of all those boats parked at people's houses, and what disguise he'd go for to infiltrate someone's backyard birthday party.
Bonus: Persona 5
I don't want to spoil Persona 5 for those who haven't played it, but the game makes a fairly clear statement against nationalism and demagoguery. Also, Persona 5 features a Confidant route with a politician by the name of Toranosuke Yoshida, colloquially known as Anime Bernie Sanders. Oh yeah, and speaking of Jeff Bezos (check entry number five), there's an entire Palace dedicated to the Phantom Thieves taking down a greedy CEO who exploits his workers to maximize profit.