Gaming

4 Real-Life Dictators Who Were Also Gamers

Look, holding a populace in thrall and the world in the icy grip of fear is a really hard job. I mean, it's a lot easier when you're a raving psychotic bastard because insanity is like Red Bull when it comes to mustering the energy to bomb things and imprison dissidents. Still, when the day is done those people need to relax, and what better way to do it than to crack open an ice cold video game?

Granted, most dictators are not gamers. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have both come down on games hardcore in the past. In their defense, though, a lot of first-person shooters have had levels where they get toppled or killed, so we're going to let that slide. Saparmurat Niyazov, a world "leader" so terrible that he makes every crappy middle manager you've ever answered to look like Woodrow Wilson in comparison, banned all video games in Turkmenistan during his reign, as well as libraries, facial hair, opera, car radios and makeup because he couldn't tell the difference between men and women when they wore it. No, I did not make that last one up.

There are at least a few autocrats that like a good game, though. Let's meet them.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner