The CIA apparently rocked the gaming world this week by releasing a list of files found on a computer in his Pakistan hideout. From what I could be bothered to read, there were at least 47 or so files in the list, beyond which I sort of lost interest and went back to browsing for dog teepees.
If this release proves anything, it’s that Osama Bin Laden desperately needed to nominate a friend to delete all the dodgy shit on his computer before he died. I know I’ve made arrangements for my untimely death – don’t forget the disconnected hard drives Joe! The other thing this list definitely proves is that Osama Bin Laden was a full blown MLG gamer.
Everyone has probably experienced that point in their lives when the US military puts a price on their heads and they have to lay low in a nondescript Arabic compound. You get a lot of free time on your hands! What better way is there to use that time than to play video games? As such, there is 100% no doubt he is personally responsible for every one of those files. With that in mind, we can extrapolate from them all the weird shit he was rocking out to whilst taking a break from muttering incoherently into a camera, pacing around his compound and ruining long scruffy beards for the rest of us.
For the sake of the public interest I laboriously picked through the list and subjected the items within to a deep psychological and technological analysis from which I have pulled 10 game franchises we believe to be Bin Laden’s favourites:
1. Final Fantasy VII
You can see why Final Fantasy 7’s core themes resonate with Bin Laden. Not only is it one of the greatest games of all time but it follows AVALANCHE; a group of terrorists fighting it out in a post-industrial distopia controlled by malevolent capitalist forces. Shinra even has a president (George Bush Sr.) who’s son takes over early in the campaign (George Bush Jr.) which… I guess means Barret is sort of Saddam Hussain and President Obama is Sephiroth? Hmm.
2. Pokemon Red & Blue
Osama definitely spent hundreds of hours levelling up his chosen team of Pokemon. Not only are they a great time sink but he was probably – nay – DEFINITELY into the anime show as well. It’s not clear if he got the inspiration to start al-Qaeda from Team Rocket or not but I think it’s safe to assume so. Sadly, we have no way of knowing what his favourite Pokemon were but I have a sneaking suspicion that Voltorb and Electrode would rate highly on his list.
3. Grand Theft Auto 3
What better way to let off a little steam than to load up a copy of Grand Theft Auto and let loose on some virtual American pigs? It’s a certainty GTA was a stable of the “Emir”s gaming catalogue. That said, he wasn’t a big fan of music… something about it being immoral or, heck, I don’t know. He’s got quite a long Wikipedia entry and I was just skimming it.
He probably stuck with Chatterbox FM and KChat either way.
4. FIFA Football
It’s a little known fact that Osama was actually a bit of a Bin ‘Lad’en, by which I mean he was obsessed with masculinity, loved football and was rampantly homophobic. Football wise, he was an Arsenal fan in the early ’70s and used to play regularly. He probably had to rely on the virtual experience to get his kicks when he moved back to the middle east, which is why he absolutely played FIFA. No doubt about it.
5. Animal Crossing
Osama was one of the few who truly understood the subtext of the Animal Crossing franchise: Capitalism is inherently immoral and can only trap its subjects in a cycle of debt and economic ruin. Animal Crossing serves as a potent metaphor for the systemic traps of the capitalist system. To Bin Laden, Tom Nook served as the ultimate example of American hubris – to the point that he reportedly put a jihad on his violent murder. Unfortunately much of Bin Laden’s rhetoric stemmed from his nutty belief that the American economy was controlled by Jews, not Racoons, so perhaps Animal Crossing wasn’t a perfect analogy after all.
6. Barbie Horse Adventures
He loved horses. That’s not even a joke. He really did like horses; specifically black stallions. That’s weird right? I think it’s weird. I also sort of think it’s a shame he didn’t live to play Red Dead Redemption. Man, the horses in that game are great.
7. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Flight simulators were probably his favourite genre of game: Osama seems to have had practically every flight sim on the market at the time. It’s not really clear why he liked them so much, I guess we’ll never really know.