Video Game Review: Presidential Drone Hit List – Satire

By Barb Weir

Presidential Drone Hit List makes you work to find the people you’re supposed to kill, but the job of doing so is relatively easy and without risk.

The Good

-Large variety of targets and theatres of operation
– Multiple tasks: gather intelligence, identify potential targets, get approval, assassinate
– Quick learning curve; doesn’t require nearly the skills of an on-board pilot
-No cost: the CIA teaches and pays you to play
-You never run out of targets; killing one enemy creates many more
– No need for a declaration of war

The Bad

– Waiting for the target to be approved is sometimes boring
– Beyond the explosion itself, you never get to see your kill up close
-You are sworn to secrecy and only get to share your kills with a few co-workers
– You are not allowed to question policy

Presidential Drone Hit List (PDHL) is a big improvement over its forerunner Carpet Bombing from 40,000, and later Precision Smart Bomb.  Truth be told, the latter was not always precise or smart, and both of those editions required a declaration of war or equivalent against the country in which the killing takes place.  While PDHL still cannot be used against major powers, it has almost unlimited potential for assassination with impunity in other locations.

Drone operatorOne of the biggest improvements, however, is that PDHL can be played from a comfortable home or office at any time and from anywhere in the world.  Unlike either of its predecessors, there is no need for years of training or worrying about G forces while strapped in a cockpit, or the possibility of being attacked by surface-to-air missiles.  As a result, the user gets a sense of omnipotence over human life that is a real high and hard to replicate in any other game.

PDHL has proven so popular that it is now competing with Black Ops, which had been experiencing increased sales as a result of its new polonium option.  For years, Black Ops was the only choice for players interested in individual assassinations, but now PDHL is encroaching in a big way.

There are, however, still some bugs in the program.  Hitting the wrong target and killing unintended people are the big ones, as with earlier editions.  The designers were apparently so anxious to begin killing that they gave scant attention to these concerns.  On the other hand, PDHL certainly enables a lot more assassinations, which were almost unknown before the George W. Bush administration.  Unfortunately, the user never gets the visceral experience that one finds in Enhanced Interrogation or Extraordinary Rendition, which still have a place in every collection.


In order to get the largest number of kills in the shortest time, play PDHL on Tuesday afternoons, Washington time.  This is because the President meets with his advisers on Tuesday mornings to approve the week’s hit list, which gives the player first chance at the new targets.


CIA/DOD version of General Atomics UAV Control Systems

ESRB Rating

MP (for mature psychopaths)

– Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer and human rights activist in Northern California. This article was contributed to

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