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"I don't have a console ... because if I had one, I would use it far too much," says the Texas Republican

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May 29, 2015 11:40 PM

Ted Cruz has a confession to make. He’s a closet geek – of the video game variety.

In a new interview with The Daily Beast, the Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate admits that he has a secret video game addiction so severe that he won’t even allow himself a console.

“I don’t have a console, mostly as a time management tool, because if I had one, I would use it far too much,” he said in the interview posted Thursday.

Cruz’s favorite games at the moment are the tower defense games “Plants vs. Zombies” and “The Creeps!” and the popular puzzle game “Candy Crush,” on which he claims he’s reached the 217th level.

The Texas Republican, who announced his bid for the 2016 presidency on March 23, has been a gamer for most of his life.

He chalks his obsession up to a generational phenomenon.

“I was a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. I had a Nintendo, an Atari,” Cruz said. “I still remember the Christmas we got our first ‘Pong’ game.”

His favorite games at his childhood arcade were “Galaga,” “Space Invaders” and “Centipede,” he added.

Cruz, 44, carried his love of video games into college and later law school. David Panton, his roommate at both Princeton and Harvard Law, recalls pulling all-nighters with Cruz, playing “Super Mario Brothers” and Japanese fighting games.

“We would spend many hours playing video games, often until the sun came up. In reality, Ted was a much better player than I was – he beat me in everything – but I think I was sufficiently competitive that he felt somewhat challenged,” Panton told The Daily Beast. “I’m a far better video game player today as a result of Ted Cruz.”

Try as Cruz may to keep his video game addiction at bay, it crept into his comments about government and public policy at a Foreign Policy Initiative forum in Washington, D.C. in December, when he said, “There are also concerns from the perspective of national security. No administration has used drones as aggressively as has the Obama administration. And I’m worried about what I would call video-game warfare.”

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One place where his passion for video games is always welcome is at home with his two young daughters.

“I play with my daughters,” Cruz told The Daily Beast. “One of the fun things that I do with Caroline and Catherine is we get on the iPhone or the iPad and play games. Drives my wife crazy. She doesn’t like it, but both girls like to curl up and play games.”

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