More of the Most American Games of All Time
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of video games.
Many years ago, GameSpot wrote up a list of the most American Games of All Time. But lots of new American games have come out in the intervening years, and there were a few notable omissions from that original list. So in the spirt of Independence Day, let's celebrate July 4 with a few more of the most American games of all time.
This quirky Japanese RPG about a group of friends traveling the world and fighting off an evil alien menace may not sound terribly American, but Earthbound is actually an overt representation of America. The story starts out in the small town America setting of Onett, with a main character who's primary equipment is a baseball bat and cap (America's favorite pastime, baseball!). Fast food hamburger places are located in almost every town and pizza delivery service is available everywhere. A remix of the Star-Spangled Banner provides the background music for one of the game's locations, and a Blues Brothers-like band headlines one of the game's music venues.
And that's just a sampling of the Americana found in this trippy, weird adventure. Earthbound goes to a lot of strange places thematically, but one of the more interesting is how it paints a reflection of America, both the good and the bad, from an outsider's point of view. - Justin Haywald
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a fantastic real-time strategy game that mixes solid gameplay with a campy sense of humor. The game’s plotline is ripped from the script of 1984’s Red Dawn--that fine work of American cinema. It's backed by a killer heavy metal soundtrack. And Texas-born Barry Corbin stars as the toothpick-chomping General Ben Carville. Red Alert 2 was a staple of my childhood, and I poured dozens of hours into taking back these great United States from the dreaded Soviets. Today, you can pick up the game as part of the Command & Conquer Ultimate Collection on Origin, and be sure to add on Mental Omega, a fan-made expansion that rebalances the game and adds on a ton of new units and strategies. - Maxwell McGee
Metal Wolf Chaos
The President of the United States is the lead character in the Japanese-exclusive Xbox game, Metal Wolf Chaos, which should automatically qualify it as the most American game of all time. As President Wilson, descendant of our 28th President Woodrow Wilson, you have to reclaim the states from the grip of your former second in command, Vice President Hawk, who manipulated the military to impose his reign on the American populace.
Wilson, ever the patriotic hero, busts out of the White House in a battlemech that's brimming with firepower, and he travels from coast to coast, fighting for the return of freedom and justice, including the re-abolishment of slavery. And, as you progress through Metal Wolf Chaos, you unlock new weapons and skins for your mech, including a paint job that consists solely of American flags. You can also unlock a rocket launcher that fires rockets in the shape of footballs that leave trails of streamers and fireworks in their wake. In other words: AMERICA. - Peter Brown
Assassin's Creed III
What's more American than learning about the American Revolution? Killing Redcoats while you're doing it. That's why Assassin's Creed III is one of the most American games of all time. You get educated about American heritage, both European and Native American, and you get a big dose of good ol' American sensationalism at the same time. The battle of Bunker Hill is interesting to read about, but it's even more entertaining to swing through the trees and single-handedly win the battle by assassinating a British officer. Who cares if the colonists didn't actually win the battle? Connor, the half-Native American free runner, wields a tomahawk like no one else can, and he uses it to rip through those villainous Redcoats.
The United States is great. Learn how it came to be by playing through the Revolutionary War from the perspective of an assassin. For a game made by a bunch of French and Canadian dudes, Assassin's Creed III bleeds USA. - Alex Newhouse
Let's go ahead and ignore the fact that Daytona USA literally contains "USA" in its title. That much is obvious. There's so much more about this 1993 arcade classic that embodies the spirit of our wonderful nation. I mean, just look at the lyrics to the intro theme song: "Daytona! Let's go away! Daytona! Weh hey hey!" Subtle? Of course not. But powerful? Emotional? Inspirational? Yes, yes, and yes! Just like America!
And once the game gets going, you're able to drive mighty, gas-guzzling stock cars through some of the most majestic locations in our fine nation. Places like Dinosaur Canyon, where dinosaurs were invented, or Seaside Street Galaxy, which has a bridge in it. But not just any bridge, mind you. A bridge that spans the gap between freedom and liberty! Also, one of the cars is named Wolf. - Shaun McInnis
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
I'm not an American myself, so my perspective may be a little skewed, but honestly, what could be a more American game than 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand? You play as 50 Cent, an American icon. He starts the game at a hip-hop concert--an iconic American musical genre. Fiddy celebrates his constitutional rights by unlocking a large assortment of larger guns, which he can fire sideways in slow motion because it's totally gangsta. And while searching for his lost crystal skull (and collectible posters of himself), he drives a gigantic humvee--fuel efficiency be damned. Happy July 4! - Dan Hindes
BioShock Infinite may not paint the rosiest picture of America, but this alternate history parable shows just what could've happened if the US had taken American exceptionalism to its most horrible extreme (and if we'd had the ability to build floating fortress cities and kill people with psychic powers).
Walking along the game's pristine streets early in the game perfectly encapsulates the innocence and patriotism of an American city in the 1900s. But the game, quickly and violently crosses into themes of racism, jingoism, and Manifest Destiny. The logo for the game, with iconography used by the game's ridiculously intolerant antagonist was even accidentally iappropriated by a Fox News segment on immigration. Infinite may not always show the parts of American history we want to remember, but it's a portrayal of our history nonetheless (plus interdimensional travel). - Justin Haywald
Anything we left out? Whether you hail from the US or not, what games embody America to you?
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email firstname.lastname@example.org