Each week, the EGM Staff bring you The Fast Five—in which we choose a topic related in some way to the week’s news, and five editors pick their top answer to the question.
Here in the United States of America, it’s the 4th of July. Independence Day. America’s Birthday. The day that we celebrate the creation of our great nation by skipping work, grilling meat, and—at least for the EGM crew—kicking back to play some video games. However, on this special day, we can’t just play any old games—we need to play games that remind of us apple pie, baseball, and freedom.
What are our picks for the most freedom-loving, red-blooded American games out there? Once you’ve read our responses, let us know your answer in the comments below!
Metal Wolf Chaos
I know there may be some blasphemy in my nomination for the most American game being one from a Japanese developer, but given that my choice comes from From Software—the development studio now famous for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls—I think they’re worthy of a little temporary citizenship. In Metal Wolf Chaos, you play as Michael Wilson, descendant of Woodrow Wilson and current President of the United States. Your arch enemy? Richard Hawk—Vice President Richard Hawk—who has decided that he wants to take control of the good ole US of A. To stop him, you jump into a giant militarized robot and start single-handedly liberating American cities one by one from Hawk’s control, beginning with Washington, D.C. and the White House. The good? The story of an ass-kickin’, robot-pilotin’ President was so Awesomerican that EGM proclaimed Michael Wilson to be the Top Videogame Politician in issue #234. The bad? Metal Wolf Chaos is one of the most American games ever released and was built upon one of the most American systems ever released—the original Xbox—and yet it’s never come out in America. That, my friends, is un-American.
Just look at that above image, my fellow Americans. Doesn’t it make you proud, whether you’re from the cornfields of Nebraska, the cheese-infused farms of Wisconsin, or the hipster-filled streets of Portland? This is what our kindly neighbors across the Pacific think we are: buff, blue-eyed, badass action heroes who’ll eradicate the zombie threat (and, while they’re at it, nefarious pharmaceutical conglomerates) by any means necessary—all while somehow simultaneously looking like suave cover models. And don’t you dare ever let them think differently. Resident Evil is the epitome of American action-movie excess, and the original game even included cheesy live-action segments that wouldn’t have been out of place on the USA Network circa 1996. When foreign tourists visit America, this is the kind of devil-may-care swagger that they expect to find. Don’t disappoint them.
Sure, Bad Dudes might have been developed by the Japanese, but no other act of foreign pandering so accurately captured what made 1980s America the greatest country on earth. I mean, it’s a game about two white guys with ridiculously macho names (Blade and Striker) wearing sleeveless T-shirts and hitting the mean streets to rescue President Ronnie from a bunch of dirty terrorist ninjas. Plus, the first boss hails from the USSR, and I can’t think of anything more American than punching a communist in the face. Oh, and when you do finally save Reagan, he doesn’t bother rewarding you with a medal or cushy ambassadorship to Tahiti. Nope, he invites you out to eat hamburgers. Somewhere, a bald eagle is crying because they never made a sequel.
Despite being developed by Swedes and scripted by a Brit, Syndicate (the 2012 shooter) itself is America on adrenaline. I mean, this is a shooter that spends most its time bouncing you back and forth between New York City and Los Angeles—arguably our two most name-brand cities—in a 2069 world in which mega-corporations define national boundaries and rule in place of governments. Said mega-corporations, like Eurocorp (admittedly not the most USA of names) use cutting-edge advancements like the iPhone-replacing DART 6 bio-chip to keep the masses fat and happy. Technological privilege, as always, is a form of oppression. For the 57 percent of the population that chipped and linked to their preferred corporation (read: enslaved,) everything is sunshine and funnel cakes. The remaining 43 percent, however, are locked out of an “enlightened” society like second-class citizens. This is also a game about freedom and choice, insomuch as you have neither. Severe social disparities and the patriarchal rule of corporate overlords is the only America I’ve ever known, so it’s hard not to feel right at home in Syndicate!
Gears of War
Being from the other side of the pond I have a unique insight into what makes a game truly American. After a long, hard think, it just had to be the “Dudebro” phenomenon, and what game screams dudebro more than any other? Gears of War. It’s so American that I’m shocked Marcus, Dom, Baird, and the rest of the gang didn’t just down weapons halfway through a level, crack open a cold beer, kick back, and watch some football (the American kind). Nothing says “America” like sawing an alien (Locust) in half with a chainsaw mounted on an assault rifle, before fist bumping/back slapping your blood- covered, freakishly huge ally whilst making some witty one-liner. I hope you enjoy your holiday, my American friends.