Video games that bleed red, white and blue

By GYG Lounge Staff

Ah July 4th weekend. 

What’s more American than celebrating Independence Day by grilling food popularized in Germany, drinking crappy beer from a mega-conglomerate headquartered in Belgium, and lighting colorful explosives imported from China?

Not sure, but thanks to COVID-19 most of these beloved activities are cancelled. So the next best thing is to play video games that remind you of how epicly awesome ‘Murica is at being free.

Here is a list of games we recommend you play (that aren’t on everyone else’s list already) that are so patriotic, they could resurrect Teddy Roosevelt:

Duke Nukem Forever (2011)

Picked By Adam

“Those alien bastards are going to pay for shooting up my ride!”

Duke Nukem Forever is the embodiment of the badass American that can do it all.  Over the top explosions, American Banners flying untarnished, kicking field goals with the eyeball of a giant alien scum, and lets not forget – hot babes, lots of hot babes. Duke is your classic 80s man’s man –  he rocks the iconic action star flat-top haircut, a tight red tank top, grenade suspenders, and black jeans. Coupled with Duke’s well placed one liners, everything about him screams, “I AM the American Dream!”

You don’t fuck with Duke unless you got a deathwish.

Duke Nukem Forever was the last of the Duke Nukem franchise, and probably the most popular of the series with Duke Nukem 64 being a close runner up. In this game, America (and the world) is yet again at the mercy of the protagonist, Duke Nukem. He has to save the world from savage alien invaders seeking to conquer Earth and eliminate its inhabitants. Duke Nukem Forever features 14 different guns, 37 levels (plus another 14 from the DLC), a rideable US Flag colored RC car, and enough occasional hot babes to keep gamers constantly enthralled with this fast-paced action shooter.

The game was extremely over the top, but that’s why fans loved it. It’s packed with explosive combat, a hard rock soundtrack, shout-outs to capitalism, and all the blood, gore and guns you could ever ask for. Duke Nukem Forever screamed “MURICA!” as loud as a Bald Eagle rocking a star-studded Evel Knievel jacket riding a tomahawk missile into the sunset.

“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I’m all out of gum.”

Medal of Honor: Frontline (2002)

Picked by Alex

It’s easy to romanticize World War 2. All the subsequent wars America has fought in have become extremely unpopular. To bastardize and paraphrase a quote from The Dark Knight –  we started out as the hero, but stuck around long enough to become the villain.

But not with World War 2. We came in and saved the world (ignoring the fact that the Russians got to Berlin first). And that’s what Medal of Honor: Frontline is all about. The first-person shooter drops you into the Allied invasion of Normandy, where you’ll work your way through real World War 2 missions and ultimately foil Germany’s development of an advanced jet fighter.

What’s impressive about the first few games in the franchise is its historical accuracy. The original Medal of Honor (1999) game was released under the direction of Seven Spielberg, who wanted an educational experience for gamers about the war after releasing Saving Private Ryan (1998). The franchise started the industry trend of hiring military advisors and historians to the development team to ensure accuracy. 

Frontline hasn’t aged well compared to the later games in the series, and the aiming is pretty stiff, but at the end of the day, you’re killing Nazis. And what’s more American than killing Nazis?

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)

Picked by Joe

For a game made by a Japanese studio, the Metal Gear series has always had its finger on the pulse of modern America. While any game in the series would qualify for this list, it’s MGS2 that truly reflects the best and worst aspects of our country. It’s a divisive game, but that’s fitting because we are a divisive nation. 

Spoiler alert for a nearly 20-year-old game: In MGS2, America is secretly being run by a secret shadow government called The Patriots (who also happen to be AI). Their ultimate goal is to control the flow of information on the internet to hide their existence, and to ensure that public knowledge is under their control. It sounds like some ridiculous shit Alex Jones would make up, but it was surprisingly prophetic. The Patriots feared an overabundance of false information online, and anyone who knows an anti-vaxxer or Sandy Hook truther can understand why those fears were justified.

But the heroes and villains of Metal Gear Solid 2 are American, and Americans value freedom above all else (again, for better or worse). We are a country founded on revolution against an overreaching government, so of course Solid Snake and company aren’t gonna let our country be run by a bunch of tyrannical computers. Even if The Patriots have their best interests at heart, it’s not worth giving up their freedom. They don’t need their lives controlled. They need life. They need liberty. And they need scissors. 61!

Freedom Force (2002)

Picked by Spencer

A game often forgotten when we talk about isometric RPGs, Freedom Force is a throwback to the Silver Age of American comics and storytelling. 

The game throws you into the shoes of a veteran living in a fictional place named Patriot City. Things are peaceful in this beautiful, campy city, until you spot a suspicious figure you recognize plotting with a man from the USSR. Trying to eavesdrop, you are caught and injured before touching a memorial to the colonial Minutemen, which gives you powers and turns you into a hero known as the Minuteman.

Throughout this ridiculous, lovingly crafted game, you build up an ensemble of heroes as diverse as our own country, build bonds with your allies, and fight together to protect the United States from evil. Playing primarily as the Minuteman, you’ll be treated to quips reminiscent of 1950s patriotism. I thought that this might feel cringey now, but I played it recently and it honestly made me realize that the thing I love most about this country is how people from all walks of life can come together and work for a bigger cause than ourselves. Hell, you even fight against someone related to the Confederacy, which brings up notes of the climate we’re still fighting through today.

Red Dead Redemption 1-2 (2010, 2018)

Picked by Brian 

Both games follow cowboys as they ride through a developing America at the turn of the 20th century. There’s drinking, debauchery, gunfights … I could keep going on and on about how much this game screams America. Even the zombie DLC personifies the majority of Americans on a Monday morning.

But at the end of the day, what’s more American than riding around doing cowboy stuff with all your friends?

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