July 4th seems to be the only day on which every US citizen gets a free pass to practice rampant nationalism and patriotic pride. The other 364 days of the year, we yell and curse at one another over political differences, but on this day we don’t even have the opportunity since we’re too busy choking ourselves on hamburgers and cheap beer.
What better way to celebrate this Bald Eagle Awareness Day than to recount the five characters in gaming history that most effectively summarize America? So go ahead. Set down your moldy lawn chair on the grass, light up a Roman candle*, and check out the folks who embody the red, white, and blue to become the most American game characters.
*Practice extra safety and common sense
5) Mike Haggar – Final Fight
The Mayor of Metro City represents a veritable trifecta of American ideals: pro wrestling, democracy, and vigilante justice. He is an incorruptible servant of the people who refuses bribes from rabid street gangs. They retaliate by taking his daughter. And if there’s one thing you don’t take away from a true, red-blooded American, it’s his family.
4) Sergeant Rex Power Colt – Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
In a world of neon lights and scan lines, Cyber-Commandos fight to keep an apocalyptic world in order. The shining star of these cybernetic soldiers is Rex Power Colt, who, despite being an outdated model, has enough patriotism running through his blood to take down a whole army of cyborgs and blood dragons, all in the name of the good old melting pot.
When our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, I like to think they were imagining a world where you could play a game and give the middle finger to your dead (traitorous) opponents with the press of a button.
3) Senator Steven Armstrong – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
The Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for its moral ambiguity. Big Boss and Solid Snake could both be considered terrorists, while “villains” like Revolver Ocelet and The Boss could be considered true patriots. This ambiguity does not extend to Senator Armstrong. He’s just a jackass.
Selecting a villain for one of these spots may be asking for angry comments, but Armstrong is American through and through. He works for the system, abuses it through corporate interests, and when all else fails, he goes out into the field armed with nanomachines and a new model of Metal Gear. All in the name of starting a new American Revolution. Just imagine what would happen if we gave Glenn Beck nanomachines. *Shudder*
2) President Michael Wilson – Metal Wolf Chaos
You are the 47th president of the United States. Your VP has led an insurrection against you and is now leading the Armed Forces in a reign of terror across the country. What do you do? Well the obvious solution is to jump into a red-white-and-blue mech and storm your way from sea to shining sea.
This is probably the most patriotic game ever made, which is strange because it only ever saw release in Japan. But seriously, you’ll want to look up some gameplay online, because who doesn’t want to see a fictional president annihilate his own military in the name of freedom?
1) The Statue of Liberty – GhostBusters II
No matter which version of GhostBusters II you play, there’s one level you can always count on being there: the one in which you control Lady Liberty herself. We all saw the movie. We all imagined how cool it would be to drive such an iconic American symbol with an NES Advantage controller. And even though it’s hardly a suitable replacement, the licensed games give us that opportunity.
Stomp across New York. Blast ghosts with the flames of freedom. If there’s anything more American than that, I might just overdose on my own unalienable rights.