Independence Day is a strange holiday. It’s a day where unsupervised kids set fire to public property, fleets of firetrucks sing the song of their people, street beggars switch their cardboard scribbles from “really hungry” to “army veteran,” and more red meat is consumed than can possibly be healthy (or safe for the cow population of North America). It’s also a holiday that’s falsely dated, as the Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2nd — regardless, the 4th of July is still a day that represents freedom. And what better way to enjoy that freedom than to ignore all responsibilities and play video games until it hurts to turn away from the monitor? Here’s Hardcore Gamer’s top four games to play on Independence Day:
Duke Nukem 3D
Short of a John Mccain simulator, nothing screams ‘Murica like a buff, gun toting, sex-crazed maniac with more puns than a 40’s stand-up comic (Or a sit-down comic after he’s had a few — ba-dum-tiss!). Point is, if you’re looking to encapsulate the entirety of the United States into a single videogame it’d be the ass-kicking, arrogant and boisterous Duke Nukem. From its abundance of pop culture references, silly Pig Cops and women-capturing aliens, I wouldn’t be surprised if breaking the CD-ROM is some low-form of treason. There’s no man, fictional or otherwise, more American than Duke. Well, maybe Chuck Norris, but he’s busy selling Total Gyms and drinking gallons of water from the fountain of youth. Patriotic level: 8/10.
MLB 14: The Show
The only thing more American than baseball is blaming funny-voiced foreigners for all the worlds problems. It’s a national pastime that’s responsible for the strengthening of countless father and son relationships. It’s also a free-pass to get drunk, insult men that dwarf you in size, and treat public bathrooms like a dangerously rigged version of that one carnival game where you shoot water into a clown’s mouth until a balloon inflates. Point is, if you’re looking for a way to dabble in the most American sport of them all without leaving your couch, you can’t go wrong with The Show. The only worthwhile alternative would be to live vicariously through your son and slowly chip at his self-esteem with insults about his embarrassing physical limitations. Patriotic level: 7/10.
Assassin’s Creed III
What’s more American than a game about burning down entire villages of Native Americans, colonizing Massachusetts and senselessly butchering animals for profit? A game about all that and the Revolutionary War. While it’s certainly the least interesting Assassin’s Creed title (thanks to Connor the monotone bore), there’s no better way to sharpen up on your historical-chops than with some heavily rewritten and obscenely exaggerated lessons from a videogame. After all, fabrication of historical events is one of our nations proudest traits. Point is, reading isn’t as fun as slaughtering redcoats, skinning animals and chatting with Ben Franklin about the benefits of cougars (not the kind you skin). Patriotic level: 9/10.
Oregon Trail is a game that was developed to educate children on the struggle of early American settlers and their travels through the heartland. If that’s not American enough for you, you’re probably in the Tea Party. The problem is, Oregon Trail also delivered a very harsh reality: life back then was hard as f***. There’s no winning, and with its realistic hunting, wagons, trading and travel, it’s not so much a game as a pixelated time warp. One message has haunted me since 1996: “you have died of dysentery.” Point is, if you’re hankering for some good ol’ fashioned learnin’ and don’t want any paper cuts or hallway wedgies, settle in for an hour of depressing scenery and archaic diseases. Patriotic level: 7/10.
While our list is complete and should satisfy even the biggest lover of hot-dogs, guns, and political infighting, there’s always room for more. Here’s another three games to play in case you’ve already exhausted the ones above:
- Any “Tycoon” game, especially of the railroad variety. While enslaving the Chinese isn’t an option in-game, imagination goes a long way.
- Grand Theft Auto 4. Nothing spells America like immigrants going against their personal beliefs to survive in the big apple.
- 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. There are few things more American than watching 50 Cent going toe-to-toe with terrorists while his posse spurts bromoerotic one-liners.
Have a great 4th of July, and remember: don’t leave the house and enjoy fireworks. It’s dangerous and loud and the entertainment it provides is fleeting. Instead, ignore those text messages, phone calls, police sirens and screaming neighbors; pop open a cold soda, lather some french fries with enough ketchup to disguise what little vegetable flavor remained after frying, and launch a game that’ll remind you why America is a great nation to live in… and exploit through the sale of cheap flags and sparklers on every corner. Now, I have to get back to my fireworks stand.