July 4th is Independence Day, here in the good old US of A, and while it is customary to spend the evening eating hamburgers and watching fireworks shows, there really isn't any prescribed way to spend the day. Some people might decide to go see a movie or a baseball game, others may choose to hang out by the pool or go play a round of golf. All great options, certainly. But what can you do if it happens to be raining, or you just don't feel like stepping out into the sweltering summer heat?
Why not spend time catching up on some great games? Better yet, why not play ones that would allow you to pay tribute to the holiday and/or America itself? Here is a list of a few such options:
BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam) (Irrational Games, 2013)
What better way to celebrate American Independence than by shooting a killer robotic likeness of George Washington in the face? (sarcasm) While most of the citizenry of Infinite's floating city of Columbia may not embody the ideals that America stands for, there is no denying their sense of patriotism. Indeed, it is difficult (if not impossible) to think of a game that has more fireworks, flags, and American symbology than BioShock Infinite.
Assassin's Creed III (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Steam) (Ubisoft, 2012)
While it goes without saying that the Assassin's Creed games are purely works of fiction, they do offer the somewhat unique experience of intermixing that fiction with actual historical events and places. Assassin's Creed III takes place leading up to and during the events of the American Revolution. As a bonus, the game even offers a downloadable side story, set in an alternate version of history, where a corrupt George Washington has declared himself king of America, and the hero is sent to kill him. (What's with all the George Washington hate?)
Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam) (Bethesda, 2008)
Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic Action/Adventure/RPG set amongst the ruins of a bombed-out Washington DC. Some of the patriotic activities you can take part in include visiting the remains of famous landmarks (like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the United States Capitol), stealing the Declaration of Independence (from a robot programmed to think he is one of the signers), and, in the downloadable story, Broken Steel, liberate the city from enemy forces with the assistance of a giant combat robot named Liberty Prime.
Need For Speed: The Run (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) (EA, 2011)
Need For Speed: The Run was one of two 2011 entries in the long-running racing franchise. It was also a love letter to America. In a sort of reversed-route homage to Vanishing Point and the Cannonball Run, the plot of the game has you racing across the country from San Francisco to New York City. All of the amazingly varied cities and landscapes you travel through on your speedy journey east are brought to life with great attention to detail. While the story itself may have been, at times, tedious and uninspiring, the setting was simply incredible.
MLB: The Show (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita) (Sony, 2007-2015)
You cannot celebrate all things American without baseball. Baseball is America's pastime. It is a sport that can trace it's origins here, all the way back to 1846. And it has been going strong ever since. It is a part of our consciousness and our identity. Nearly every major city in the country has a team, and a few even have two. Baseball is one of the most important parts of summer and there are a number of games that are actually played on July 4th (and then followed by fireworks).
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam) (Infinity Ward, 2009)
The second chapter of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare trilogy sees a war break out between Russia and the United States, here, on American soil. The invasion kicks off with Russian paratroopers dropping in around an average-looking American neighborhood. It is an unsettling image that is strongly reminiscent of a famous scene in the '80s movie Red Dawn.
As in the movie, the heroes have to do what they can to defend their home from the Russian aggressors. A little later on in the game, it is discovered that the enemy has succeeded in capturing the White House, and the player must engage in an all-out battle to retake it. Liberating the White House from foreign invaders definitely ranks high on the patriotism scale.
What about you? What games just scream America to you? Which ones did I fail to include in this list? Please share them in the comments.