Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar Games | 2008
"Perhaps here things will be different."
Sorry, Niko. According to the GTA universe, America is no better than whatever poverty, war and bad fashion-stricken Eastern European country it is you came from. Within days of hopefully stepping off the boat with an optimistic gleam in his eye, Niko has been forced into theft, corruption and murder to survive. Characters are constantly lamenting the fact that Liberty City is "just like the Old Country." Money is readily available, but only for those willing to sell their souls.
The American Dream may be the overarching theme of GTA IV... but not in a good way.
Metal Gear Solid series
Konami | 1998-2008
The US government as a puppet organization controlled by a select few? Check. Scathing stance on nuclear disarmament? Check. The flow of information controlled through the media and government? Check. And let’s not forget defecting agents playing havoc with US foreign policy. Or that every military soldier is a disenfranchised pawn following orders. Yes, look past the anime weirdness and you’ll find one of the most satirical series’ on the market as it pertains to war, politics and the world at large.
Traffic Software | 2004
Originally designed as a ballistics contest to see how close you can get to pull off the most impractical one-man assassination in history, JFK Reloaded is essentially a game that enables you to execute the former US president. Playing as Lee Harvey Oswald from the Texas Book Depository, you can fire off shots to kill John F Kennedy, his wife or even Texas Governor John Connally. Hell, disrupt the entire motorcade if you want! You’re the assassin in this actual murder simulator.
BlackSite: Area 51
Midway | 2007
On the surface, BlackSite: Area 51 is another generic alien shooter. Dig deeper - or merely be one of the few to actually play the game - and you'll discover a none-too-subtle political allegory.
The US government lies to its people about the extraterrestrial threat. Your squad mates question orders and damn their politicians. Real and recent controversies like Abu Ghraib, Walter Reed and Hurricane Katrina inspire the story and missions take their titles from infamous incidents like George W. Bush's "Mission accomplished" banner. Using the President's own words against him? Blasphemy!
American McGee’s Bad Day LA
Enlight | 2006
Despite being created by a guy whose name is “American,” this is a shitty game disguised as political satire. Bad Day LA is what happens when terrorists, earthquakes, tsunamis, zombies and gangs all come together in the worst day LA has seen in two years (har har). Playing as a homeless black stereotype, you’ll meet up with all kinds of fear-mongering kooks in what feels like a MAD TV skit that lasts for 12 hours. Who wants tired swipes at Homeland Security, George W. Bush or Arnold Schwarzenegger in their game? No one? Hello, is this thing on?
July 4, 2008