What Makes American Games "American"?

Illustration for article titled What Makes American Games "American"?

This weekend was July 4, Independence Day. It's America's biggest national holiday. And it's got me thinking about American games — namely, as this post title indicates, what makes American games "American"?

Sure, the fact that Americans made them makes them American by default.

There are obvious games to point to, like Madden football. The series is huge in the United States, and players in other countries just do not geddit. That, perhaps, is because American football is largely played by Americans.


Another obvious game is something like the Gears of War franchise or the Call of Duty games.

Both Gears of War and Call of Duty are shooters (third-person and first-person), and Americans seem to hold a certain appreciation for guns. For better or worse, they are very much a part of the culture.

But saying that they are American simply because they feature guns is a gross oversimplification. Developers in other countries readily feature firearms in their games.

Illustration for article titled What Makes American Games "American"?

In defining American games, it's worth looking at games from other countries. British games, like the Fable titles or the Grand Theft Auto games, feature that wonderful, sharp British wit. Japan focuses on role-playing games that concentrate on things like character development and teamwork. The art style is often distinctively Japanese. And there are menus. Lots and lots of menus.

There are exceptions — endless exceptions. You can probably come up with a bunch right now of American games that either do not feel distinctly American or that transcend cultural boundaries. That doesn't mean these games are any less American or that the developers who made them are somehow un-American. It doesn't mean that at all.


Instead of littering the comments section with those exceptions, let us know what games are distinctly American and why. There has to be more than big dudes with guns. There has to.

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A little off topic but...

I am an American and the American love for guns will always astound me. I'm spending the summer in Texas selling hunting and fishing supplies at a sporting goods store. We have to sell an average of seven or eight guns a day. And in Texas - there is no wait! You can do an FBI criminal background check on someone in like two or three minutes and they can walk out with their gun in about twenty minutes.