Why Saints Row Is The Most Patriotic Video Game
Posted on Wednesday, July 3 @ 14:00:00 Eastern by Nicholas Tan
Independence Day is arriving soon, as if you couldn't tell from the trailer above, and I can't wait to spend the entire day playing what I believe is the most patriotic video game series.
Indeed, the patriotism of Saints Row is rather blatant and over-the-top, exactly what it should be. Case in point, those who pre-order the upcoming "Commander in Chief Edition" of Saints Row 4 will receive the following items: the 'Merica gun, a mini-gun attached to a rocket launcher attached to a mcahine gun attached to a flame-thrower; an Uncle Sam suit, replete with stars-and-stripes top hat; and a Screaming Eagle jet in the shape of an Actual Giant Eagle. It might as well be called the Stephen Colbert DLC Pack.
And let's not forget that in the upcoming Saints Row 4, you get to be the President of the United States who shoots a red-white-and-blue gun cannon at invading aliens, right after choosing to sign one of two bills: End World Hunger or Fuck Cancer.
But look beyond the silliness, the exaggeration, and the firepower and there's a dark and twisted sense of humor about patriotism. This isn't exclusive to Saints Row 4 but a message inherent to the entire franchise starting with Saints Row 2. In a word, it's about one thing that is truly American: excess.
It's about excess gun violence. Second Amendment Rights and all that. It's the fantasy of being able to hold a ridiculous amount of guns and ammo (perhaps even infinite bullets) and frivilously murder any random stranger on the street. Or if you so desire, shooting pedestrians or yourself out of The Genki Cannon (video below) to John Phillip Sousa's "Stars And Stripes Forever," replete with fanfare and fireworks. All comically, of course.
It's about excess materialism and being able to do whatever the hell you want. Steal any car you want. Upgrade said car however you want. Buy any business you want. Purchase any clothes and jewelry you want. Gather as many whores as you want. Watch as many strippers as you want. Have as many cribs as you want. Throw money at anything and you can probably own it.
It's about excess celebrity, branding everything with Saints on it and selling it to the masses who want to be your number #1 fan before shooting that person in the face. I even have a Saints Flow energy drink sitting on my very table. It's about doing as much crime as you want, but being such a gangsta and such a celebrity that you can get away with all of it.
It's about excess immediacy, excess cursing, excess explosions, and most of all, excess fun. In real life, I'm about the most sarcastic prick on American exceptionalism, and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed blasting through Columbia in Bioshock Infinite.
But when I play any Saints Row game, I stop caring. It perfectly encapsulates what I hate most and what I love most about American culture both at the same time. I do everything I've always wanted, anything that makes me feel as satisfied and homely as apple pie. My awareness of the dangers of excesive patriotism meld into the deepest recess of American individualism.
Saints Row is a satire on the American dream, and it's all fun and fucked up.
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