Editor's Note: After a night of restless sleep, I was visited by the three Spirits of America -- Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and Bo Jackson. They asked why I had forgotten so many other great American video game heroes and demanded I expand the list. Never one to want to disappoint, I have revised this article to reflect the wishes of Bo and his pals.
America's birthday is tomorrow and what better way to celebrate than by counting off a few of the most iconic All-American video game characters. What's that you say? You'd rather be kicking back a few colds ones with some friends while watching fireworks? Fine -- but you'll never know who's the best American video game hero.
11. Bill "Mad Dog" Rizer and Lance "Scorpion" Bean -- "Contra"
This classic arcade game put you in the boots of two commandos pitted against a terrorist organization who were wreaking havoc over the world. The solution to the problem -- running balls-to-the-wall, blasting everything in sight, upgrading your gun to the coveted spread shot and repeating. The American version traded terrorists for aliens but that didn't slow these guys one bit.
10. Frank West -- "Dead Rising"
The zombie bashing, photograph snapping, orange juice swilling hero of Capcom's "Dead Rising" put the can do American attitude into saving the world one mall at a time!
9. Little Mac -- "Punchout!"
We can't all be gun-toting, war-ending heroes. Little Mac proves that even the small guy has a chance to make it to the big time. With a little luck and a ton of determination, yes, even you can be world class champ!
8. Niko Bellic -- "Grand Theft Auto IV"
I know what you're thinking -- starting off with an immigrant mobster isn't American. You couldn't be more wrong. Niko is simply a misunderstood man struggling to obtain the most American of dreams -- big house, big car, big money. Leaving behind everything for a slim chance is the burden most of our forefathers had to bear and it's what makes America great. Niko comes to the Land of Freedom with lint in his pockets and climbs the social ladder until he's filthy rich.
7. President Michael Wilson -- "Metal Wolf Chaos"
Honestly, this entire list could be made up of historical and fictional video game Presidents. From George Washington ("Civilization," "Assassin's Creed 3" to Ronald Reagan ("Bad Dudes") to George Sears ("Metal Gear Solid 2") and John Henry Eden ("Fallout 3"), US Commander-in-chiefs have been thoroughly represented. However cool or popular these other Presidents may or may not have been is completely irrelevant because President Michael Wilson piloted his own Stars and Stripes speckled Air Force One warmech. He only gets points knocked off because his game is Japanese in origin.
6. John Marston -- Red Dead Redemption
What? Two Rockstar games? Yep -- my list; my rules. Also, I'm lazy. Much like his modern day counterpart at number 8, reluctant antihero, James Marsten is just a man who wants to leave his past behind him. Unfortunately for him, the past always comes back to bite and he's been thrust into some grisly work once again -- except this time it's for a morally ambiguous Government. "Red Dead Redemption" perfectly romanticized everything it meant to be a cowboy -- the freedom of the open plain, living off the land, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the east.
5. William "B.J." Blazkowicz -- Wolfenstein
This list wouldn't be complete without one of the most recognizable forefathers of first person shooters. Yep, B.J. has been blasting Nazi scum since all the way back in 1981 --when he was in an action stealth title called "Castle Wolfenstein." After id Software revitalized him ten years later in "Wolfenstein 3D," Mr. Blazkowicz has foregone stealth and opted for a much more direct approach. Time hasn't slowed him down much and he's just as popular as ever, even getting a new entry by Bethesda in "Wolfenstein: The New Order!"
4. Mr. Torgue -- "Borderlands 2"
A little known factoid is that Wrestling Legend/Real-life Cartoon, "Macho Man" Randy Savage had a baby with Rock Legend/Gun Nut/Real-life Cartoon Ted Nugent. They named him MISTER TORGUE AND IT WAS THE BEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE. Exploding onto the video game scene in his very own DLC for "Borderlands 2" Mr. Torgue challenged your badassitude in his Campaign of Carnage. How does this relate to the good ol' US of A? REASONS!!!
3. President Of the U.S.A. -- "Saints Row IV"
I'll let the fact that the irony of this being U.K. trailer soak in a few seconds.
Anyway, aliens have invaded and if the greatest American movie ever put to film -- "Independence Day" --has taught us anything it's when ugly xenos come a knockin' we knock back -- with a vengeance! Granted "Saints Row IV" isn't exactly available yet but that hasn't stopped me from placing this outrageous politician so close to the top. Also, the Saints POTUS is currently in a life or death struggle in our Battle Arena E3 Tournament and only voting will save him. You want to vote right? Or do you hate America?
2. The Boss -- "Metal Gear Solid 3"
Snake is the obvious choice but I'll let the fanboys fight over who they think deserves a spot more. Arguably the most important -- and self-sacrificing hero -- to have been introduced in the amazing prequel entry to the MGS series, The Boss proved that true patriotism is giving your all, even when that means dying. Those last few moments changed the course of Naked Snake's life forever, and the memory of The Boss's sacrifice haunted him ever since.
1. Liberty Prime -- Fallout 3
A 60 foot tall robot monstrosity that shouts blatant pro-American propaganda while throwing mini-nukes like footballs. Liberty Prime may have been created for a bygone era but that doesn't stop him from being the physical manifestation of the Spirit of America! Your disagreement to this being the number one spot is NON-NEGOTIABLE, COMMIE SCUM!