‘The American Dream’ Parodies US Gun Culture, Launching This Week at a Key Moment in Gun Rights Debate


The American Dream is set to launch on March 14th, and the moment, most unfortunately, couldn’t be more timely. The game’s gun-fueled gameplay takes US gun culture to the extreme, examining a world where babies are born packing heat and guns are the answer to everything. In the wake of a string of tragic mass shootings in the US, the nation is embroiled in debate, pitting the loss of innocent life against the constitutional right to bear arms. At the same time, part of that conversation has seen renewed finger pointing at violent video games as part of the problem.

Having started development back in 2016, The American Dream launches this week, March 14th, on PlayStation VR, SteamVR, and Oculus Rift, priced at $20. The game’s new launch trailer gives an idea of how it takes gun culture to a comedic extreme, and shows “just how simple it could be to live American life to the fullest, where guns are an integral part of being a good and patriotic American and can be used for familial bonding, cleaning the house, preparing delicious meals, dancing, gardening, fine dining, delivering sweet newborn American babies and so much more.”

Developer Samurai Punk promises “more than 20 heartwarming, pulse-pounding, brain tingling, action-packed stages—each featuring a key moment in the average American life. For every task you encounter in your life chock full of Freedom™, there is a gun that can help—from pistols to tactical sporting rifles, you’ll get to try them all.”

A deft hand is required to navigate the fine line between commentary and offense, especially when the backdrop is painted with real blood. In many ways, the game’s portrayal of US gun culture is funny, but, with three major mass shootings in the US in the last six months alone, also strikes a number of decidedly not funny chords.

Image courtesy Samurai Punk

For one, America’s debate about gun rights has reached a fever pitch that hasn’t been seen in some time. Gun rights in the US have been historically very difficult to change because, to an extent, the right to own guns is protected in the country’s constitution, and powerful lobbying groups work hard to that right. In the wake of recent shootings, the renewed calls for gun rights reforms seem to be gaining more steam that in the recent past, but the debate about solutions to mass shootings rages on.

Part of that debate has naturally been focused around answering the question “why do mass shootings happen?” Violence depicted in video games has resurfaced as one area of blame among some. To explore that notion, President Donald Trump recently hosted a meeting on the topic, though was criticized for not inviting academics who study the alleged link between violence and video games. The White House uploaded an unlisted video to YouTube titled ‘Violence in Video Games’ which showed violent exceprts from popular games. Surely footage from The American Dream would have fit right in, even though the context of the game as satire would have been lost. The violent video game video and its contextless implications has struck a chord with gamers who have overwhelmingly downvoted the video.

One of the common rebuttals against violence in video games is that they are protected as a form a free speech, and are also an important expressive medium. Indeed, it’s the free speech protection that allows games like The American Dream to parody important topics and help foster discussion about them.

And one, perhaps unintentional, element of The American Dream is a revelation of what US gun culture looks like to outsiders. The game’s Melbourne, Australia based studio, Samurai Punk, are offering up an external perspective for all to see; a depiction through the eyes of another can sometimes be more helpful than just looking in the mirror.

In the end, the game appears to be just a handful of fun shooting mini games for VR, but its release at this particular moment could hardly be considered without looking at the broader picture. We’ll find out if and where it fits into the discussion (and whether or not it’s worth playing) when it launches on Wednesday.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • brubble

    MERICA!!!!! sorry had to be said.
    Id love to see/play this one.

    • Sonja

      Gℴogle is offereing every one $97 per-hr to do some small tasks off a home computer .. Labor only for few time and fun greater time with your friends . Anyone can catch this easy job!!last Wednesday I bought a new Infiniti after I been getting $7017 past four weeks .it’s certainly the easiest-work but you could now not forgive yourself if you don’t try it.!oh641r:==>> http://GoogleBlogWorkFromHomePartTime/make/$98/perhour ♥i♥v♥♥q♥♥q♥♥♥b♥♥j♥♥♥f♥j♥♥♥p♥♥m♥u♥p♥♥e♥♥♥y♥i♥♥v♥♥♥a♥♥♥i♥f♥♥m♥r♥♥t♥g♥♥t♥♥♥t:::::!yh1001q:otnrrjs

    • Seth Hahn

      If you honestly think this resembles anything in reality then you are retarded.

      • brubble

        Okay “seth”, whatever you say.

      • Todd Ison

        ? You sayin’ this ain’t real and true to life?! What you think the TV show American Dad isn’t real too huh?

  • Tommy

    I’m getting it. Looks funny!

  • Ryan

    A note to the ROAD TO VR editors.

    If you dare touch politics, I will swear off your site. And I will let everybody know. Don’t take a stance on these political issues that have very little to do with the development of virtual reality.

    We the readers deal with enough political bullshit every day. One thing I like about Road to VR is the complete absense of that political bullshit.

    If you start treading that water you will lose me as a customer. Keep things VR related. Please.

    • Brad


    • Foreign Devil

      ooops. . Ryan is tired of media going against his Republican beliefs. The game was overtly political so of course they are going to touch politics. Please DON’T cower away from politics and religion Road to VR. Politics are not “bullshit”.

    • kill_dano

      Seriously, I really could not give less of a shit what the road to VR ppl think about political issues. I don’t read preachy garbage. Go lecture your children about “the current conversation” and other topics covered on polygon. Tell me about the gameplay. Let kotaku give me the weak pandering

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But it’s a VR ‘game’ that deals with it, so it certainly belongs on Road-to-VR..

      • Karen

        Google giving you 97 US dollars every hour to complete few services on the computer … Work Some only few time & spend greater time together with your friends . any individual can also catch this career!on weekend I purchased a gorgeous Land Rover Defender just after making $15422 last four weeks .it is absolutely the extraordinary approach however you will no longer forgive yourself if you do not go to it.!vh24a:∰∰∰ http://GoogleServerFreelanceJobsAtHome/earn/cash/$97/per-hour ♥♥p♥♥w♥♥h♥♥♥d♥♥j♥r♥p♥♥♥r♥♥w♥♥d♥o♥♥♥l♥♥♥r♥o♥u♥♥s♥♥q♥♥h♥♥h♥x♥♥♥k♥m♥♥♥l♥♥h♥l::::!ff72g:nvxhfyk

    • James H.

      Funny, Ryan, how you sound kind of like a … snowflake?

      VR is an art form whether you like it or not. And as an art form VR creators are free to tackle any subject matter they wish. The idea that this site should censor any coverage of any game or experience with any political content whatsoever, just to please you …. is insane.

    • CueZero

      Perhaps Ryan is in need of a “safe-space”

    • brubble

      BAhahaha this is a joke right? Youre threatening to “leave” as a ?customer? and…and…not come back?! Say it aint so! Whoooooo bahaha that is pure gold.

      Road to Vr will surely change their tune after such a stern lecture.

      Watch out for Ryan, a true internet force to be reckoned with.

  • DinoHunter

    I tried this evening. Was different. Nothing really amazed me or shocked me. Not to much made me smile or frown. It was mediocre at best. The satire is all it really has going for it to be honest. Was a pretty timid overall VR experience. Grafics were not really very good and the jokes became rather stale and flat half way through. Type of game you play once and delete. I thought it could have done a better job to be honest across the board. From the parody aspect to the game play and graphics. The developer slacked and missed his opportunity to reallygo full hog parody. It is almost like in a lot of places throughout the game his bias ruined the experience with the very predictable scenario’s and outcomes. Or maybe it was just lack of imagination. Who knows?

    All in all the game was a let down. It should have pushed the envelope a tad more and went more extreme. It may get the attention of a few social justice warriors but it missed its mark. Another article claimed the true intent of the actual game was that it showed that guns are not the problem, Capitalism is the bigger enemy. In a way I kinda agree with that because this developer kinda fucked us out of 20 bucks for this stinker.

  • William Lee

    LOL regardless of my stands on gun issues, this is pretty funny

  • visual

    This is the VR form of shitposting. Politics is cancer.

    • WyrdestGeek

      “Politics is cancer.”

      Well I guess we’re all kind of fucked then– because politics is an intrinsic part of every societal group ever.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

  • Ben

    I found this game pretty hysterical, and couldn’t figure out what Mr. Lang was referring to when he wrote “…also strikes a number of decidedly not funny chords”. That was until the phrase “Recent expression of freedom in a schoolyard” played out in the game. Ooof.