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Oh Canada: 5 Games that Celebrate Canada

There are a few games that prominently feature Canada, so let’s take a look at the titles that do the Great White North proud.



Canada isn’t always that well represented in games. When a North American nation is needed for action it’s usually America that shows up, guns blazing and one-liners flying. At most Canada is usually relegated to a single level, most often in sports games where Canada has a team, like NBA, MLB or NHL titles, or various racers featuring tracks set in Canada. Still, there are a few games that prominently feature Canada, so let’s take a look at the titles that do the Great White North proud.

Sang-Froid: A Tale of Werewolves

Killing werewolves, a Canadian pastime.

Quite possibly the most Canadian video game ever made, featuring French accents, an abundance of plaid, and the all-Canadian werewolf. Sang-Froid, which translates to “Cold Blood” is a unique mixture of tower defense and action-RPG mechanics, fairly similar to the Orcs Must Die series, albeit with a greater focus on laying traps and staying on the move. What makes it truly Canadian is it’s presentation, taking place in 19th century Canada and having you play as a pair of lumberjack brothers in a cold frontier town using beer as power-ups. The plot was inspired by Canadian folklore and written by Canadian author Bryan Perro. Best of all, like Canada, it’s totally free, and definitely worth checking out.

The Long Dark

You’ll freeze to death, but at least the sunset looks nice.

Often when people are stereotyping Canada it’s either by calling us hockey playing donut eaters, or freezing cold pseudo-Eskimos. The Long Dark favours the latter, placing you in the bitter Canadian North and tasking you with survival against all odds. Out of all the survival games on Steam Early Access, The Long Dark is both one of the most brutal, and one of the most thorough, with the various systems for thirst, hunger, and cold survival. Everything is taken into account, be it your caloric intake throughout the day or even how the terrain affects the wind. Combine these deep mechanics with a unique and beautiful art style, and The Long Dark really manages to stand out in a genre that some see as over-saturated. And while the situation is certainly over the top, anyone that’s lived in Canada during the winter can certainly sympathize with the idea of taking shelter from the cold.

CrossCountry Canada

The reason every Canadian kid in the 90’s told each other to ‘go truck themselves”.

Quite possibly one of the best edutainment games ever released, and a precursor to all future trucking games. CrossCountry Canada is one of those rare titles that combines learning and fun in equal measure and has real-world applications as you calculate fuel mileage and your own needs while trucking across Canada. Math and Geography are taught organically as you move loads of supplies all around the nation, making stops along the way and checking out the sites. And while graphically it doesn’t hold up, especially in the face of the Euro and American Truck Sim games, it’s mechanics and attention to detail are spot on and still interesting to play around with nearly two decades later. And like Sang-Froid you can play it right now, completely for free in your browser, which is great if you want to relive the joy of being a Canadian kid in school in the ’90s.

NHL 94

The real good ‘ol Hockey Game.

Yeah, you knew there was going to be a hockey game on here, the question was which one. There were a few contenders, between Blades of SteelWayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey, or the well-regarded NHL 07, but the SNES/Genesis classic NHL ’94 wins because of it’s staying power, with an active community that still holds tournaments every year. ‘NHL 94‘s real contribution to the series was the introduction of the “one-time” mechanic, where a player could make a slap shot directly after a pass, a common hockey technique used both in real life and in NHL games that followed.  ‘NHL ’94 was so influential that NHL ’14 made 20 years later, included a mode that emulated the classic title for anyone that may have missed it the first time around. For collectors, SNES or Genesis cartridges are fairly common, and the Genesis version can even be played in your browser right now. An absolute must for hockey fans in any nation.

Call of Duty 3

One of the few depictions of Canada in the war.

Canada was featured prominently in both World Wars, and yet in video game adaptations they’re rarely even mentioned. Verdun features a Canadian faction for WW1, but when looking at depictions of Canada in war it’s the third numbered Call of Duty game that wins, being the only game I could find that actually has a full Canadian campaign, dealing with the 4th Canadian Armoured Division’s action during the invasion of Normandy. It’s so rare to see Canada represented in a war game, so to have an entire campaign dedicated to one of Canada’s greatest military actions during the war is certainly a nice touch. It’s just a shame that other Canadian military moments aren’t shown in gaming, like the Italy campaign during WWII or the incredible action of Vimy Ridge during the first Great War. Still, the World Wars contain so much untapped material that we’re still turning to them for new games, so it’s possible these campaigns may one day get the game treatment they deserve.

There are a few more games that feature Canada, like Until Dawn which takes place in Alberta, the legendary Canada level of South Park: Stick of Truth, or the Montreal level of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but for Canadians it can feel like slim picking. Not that Canada isn’t familiar with gaming, with some of the industry’s biggest names finding themselves based in the North, but there’s a definite lack of representation. Still, new games are coming out all the time and as Canada continues to make it’s name on the world stage for the past 150 years, it’s pretty likely we’ll see them show up in more and more games through the next 150 years and beyond.

Andrew Vandersteen has been watching movies and playing games since before he could do basic math, and it shows. But what he lacks in being good at things, he makes up for with opinions on everything nerd culture. A self described and self medicated audiophile and lover of anything and everything really, really terrible, he's on a constant quest to find the worst things humanity has ever published. He's seen every episode of The Legend of Zelda, twice, and thinks the Super Mario Movie was a war crime. When he's not playing games or writing about them, he's messing around with audio or fixing computers. Perpetually one paycheck short of breaking even, and always angry about something.