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If you want a game to look zany, turn any animal into a tool for destruction. The creature might be the weapon itself, useful for bludgeoning, or it might be the ammunition that you fling or fire at your confused opponents. Either way, animal weapons are usually delightful. On the other hand, animal weapons in History tend to be a bit more alarming…
I'm not for a moment suggesting that any of the games I will mention are directly inspired by historic events. As with my comparison of Gunblades in and out of videogames, my intention is to highlight the parallels between fiction and reality. In the case of animal weaponry, real life is sometimes sillier.
[Educational Warning – blog contains trace amounts of learning]
Consider all the games that use birds as weapons. Bioshock Infinite has its malnourished crows,Borderlands has a bald eagle with a grudge against eyeballs, Dr Robotnik's arsenal includes a range of avian mechs and Angry Birds has…birds. The point is, videogame birds might be deadly, but only in History did someone decide to put pigeons in missiles.
I'm glad to say that Project Pigeon – because why would you call it anything else – never made it past the research phase. However, the practice of using birds as a guidance system did receive genuine interest (as well as $25,000 from the NDRC, which is nearly $350,000 by today's standards). The principle: sets of three pigeons would act as the guidance system for a missile aimed at ships at sea. The three birds would be trained to tap at an image of ship on a screen (to receive a treat) When their missile was put into action the birds would tap towards thereal naval vessel, steering the missile to its destination. The idea isn't so ridiculous; the guidance system required to guide a missile in 1937 would be heavy, cumbersome and expensive. Besides, no one would miss a bunch of 'flying rats'.
Let's go back to Borderlands. The bald eagle known as Bloodwing has a difficult time of things. The only time he sees the light of day is when his owner chucks him at someone's face, and then he has to go away again. To make matters worse, Mordecai can decide to set the bird on firebefore letting him take flight. It looks awesome, but is no doubt terrifying for the eagle. Surely no one in History has ever been so callous? You know, apart from when the Romans used burning pigs to fight elephants.
The use of such a tactic is ambiguous, but it's clear from the writings of Pliny the Elder that there was an accepted use of "War Pigs" during the Roman era. War Elephants were apparently troubled by the squeal of pigs, and this fear could be escalated by covering the pigs in tar and lighting them. That makes sense; I can imagine that I would be slightly unnerved by the sight of flaming balls of pork screaming towards me; the smell of bacon would do little to calm my nerves. So, whilst the sight of the burning Bloodwing might strike some as ridiculous, History wins another point for absurdity.
The Worms series is chock full of various weaponised animals. Some bound forth from the earth-eating warriors, some burrow through the ground, and one or two fall from the heavens. Yet the end is usually the same: a big, fiery explosion. In this fictional landscape, the sight of exploding animals is comical. In History, exploding animals were used on more than one occasion… which says a great deal about us as a species.
You may have already seen this image floating around on the internet. This is a photograph highlighting the attempts made to turn dogs into bombs. Most tank crews would think nothing of a stray mutt wandering up to their machine; by the time they noticed the explosive vest it would be too late. Just like the sheep and ferrets of theWorms series, the detonator is in the hands of the owner. The "dog mines" were an idea invented by the Soviets, and were employed against the Nazis in 1942.
This plan backfired in a big way. Whether you believe in karma or not, the creators of this fiendish idea got their comeuppance. This tactic relied on the dogs doing as they were trained to do – seek out the nearest enemy tanks and crawl underneath – but the dogs had been trained using the tanks that were available. On more than one occasion the Russians would watch in horror as the dogs scampered back towards the Soviet battle lines still carrying their explosive payload. The whole debacle made as much sense as exploding sheep with super powers.
These examples only scratch the surface of animal weapons in History. For every bizarre creature-based weapon used in videogames, History as an equally bizarre counterpart. Not to mention all the times in History when animals have been used for espionage. Corvo fromDishonored has his ability to inhabit the mind of rats and sneak around, and the CIA spliced recording equipment into cats in a failed attempt to spy on the Kremlin. You decide which version is stranger.
As with my last 'Videogames vs History' blog, I've tried to give just a few fun facts with the hope that you might seek out the rest. If you don't feel the need to find out more about all the ways us humans have turned animals into tools of war, you might instead want to find out about all the animals that received medals for bravery since the Second World War. Or maybe you'd rather take the easy option and ask me for more information. Feel free to leave a question below. Maybe you've spotted similar comparisons between the odd animal weapons in games and in History? Let us know.
The next time you see a particularly wacky weapon that involves an animal, not matter how strange, consider the possibility that at some point in History a military leader may have looked at that contraption and thought: "well that has potential!"
There are lots of big reasons to love a videogame. Great gameplay, thrilling story, stunning visuals and so on. These are the major factors that decide whether a game will draw us in or not. Yet once we’ve embraced the experience, it’s often the smaller details in a game that make the journey so much greater. When we are reminded of a game we played years ago it’s often the little things that we remember.
I am thankful for those mini moments in videogames. They are the gems that the player can only notice once they are on board, enriching the adventure once they are discovered. These are some of my favourite 'little things' from videogames new and old.
Killzone 2 – the kill beep
The first game I played on the Playstation 3 was Killzone 2, and I still fondly remember my reaction to the new generation of shiny graphics. Both the single player and multiplayer parts of the game are fantastic, the world in which the game takes place is fascinating, and I had a truly wonderful time beating up Space-Cockney-Nazis. For all its strengths, there was one little noise that really added joy to the murder of multiplayer.
Most First Person Shooters I’d played confirmed a kill with a written confirmation or a “+50 points” sign, but I had never before seen a game that gave a gleeful chirp for each take down. It’s tone is a little out of place, but I love the fact that it’s there. It’s like a teenie, tiny person is cheering me on to victory.
Shodow of the Colossus – pet the horse
I found another excuse to talk about my favourite game! Yay! I’ve already waxed lyrical about the SOTC in more than one blog. I adore everything about this game, and this small, unnecessary animation just adds to the love. Aside from riding Agro around into near-certain death, the player can give the horse and affection stroke. Shadow of the Colossus is a game full of wonderful little details, and this particular feature is quite endearing.
There’s no reason for petting Agro and there’s no benefit to treating your steed with love. But the game let’s you do it, because of course we want to pet the horsy (I like to think that it’s the main characters way of quietly apologising for the mess he’s got them into).
Warzone 2100 – the New Paradigm
So many hours of my young life were dedicated to playing Warzone 2100. This post-apocalyptic, Real-Time Strategy game had me hooked. For me the greatest part of game was the way in which you could design your own tanks from the parts you ‘scavenged’ during the story. There were hundreds of combinations to be found from mixing the various weapons, chassis and tracks. That, and you could build hover tanks.
There’s a little piece of this game that has held fast in my imagination for years. When the game first opens out onto the nuclear wasteland that was once earth, you first opponents are unruly, unorganised scavengers. The first real challenge you come up against is a group who call themselves the ‘New Paradigm’. It’s only a small part of the game, but I have always loved that name.
The simple, faceless introduction of this group is incredibly brief, and you never learn much more about them after that. Yet there’s something about their title, and the way that the group addresses your existence that has stuck with me every since. The cold, semi-sythesised voice declaring that “you are in contravention of the New Paradigm”, has always made me smile.
Resident Evil 5 – who is Roger?
The main characters of Resident Evil 5 miss their friend. His name is Roger, and wherever Chris and Sheva go, they are always trying to find him. If you press the button to call your partner, they might call shout for them by name, ask for assistance, or call out for this mystery character. If you and your co-op companion hit the button repeatedly for no good reason, it soon becomes clear that these two heroes really miss their friend.
One day, I’d love to find out who Roger really is. Despite all the zombies and bat monsters, Chris and Sheva are always talking about him. He must be a really great guy.
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance – Flaming Loading Screen
Videogames do great things with loading screens these days. Assassin’s Creed and Bayonetta are two superb examples, allowing the player to move the protagonist around the screen whilst they wait, practicing for what awaits. In the case of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, the loading screen is also interactive... though not quite to the same level.
The games loading screen has the word ‘loading’ etched onto it. I think we can all agree that this makes sense. The word has been set on fire by someone irresponsible, and the text will burn bright until the game is ready to proceed. Should the player move the analogue sticks while they are waiting, they can move the fire. It’s as underwhelming as it sounds, but it’s a part of the game that has stayed with me. There was something quite cathartic about the brushing and swirling of the flames. It took the edge of waiting for the game to load, and calmed the frayed nerves after a crushing defeat.
Mario Kart – Yoshi’s Sadness
If I’m playing Mario Kart, I’m playing as Yoshi. This is an unchanging truth. Everything about this little dinosaur is adorable, from his the big, bulbous nose down to his weirdly practical style of footwear. One of the main reasons I pick Yoshi every time is for all those little noises he mumbles and burbles during a race. Whilst all the whoops for joy are incredibly cute, his reactions to losing a race are the most endearing. (35 seconds into the video)
Source: sonic et moi
Every time I lose a race, I find myself beaming at the sulky noises Yoshi emits. He sounds like a little child that’s been told there’s no more ice cream left. It’s almost worth deliberately losing a race to hear he’s sad little warble. Almost.
It’s the little parts of a game that can stick with us long after the major plot and gameplay elements have faded from memory. Sometimes it’s a word or phrase, others times it’s a sound effect, or a tiny game feature that entertained you. Even the most highly polished games need those little quirks if we are to embrace them.
Can you think of any small game elements that are as memorable or remarkable as the entire game they were in? Is there something on this list they you agree with? Leave a comment below, and let’s give thanks to the little things in videogames.
Thank You For Reading!
Whilst I would never consider myself a violent man, I find weapons fascinating. Whether they are a work of fiction or non-fiction, I see them as curious inventions that say a great deal about our species. Our History is full of strange and striking creations of war. It’s when Fantasy and Reality collide that things get really interesting.
The “gun sword” sounds like something a competitive child would invent – “oh yeah? Well my sword is a gun as well, and I have a force field that lets me shoot out but you can’t shoot out…” – but the ‘Gunblade’ makes for a fitting weapon in Final Fantasy VIII (and Kingdom Hearts of course), and the concept of a Gun Sword has appeared in several video games and anime in one iteration or another. This bizarre weapon might seem entrenched in the realm of make-believe; the Pistol Sword is a very real thing.
If you haven’t seen a real Pistol Sword, you might want to take a moment. Depending on your view of war, this may look like to you like the most stupid/brilliant thing you’ve seen this week. And you are right: it is both stupid and brilliant. The item would have been physically impressive but massively unreliable, and only a rich eccentric could afford to own and use a contraption like this. This particular fellow just happened to belong to Alexander Davison, best friend to Admiral Nelson.
Final Fantasy VIII rules dictated that the Gunblade is a melee weapon first-and-foremost; the ‘gun’ element can only be fired with the swing of the blade to maximise the attack. In reality, you could fire the pistol whenever you wished, but it would have been best if you got as close as Squall does to his opponents. Regular pistols were wildly inaccurate; never mind the addition of a big blade on the side of it.
Now I could list all the forms of Pistol-and-Blade combinations right here, but the teacher in me wants to give you a few examples and then let you find out more. See what you can find. You may start wondering, “why isn’t this in a video game?!” or at the very least you will marvel at how many nations throughout history looked at their weapons and thought, “That looks great and everything…I’ll bet it looks better with a gun on it.
So here’s the next example. It’s a little smaller blade, but something screaming to be uploaded into a video game.
The regular ‘Katar’ (or ‘punching sword’ if you want to be more literal) has found its way into a few fighting games, often exaggerated in size because [add penis joke here]. These items do well in video games; they look incredible and offer some simple-fun fighting mechanics. It seems so strange to think that the ‘Gun Katar’ hasn’t been adopted into more games. This particular example demonstrates the fun a game designer could have create the visual style of this weapon.
A little research will lead you to discover that this weapon was, historically speaking, inaccurate and impractical. However, video games are the perfect place to take an incredible concept and dispense with the logical arguments. That’s how we got to swords on the ends of chains, the portal gun…and that weird purple bat in Saints Row that no one will explain to me…
Here’s my personal favourite Pistol-Blade combination, which is definitely not a sword.
Look at this thing. This Axe-and-Pistol is a visually striking as it is utterly bonkers. This novelty item was way more of a showpiece than an actual weapon, and is one of many stored in the Tower of London. It has six barrels on it too - five inside the axe head an one in the handle. If anything, this is more of a war hammer than an axe, but I'm not complaining. Once more we see something begging to be uploaded into a video game. In real life, it's ridiculous; in a game with a steampunk vibe, this beauty would thrive.
If video games are going to continue to have weapons in video games, then game designers only need to glance through History to find gems like this one. This is just one example of the ‘Pistol Axe’ (this one impresses me because it’s so unnecessarily ornate) and having seen this alongside a Pistol Dagger and a Pistol Sword I’m sure you realise by now that this is but a small window into the sheer silliness of historic weaponry.
Gun-Knuckleduster? Yep, that exists.
Gun-Shield? Yep, that too.
Gun-crossbow? Well of course that exists.
Oh and ‘that glove’ from Inglorious Bastards…that’s real too. It’s called the Sedgley Fist Gun. If it doesn’t appear in a future Assassin’s Creeds games, I’ll be very disappointed.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that we need more weapons in video games. We already have a steady stream of violent games and it’s always nice to see games that succeed without the need for fighting. But if a game is going to include weapons, it could do more than just copy the games that have come before. My favourite subject is filled with inspiration. Whilst many of these items prove too risky or outlandish in real life, they’d fit right in with all the other weird and wonderful weapons currently available.
Go and have a look for yourself. See what other ‘Pistol-plus-x’ combos you can find. You might already know a little about this topic and want to share favourite examples below. Which games do you think might have been better if the creators had thought to take inspiration from this part of History?
Thank You For Reading
I swear on my honour that I can be a sensible gamer. I do know how to play games properly. It's just that, now and then, I am compelled to ignore the path the game has laid out for me. It's why people think I'm so cool and rebellious. [Turns imaginary cap backwards]
Spore and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion are significantly different games. One is a game a God Game where the player controls the 'evolution' of a species from primordial soup-dweller to galactic dominator; the other is an action role playing game set in a mythical-medieval world. Yet there is one very clear similarity between these games where I am considered: the way I misbehaved when playing them.
This is the third week of me admitting my misbehaviour. In Dishonored, I was way more violent than the game suggested I should be. In Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, I lost all sense of respectability. As for Spore and Oblivion, I actually started playing both games as intended. I put lots of hours into each game, following the rules for the most part. However, despite several play-throughs of both games, I have never finished either of them. I would deliberately quit both games at a certain point, and go back to the start.
I bought Oblivion during my year of training to be a teacher. The first school my university sent me to was in North Wales. I was a long way from home and friends, so I bought myself the game to pass what little time I had in the evenings between lesson planning. I knew Oblivion was a big game, so I expected it to last until I returned to university. In fact, I was nowhere near finishing the game by the end of my placement, and it was quite a while before I could play it again. When I did finally return to Cyrodiil, two months later, I felt that I should start from the beginning.
So I began anew, refreshed and renewed, moving briskly through the opening segment of the game. In the moment where the player-character emerges from the sewers to face a gorgeous, green landscape I realised I was going to play differently this time. In my first run through I only went to a location if a primary or secondary objective was there. This time I was going to go exploring instead. I stopped by the citadel first, got myself set up with average armour and a few potions. I then walked out of the city in the opposite direction of the markers that pointed towards the 'real adventure'.
This wasn't a deliberate attempt to avoid the story missions, but rather an attempt to avoid another half-finished game. By this point I was settling into my second school training placement (this time in South Wales) and I knew I wouldn't have time to finish the game with what little free time I would have. I'm a completionist at heart, and I just didn't like the idea of playing half the game, stopping for a few weeks, and then trying to pick the game back up. Which, given the fact that I've never completed the game, seems so silly now.
So my supposed 'hero' became a true vagrant, wandering through forests, stumbling into caves and nosing around the homes of townsfolk. If I found myself in a place with a mission nearby, I'd give it a go, but otherwise the evil corrupting the world was left to its own devices. I was the worst kind of hero.
When my teacher training year was up, I started to play other games between visits to Cyrodiil, and I soon realised that Oblivion was becoming my game to relax with; a game I could play off-and-on, usually when I didn't want to concentrate too much. If I was half-watching a movie or listening to a new music album or chatting with friends online, I would play Oblivion. There was no sense of urgency, no drive to complete the story, only the exploration and the adventure. This was a game that I could unwind with, as long as I ignored the fact that I was meant to be playing the saviour. Oh, I would complete the occasional story mission, if I wandered into it. NPCs would often remind me of incredibly vital, urgent and world-altering quests that needed to be done, but they never seemed to mind when I turned up several in-game months later to announce the task was done.
There were two attempts made to fully complete the game, but both times were undone by glitches. In the first instance, I was unable to finish a side quest that would cure me of vampirism. It was only a sidequest, but if I was going to complete the game after all this time I was going to do it right. The second time, a NPC refused to acknowledge my completion of a quest. She simply stood staring at me, refusing to present me any form of dialogue option. And I went off exploring once more...
And I'll bet when you saw the name of this game alongside the word "misbehaving", you thought I was going to talk about something else. You know what I mean: you thought I was going to talk about all the penis shaped aliens I made, didn't you? You should be ashamed. I only did that once.
The more I heard about Spore before its release, the more I began to believe that this was THE game for me. The stories and promises wrapped around this game were so close to the description of 'my ideal game' that I began to suspect that Maxis had bugged my house. This would become my first big gaming disappointment.
I was painted the picture of a game that allowed the player to mold a species from the ground up. Beginning as an amoeba fending off nasties, advancing onto dry land as a multi-limbed animal living among other creatures, before finally raising your species to a tribal state. Slowly but surely, that tribe would progress to a mighty civilisation able to take over the entire world and then finally reach for the stars to conquer other planets. It didn't just sound awesome; it was the awesome I always wanted.
What I got however, was far from what I expected. The Cell, Creature, Tribal and Civilization stages were essentially mini-games. Within two hours my species had dragged itself onto the beach, formed a society and launched into the stars. What I had hoped would be an epic saga of survival and conquest was but an introduction to a vast sand-box game set in space. My hopes of forming a culture and history around my invented species were dashed. My mighty expectations of those four 'stages' stood tall over the reality.
I spent, at most, one hour in space. I threw a few rocks around, abducted a few animals, and met a few alien species. All told, my first attempt at the game lasted three hours in total. Nevertheless, I reckon my total time with Spore was ten times that amount.
I'm sure many people who played the game would attest that the Space stage was a brilliant part of the game. I've been told that the game is gigantic beyond that point. But that's not the game I wanted to play. I wanted to 'evolve' a species, see how my character designed walked and interacted. I also wanted to make sure that my parents didn't think they'd wasted their money buying me a video game (it didn't happen very often).
So I played the part of the game I was interested in. I began as a teenie weenie organism, swimming amongst the slightly bigger, teenie weenie organisms. I'd speed through as quickly as possible to get to the Creature Creation screen. And it was here that I spent most of my game time. Pulling and prodding and sticking new bits on my monster until I felt I'd make something unique, and then off into the field they would go. I'd watch the thing plod or hop or crawl across the island making other creatures their friends or their dinner. They'd soon form a tribe...and then I'd restart the game.
In the end, I must have created at least fifty distinct characters. Whilst I should have been exploring space and building new worlds, I was playing god in the most basic sense. In many ways I was a child playing with the box the toy came in – happy to stick with only the first fraction of the game. I was expected to soar into the galaxy; I was more interested in seeing how many limbs I could get onto a malformed zebra-crab.
I often think back to the game worlds I abandoned. The world within The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has no doubt fallen to the outstretched tendrils of the darkest evil, as my vagabond lies against a fire-scorched tree stump, wondering where that screaming is coming from. WithinSpore, countless primitive species huddle around crudely constructed campfires, looking up at the stars, and grunting about how they thought there'd be more to life than this.
Maybe one day I'll go back to Cyrodiil and finally save the day. Maybe I'll return to raise a chosen species to greatness. Maybe one day I'll finish...the…y'know, I still haven't playedSkyrim. I should've really played Skyrim by now. Yeah, I'm going to go play Skyrim.
Have you really enjoyed playing a game but never had the urge to finish it? Did you have a similar experience playing these two games? How else have you misbehaved when gaming?
Gamers do as they are told. Video games set the rules, and we follow them. When a game says "jump", we press the jump button. We will run, fight and sometimes dance when the game demands it. We play the game as intended...most of the time...
Sometimes we get to do things that the game didn't plan for. We can't exactly break the rules – unless we want to fall through the game world or glitch out – but we can bend the rules for our amusement. We've all done it. (Yes you have, don't lie). Sometimes we misbehave because we're looking for a laugh, sometimes we do it because the game isn't what we expected. Other times, we play the wrong way to see if the video game will stop us.
This was going to be a one-off article with several examples, but I soon realised this was turning into a biiig looong blogpost. So instead I've picked out one game that I played incorrectly. If this proves to be an interesting read, then I'll bring out the other examples later.
(Minor Spoiler Warning)
So Dishonored.... a game that I will never play again. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But this game made me a bad person for a few hours. By the time I was finished with the steam-punk, industrial city-state of Dunwall, there wasn't a single person left alive. Everyone died.Every. Single. Person.
The game sets you off with two distinct, gameplay options. You can be all-stealth and non-lethal or you can be a little stealthy and plenty-murdery. I started with the second option. For me, this was an easy choice. Firstly, I am bad a stealth (really, really bad) so I'm going to murder lots of people who happen to spot me. Secondly, the game tells you that TERRIBLE AND DARK AND SPOOKY THINGS WILL HAPPEN IF YOU KILL PEOPLE... so of course I was going to find out what happens when I go a-killing.
So I started with the sneaky-killer style, slicing up anyone who was in my way, using bullets and crossbow bolts whenever things got a little heated, generally doing what the game wanted... and then I unlocked the Devouring Storm.
Rats in Dunwall are a teensy weensy bit aggressive. As in, they will literally reduce a person down to gristle in a few seconds if said person so much as looks in their direction. And the Devouring Swarm imbues Corvo, the protagonist, with the ability to summon a pack of these little critters. A nice way to take out a single enemy without leaving the shadows.
Now what I'm sure I was supposed to do was use the Devouring Swarm alongside my other weapons and powers. This is not what I did. This is where I started misbehaving: For the rest of the game, start to finish, I used the rat attack on everything I could. And not just on enemies in my way: on every character in the game...
I'd enter a new area a find my first target. No planning, no sneaking about. I'd immediately summon my squeaky friends under the feet of an unsuspecting henchmen. Of course, all the henchmen's friends come running over to stomp and stab the evil rat swarm back to hell. The game had tried to tell me that the Swarm only works when there are one or two baddies to nibble on. But I wasn't perturbed.
Rather than changing tactics, I'd summon a second Swarm the moment the first one vanished. If you wait a moment between casting spells, some of the magic you used up is replenished. So I'd stand and watch as the henchmen swung at wave after wave of ravenous rodents until they began to fall, one by one.
At first I just wanted to see how long this tactic would work before the game became too difficult or insisted that I use a more cunning approach. Maybe I would use up my man potions too quickly and have to rely on my sword and pistol to do the killing. And yes, occasionally I'd be low on magic and have to finish the rat-bitten fiends of with a few sword swipes, but not as often as I expected. When a character was impervious to this ability, such as the Tallboys (henchmen on stilts) I would have so much surplus ammunition lying around that I could riddle them with holes and return to summoning rodents. The only thing I ever used in-game currency for was more mana potions.
You might be thinking, "Mr RedHeadPeak", surely by relying on one move for most of the game, you are sucking the fun out?" I was worried about that at first, but soon realised that I was making the game my own. The story suggests two possible versions of Corvo were available – the innocent fellow out to defend his honour, or a troubled man out for revenge. My version of Corvo was my own creation: The Walking Plague. I began to revel in my one-trick approach to the game. In my head Corvo was a broken man long before the story started, and his new-found dark powers would allow him to purge the world he hates.
Soon I began to test just how far the game would let me push this approach. I began to unleash the swarm on non-aggressive Non Player Characters. It didn't matter how innocent the bystander was, they were food for my rat army. The real test came when the game announced that I was to attend a Masquerade Ball in order to disgrace/assassinate a politician's lady friend. A manor house awaited me, full of wealthy nobility. Only one person needed to die, and most of the guards and party guests were irrelevant to the mission (there are several routes through the building). But I had a test to carry out, so I found myself in one corner of the house and began to unleash my rats. I had a full Mana Bar and a wholes set of potions.
Twenty minutes later, everyone was dead. The guards, the guests, my target and her body doubles. I had remained almost completely undetected for the duration. I lost count of how many swarms I spawned one after the other. With each attack new guards came to face the invading creatures, but it was only a matter of time for they succumbed to the hundreds of tiny, razor-sharp teeth. I wasn't entirely inactive; I'd swipe my sword at the occasional panicked goon, or fire an incendiary into the mix. But I mostly sat back as each and every NPC fell.
And so this went on for the rest of the game. If a character was expendable, they were edible. Once it was clear that a vendor that sold me weapons and supplies was no longer useful, I unleashed my minions upon him. Even the final villain was brought down by the infestation. Only Samuel the boatman – the guy who transports you between locations – was immune from rat bites, safe in his little vessel. He was not immune to a bullet between the eyes...
Then came the last decision of the game (and we are into serious spoiler territory here). Should I save the girl-princess, or let her fall? In any other game I'd save her... but in Dishonored... she didn't stand a chance. So I got the 'worst' ending of the game. I was told that Corvo leaves behind a Dunwall pulling its own stuffing out... (End spoiler.)
As that final cutscene played out, I thought to myself: "This is wrong. That's not what happened afterwards! I've killed every one in the city! There's no one left to do anything! And if there was,my Corvo wouldn't have paused for a moment until every single one of those NPCs was torn down by his mauling, malicious minions..."
...it was in that moment that I realised what a terrible thing the game had turned me into...
Dishonored sets itself up as a game where you can kill anyone you want, using a variety of skills, but you're better off if you don't. Even if you don't want to take the non-lethal route, the game still holds up several opportunities to do some good in the world. Most importantly, the gamer should use a mix of all the skills available to win. I not only chose to ignore all those guidelines, but I decided to see just how much I could misbehave. And boy, did I misbehave.
Next week, I'll talk about a completely contrasting kind of misbehaviour. A very childish and very silly kind of behaviour. I became the Monster when I played Dishonored, but I became the Prankster when I played Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Thank You For Reading
Did you have a similar experience with Dishonored? Are there other games where you've felt like you were misbehaving? How often do you push a video game just to see if it will bend or break? Leave a comment below!
Dear Video Gamers, are you angry? Is the thing you're irritated by on this list? No? Then you're probably fuming about the wrong thing. You silly person. Don't go wasting your time incensed by anything else!
In the loveable, wonderful sport of Mario Kart, there is really only one monster ruining the fun for everyone. Bowser or Wario seem like they'd be the party-poopers, but even they know a good time when they see one. No, Bloopers are a blight on an otherwise joyous landscape. And they know it too, the little cretins.
Just look at that face. Look at it! Those eyes are DEAD EYES. That is the face of a creature that doesn't care that their only role in life is to annoy people. That's all they do! All day, every day! Float in; BLIND important dignitaries and small children with ink; float off. If they had middle fingers they'd be gesturing their contempt with every arm.
It's the method of blinding that's really horrifying. You might feel that it's just a bit of ink, no big deal. FOOLS! Have you ever considered what that squid ink is made from? Yeah I didn't think so: It's a mix of melanin and mucus.
THAT'S RIGHT! MUCUS!
Squid ink is essentially SNOT WITH COLOURING! Every time a Blooper fires a jet onto your character and kart, they are sneezing hard! You as the player can't see what's happening on the track because there is SNOT ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR SCREEN. Disgusting!
Bloopers are jerks. They're not adding anything to the game. They're not really adding anychallenge; I can still tell where I am on the track most of the time. They're just there tohumiliate everyone. Think of how many times a Blooper has stared vacantly at your screen and sneezed all over your happiness.
I think we know what needs to happen now:
Who fancies some calamari?
There is no video game item as INCONCEIVABLY ANNOYING as the Red Herb in the Resident Evil series. The best definition for the term, "a waste of space" I've ever seen! I reckon that when the protagonist chops it up to make a healing potion, it makes them cry and it smells really bad too.
The only thing this sickly-red weed is good for is making health items. Which might sound great, especially in a zombie situation. But you can't use the Red Herb unless you have a spare Green Herb to combine it with. Do you know what you can use it for if you don't have a Green Herb? That's right: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! It just sits in your backpack taking up room. That would be fine if the little plant could be squeezed into a side pocket, but ooooh no. Red Herb likes to spread out. Red Herb likes to stretch out its leaves and take up an ENTIRE SQUARE SPACE! Yet when you grind it up and add it to another herb, it all still fits into one space!
…yeah, I realise that the green herb takes up a whole square too. But's that… well… shut up that's not the point.
The point is that unless I have a spare green herb (if I have two they can combine with each other) the red herb just sits in my inventory like a rotten tooth. But we hold onto it, because this is survival horror and you don't throw things away. Deep down we all know that it's a pointless item and need to go! It would be like carrying around spare ammo for a gun you don't have…
If you're creating a new sci-fi universe, you're going to need an angry species. The Krogan of Mass Effect are brimming over with hate (most of which is justified given the back story). Shepherd's Krogan companion, Urdnot Wrex, has a particular penchant for violent outbursts, emitting death threats with the casual nature of wishing someone a "good morning". But it's not Wrex himself that you should be angered by; it's the discrimination against him.
Simply put: Why OH WHY, am I not allowed to have a relationship with Wrex?
I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who demands to know why Commander Shepherd gets her rocks off with EVERY OTHER SPECIES in the game. Humans, Asari, Quarians and Turians… they are all ready to bed the hero, but for some reason we can't have a little bit of Krogan? I'd like you to give me one good reason.
His species is impotent? That's a minor technicality. Just because an alien scientist made most of the Krogans sterile, doesn't mean that Wrex doesn't know how to have a good time.
He's unattractive? WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE? Don't bring your 21st Century ideals to this argument. Just because you don't find his giant hump appealing, doesn't meant that someone (or something) else wouldn't! Not everyone can have curves like Liara. Especially when she's paying for boob jobs between games.
He's too angry? Come on, you can't tell me that 'Renegade Shep' wouldn't want to make the beast-with-two-backs with bad-boy Wrex. Besides, everyone else is so timid when it comes to love making. When you consider Jak's "Waaa nobody loves meee" and Garrus' "I'll need to read the manual first" and Tali's "Having intercourse with you might kill me" it's clear that the Normandy is full of wimps. Now Wrex is the kind've guy that won't shy away. That Krogan doesn't need a manual to make male/female Shepherd feel like a real man/woman.
…I made myself feel ill.
You might think that the progression of save systems in games is a good thing. But you would be wrong, and stupid, and wrong. Once upon a time, games expected us to save our games ourselves. And that was better.
HOW DARE A VIDEO GAME PRESUME TO KNOW WHEN AND WHERE I WANT MY GAME SAVED?! It's utterly ludicrous that the game gets to decide where it should load from. Oh, you've made it past that arbitrary corner. You get an Autosave! Good for you have a cookie. Why can a game not trust me to save after a loading screen?! Does it believe I'll forget that I'm playing and wander off to make a sandwich?! Does it think I'm an idiot?! HMM?!
I'll tell you when and how I want a game saved: I want a list of twenty-five separate save files all lined up in case I missed an item I need to go back for. I'm also going to save every time I get through a difficult bit, so I don't have to go back and enjoy the challenge again. And when I do die, I want to know that I have a Quick-Save ready.
That way, I can re-load my save , get shot in the head, re-load again, die, re-load and explode…until I FINALLY kill the guy with one awesome move. And I'll be able to say that I did it on the first go, because THE DAMNED AUTOSAVE HASN'T RECORDED THE TWENTY OR SO TIMES I WAS MURDERED IN THE SAME CORRIDOR!
Wow, pretending to be angry about stuff is hard. I need to go lie down…
…wait, hang on… I had a point to make. Well, not really. This was written for the same reason I write my blog: I like to overthink and poke fun at my hobby. But there is a message here (sort of).
Be careful how you mix anger with opinion.
You can be angry about games. Of course you can. Suggesting you can't would be like saying you can't get frustrated when your sports team fails, or happy when your favourite band is performing. You can also express your opinion. I for one wouldn't enjoy writing if people couldn't respond. However, you should be careful how you combine those two basic human rights. When you mix anger with expression of opinion, you start to sound like a grown man yelling at a squid for sneezing on him…
So if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a gamer rant from a mystery gamer, consider replying with a link to this article. Remind the angry gamer that a rant might seem like a good idea at the time, but it can look very silly in retrospect. Very silly indeed.
(It's hard to stop using Caps Lock once you start.)