Video games may be cooler than a penguin’s nut-sack but they are not exactly known for their realism or logical sense. It’s a realm where a cybernetic space marine is “generic”, a shotgun blast to the face is less lethal than a slice of Domino’s pizza and it’s not unusual for human beings to rain medkits upon demise. Even the most successful attempts at subtlety have always contained elements that would raise an average eyebrow in real life, and I don’t care where you’re from. And it isn’t a bad thing either. I don’t mind not having to stop every few hours to have my onscreen character take a shit, after consuming all those health-restoring snacks, for example. You can only take this whole realism thing so far and retain a certain level of fun. And decency.
This doesn’t mean that there is no stupid in gaming. Sure, anything goes in terms of theme and various established mechanics but consistency is still important. What happens in a game must fit its’ own logic, at least. If the subject matter is an Italian plumber tripping on a mushroom or the said mushroom itself, then the proverbial line is curvier than *insert any female game character*. When, however, the main character is some version of a regular human being who does his thing in some version of a regular planet Earth, with things like the regular laws of physics, then there are certain limits. Here are some examples of games that have crossed them:
ASSASSIN’S CREED (Deadly Piss Waters)
Assassin’s Creed is a science fiction franchise so it’s probably silly to point out the improbables. However, the games also imply a rough take on some actual historical events (albeit somewhat similarly to how ‘Star Wars’ take on the “long time ago”), so it isn’t unreasonable to expect a level of tact from them, when dealing with the very basics of sense. At least, it would only be fair to expect some explanations for the most obviously ridiculous on-screen occurrences, like how our hero-assassins are able to leap off all those equivalents of the Empire State Building into two-foot piles of hay and not liquify on impact. Ubisoft could have at least clarified that the assassins’ uniforms are designed to open up like the flying squirrel at the last moment, or some similar video game bullshit
Even that is not very believable.
But one can argue that those “historical” segments are supposed to be rough memories, where details are not important or accurate, and also those leaps were stupid fun to do so fuck both physics and the law. What cannot be so easily justified though is Altair’s (he’s the guy from the first one) insane hydrophobia. Sure, Assassin’s Creed is not the first game ever to treat water as a pool of Xenomorph piss but this is a high-budget production we are talking about here, released in 2007, featuring a main character who is the ultimate badass, capable of defying the fucking gravity, for whatever reason. His inability to swim makes no sense any way you stab at it (…) and even the most fail-proof, last-resort explanations of “he’s just that badass” doesn’t work here.
I don’t really mind not swimming either but could they not have at least tried to address it? Just say that Altair likes to keep all his heavy heavy gold in his shoes or that he has a thing for wool underpants that suddenly and painfully shrink upon contact with water! Anything!
“We not-a like it-a cold-a.”
RESIDENT EVIL 5 (Rocky Redfield)
When you think of a realistic video game, you probably don’t immediately think of Resident Evil (unless you’re from Florida). There is that whole zombie apocalypse thing and also… everything about Resident Evil 4, but the events of the series still supposedly take place in an Earth-ish setting. If a character suddenly starts flying, there needs to be some reason for it, even if it has to do with a virus that enables the victims to possess and operate a hoverboard.
Having said that, there is still plenty of stupid in this franchise. For instance, you might spend hours looking for a key to a flimsy wooden door with a fucking shotgun in your hands, which makes even less sense in Resident Evil 5, because your character’s hands can apparently do the following:
If he punches hard enough, perhaps he can locate the key to that shack.
Yes, that’s the protagonist of the game, Chris Redfield, punching (PUNCHING) a boulder… Now, I don’t really mind it in itself. I have punched things and have been frustrated enough to want to punch things so I understand where he is coming from there. I deal with video games and computers so I have punched my computer for refusing to run a video game; Chris Redfield here deals with boulders and uh, fists so he does what’s appropriate to his situation, I guess.
What I do have a problem with is that it actually works in his case. After getting punched, said rock finally shits itself and agrees to bulge. Sorry, but I’ll be needing some additional details on that, Capcom, just like I’d simply have to know the reason, if my computer suddenly started maxing out games, after I gave it a punch combo… if only it did.
“You call tech support?”
UNCHARTED 2 (Human After All)
It’s hard to hate on Uncharted, mainly because of its’ tongue-in-cheek approach to reality. Nathan Drake’s very existence is one long series of close calls. I can’t even imagine that guy going to the bathroom at any moment but the very last, or getting through the process without engaging in fisticuffs. He is a character, whose natural state is being bruised, limping and holding a broken rib. Every step of his is a potential disaster but one that he will miraculously survive just because he’s got that Indiana Jones mojo. In light of all this, the Uncharted games get a free pass when they suddenly decide to give players unlimited ammo, just because, or when guards conveniently whisper their screams as they fall to their doom after being pushed off a roof, just because Nathan was sneaking:
(3:20) As long as the joke works. Kinda.
When Uncharted 2 fucks up and makes absolutely no sense is when it ironically offers a moment of realism. In a cutscene, Nathan Drake is shot once with your average gun and nearly dies. It sounds pretty plausible until you consider what Nathan Drake goes through before and after that scene. The guy defeats tanks and helicopters and the amount of ammunition fired at him and exploded near him is enough to arm China several times over. I naturally assume that he has a couple of bullets in his ass at all times, that he simply walks off. Otherwise, he shouldn’t be looking for treasures, he should just be buying lottery tickets instead. No seriously, it’s like having John McClane step on a Lego in Die Hard 2 and lose use of his legs after having walked on glass in the first movie.
Above: warning image from the back of a Lego set.
FALLOUT 3 (Carmageddon)
I love Bethesda, I really do, and their Elder Scrolls series is pure epic sauce. Fact remains though that there is no shortage of really dumb shit in Fallout 3. The game features Earth, where abandoned and half-destroyed gas stations of Washington D.C. have computers that both work and are on, two hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse. It is a game that insists on immersion, yet offers up a world where drinking toilet water restores your health, where children are literally immortal for no apparent reason whatsoever and where punching someone in the face can detach a limb. And then there are also all the tiny little things that make no fucking sense, like the ending of the game or the entire plot.
This about sums up your playing experience.
So I knew that I had to include the game here but it was a challenge picking only one reason. I was leaning toward the clothes that magically gave players special attributes at first. It’s dumb as fuck but it was probably just carried over from Bethesda’s previous game and I won’t hate on someone for doing something just because it’s easy.
I opted for a new addition to the series instead, something that someone thought of, created, added into the game and said “yep, that’s a good new feature.” I’m talking about the exploding cars, here. What’s wrong with that, you might be thinking, every Hollywood movie has cars exploding like it’s the fourth of July! Well, let me just add that in Fallout 3, the regular passenger cars produce nuclear explosions… with mushroom clouds and everything. Just think about the implications of that for a moment. There are over six million car accidents per year, in the United States alone. How do you imagine a world where a single country has six million nuclear explosions in one year? Even if only a fraction of those crashes are bad enough, chances are that there is one or two such accidents in your very town every week. Look out the window right now and take a moment.
Them elderly drivers. Am I right?
RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS (The Hidden Charge)
Resident Evil again. You know what? I will just provide a quick synopsis of the problem here and it will all be clear:
- You play the game as Jill Valentine, still stranded in Raccoon City or something. Who really gives a shit, right?
- As fate would have it, she has to run around the city streets, collecting trinkets and solving puzzles.
- She passes by a car garage, in the process, where she sees… cars, one of which has an open hood, like so:
- She continues on her way, until she comes to a statue that is not quite right, which obviously means that you need to figure that shit out in order to open a door or something.
- So after solving the statue puzzle by solving another puzzle and procuring a compass that you place in the statue’s hand, the thing turns around in an ass-to-face fashion, to reveal a compartment where you find…
Quite a few things to think about here. One, why the fuck could she not simply have removed a fucking battery from a million cars all over the city, like the one in the garage? Two, why did the statue need to fucking turn around, in order for her to notice an obvious compartment that she could have probably just broken into? Three, and most puzzling, why the fuck would someone go through the trouble of designing and constructing an elaborate statue puzzle, in the middle of a fucking city, to hide a fucking CAR BATTERY? Am I going insane right now or is this the most retarded fucking thing to ever be conceived by a human mind?
SONIC UNLEASHED (When a Gerbil Just Isn’t Enough)
I stand corrected. That previous one was NOT the most retarded thing to ever be conceived because Sonic won’t fucking have it! By the way, Sonic is a blue hedgehog, who wears red sneakers, talks, and runs faster than a Cheetah with liquified “speed” for blood. Anything goes with this guy, right?
Wrong. So very very wrong.