The Wondrous Oddities of Our Beloved Games
There’s an unmistakable flare of vitriol whenever someone is playing a game and pipes up with, “Wow. That’s unrealistic.” That brave soul then has to shield themselves against a swath of retaliators telling them, “Well no shit, ya peasant. It’s a video game.” And while I agree that there isn’t much reality has in common with Fus Ro Dah-ing trolls from the peak of slated crags, or stockpiling your tenth enemy in a bush that has far exceeded its capacity of human corpses because the bush-bouncer took lunch, I still don’t think we should be dismissive of a game’s logical inconsistencies. Why? Because they’re hilarious! Like many others, I enjoy adding my own narrative spin to the craziness we find in the games we love. That enjoyment is only heightened by what I’m sure many of you will consider an undiagnosed case of psychosis by the end of this article. But it’s a fun psychosis!
Peter Parker came across as a character of good virtues to players. His incessant need to throw himself at dangers to save the lives of others is an unquestionable demonstration of self-sacrifice and altruism. But I see through that doe-eyed expression of his, wherein lies the raging blood lust of a sadistic torturer. If you’ve flung an enemy beyond the threshold of a rooftop’s limits and watched that unfortunate person plummet, you’d notice a web jettison from their backs, reeling them in to plaster them against the building’s side in a web cocoon. Good guy Spidey doesn’t kill, right? Wrong. His webs are known throughout comic lore to last for about an hour or so. That’s right. Mr. Nice-Guy sentences these poor petty criminals to a sticky, waning cage of death where, if still conscious, they’re forced to come to terms with their demise an hour or so before it occurs. At Spidey’s rate of crime smashing, that leaves a great deal of victims hanging in unknown locations before firefighters and other rescue teams can arrive to save them, essentially committing New York to an epidemic of splattered criminals. If Spidey gets his hands on you, you better hope he kills you instantly with one of his unforgiving web slams. The alternative is a horror show that even the Punisher might raise an eyebrow at.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Oh, Berethor, you delightfully frugal human trafficker. It was destined since our first trade that I would run you through with my fully upgraded wooden sword. Leaving splinters in people’s organs is loud business, which surprised me when I exited Berethor’s shop to find the town acting as though there hadn’t just been a brutal murder. Even the guard stationed outside the man’s door looked at me, blood still dripping from my toy-box weapon, and said, “Let me guess. Someone stole your sweet roll.” More perplexing than that is how, after returning days later, his corpse remained festering behind the counter of his shop. The children of Whiterun still played in the streets, and the stall vendors within the market still peddled their wares, unperturbed by the presence of a corpse barely twenty feet from their location. It became obvious to me that Berethor was either the most hated man in Skyrim, or my character was suffering from a severe case of schizophrenia. I am Berethor’s complete lack of surprise.
After you fall into the pit of never-ending darkness known as the Abyss, and fight the Four Kings that spend their time being kingly in the ceaseless black, you’re introduced to a cute lil’ primordial serpent known as Darkstalker Kaathe. Don’t let his floppy dog-ear cheeks fool you. He’s a herald for some heavy declarations of fate, and what you’ve gotta do for the remnants of mankind and yadda yadda yadda. He even lets you join his own social club after you give him your email, which lets you invade the worlds of other players to steal their humanity. You can return to him if you decide to alter the course of human history, but he’ll always remain in that one spot.
Kaathe, a super ancient being of great knowledge, just sits in the Abyss while you’re busy jumping off of cliffs because a glowing sign in the ground told you to. What the hell is Kaathe doing down there in all that time? I don’t proclaim to be an expert on the machinations of the abysmal planes, but I don’t see poor Kaathe receiving many visitors in that pit of nothing. Is he so hungover he decided to burrow his way into the lightless Abyss to usher in an age of eternal darkness, or is Dark Souls trying to raise awareness for depression in primordial serpents? I have sent Miyazaki countless emails trying to find the answer. He has yet to reply.
Final Fantasy XV
I can accept swords that break you down to a molecular level and teleport you after throwing them. I can accept a giant tortoise that loves cosplaying as a mountain. I can also accept the fact that people still think they have the right to own a damn chocobo (let my chocobos go). What I cannot accept is Prince Noctis and company’s reckless disregard for personal hygiene. They may joke about it at times, but weeks can be spent on the road without camping or hitting up a hotel in one of the many residential areas. Even when you do camp, there’s no sign of Noctis and friends ever taking the time out to bathe or even brush their teeth. Let’s not forget that these guys are fully decked out in black leather the entire time, too. They’re entrapping a concoction of biological fluids within those leather sweat sacs to produce smells I can’t even imagine. It’s no wonder Princess Luna sacrificed herself in Altissia. She got one whiff of those filthy exiles and chose death over subjecting herself to their corrosive smells.
If you play Battlefield, I’m sure you have a favorite class. You might enjoy using the blunt force of a hammer to fix an engine that’s on fire, or riding into battle on a seemingly immortal horse. My favorite class was always the medic, because what’s more fun than reanimating the dead? As a medic, you’re gifted with a highly classified serum capable of bringing back even the most “super dead” members of your squad. What are the serum’s extraterrestrial/supernatural origins, and how did world leaders get a hold of it? We may never know. Regardless of your mate’s injuries, whether they take a bouquet of bullets to the chest or get thunderstruck by a grenade, one shot of that potent second-life juice and you’ve created a zombified soldier, ripped from the comforts of eternal rest to once more run screaming into the maw of enemy gunfire. When said soldier goes on a ceaseless rampage and comes through the fight “alive,” what lies in store for them when the war is over? What human could love a reanimated super soldier who’s missing most of their vital organs?
Now you’ve gone and done it. You jumped out of a helicopter, because you were trying to land on one of the ferris wheel cars, and now you’ve subjected everybody else at the pier to a nightmarish landscape fraught with flaming cotton candy and dismembered clowns. Naturally, the police are gonna show up to say, “Hey, man…what the hell, you know? Please don’t do that.” But you don’t take kindly to such unwarranted verbal aggressions, so you open fire. What started off as two wanted stars has now escalated to five. You cannot be stopped. You are a force that will not be detained from riding that ferris wheel. After two hours of fending off a horde of police officers, you’ve gotta ask yourself: Where the hell are they coming from? You’ve tackled and defeated more police officers than could possibly exist within the city limits, which suggests something more at work. Being the ultimate killing machine you are, it’s obvious you’ve garnered the attention of an elite multi-dimensional task squad that sends police after you from alternate realities. Don’t think it’s plausible? Check the bodies of those you take out. Weird how some of them are the same people, isn’t it?
After completing a training program that makes NASA’s look like an online IQ test, the daring Rocket League competitor is ready to play competitively. They’ll never forget the loss of most meals after being struck into a vicious, sky-bound spiral that appeared to be blending the outside world in a canvas of senselessness, nor the inevitable rictus that held their faces whenever they decided to boost for the ball. The sport is a demonstration of reflex and composure of the highest form, but the Rocket League competitor knows that glory is not the only plausible outcome of entering the arena. Nobody speaks about what happens beyond the arena, after a competitor is brutally slain by another while keeping his eye on an incoming flyer, the last thing they hear being the horrific death-tune of a bubble trail. All that experience, all that potential for life replaced before the remnants of the explosion are cleared from the field. Such is the unforgiving sport of Rocket League.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivia, aspiring weatherman and horse conjurer, is a highly gifted fighter. Whether it’s harassing three innocent orphanage owners or readjusting the face of peasants in fist brawls, his opponents never fail to feel the bite of his vigor. That is, of course, unless you’re a civilian. There have been several occasions that caught Geralt’s attention in his travels, each one more confusing than the last. During a deathly fight in the packed streets of Novigrad, why had his shroud of flame affected the men trying to kill him, but not the onlookers whom were most certainly within the fire’s range? How did his own swords not make short work of the people who aided him in combat? Those pirouettes of his leave zero space to avoid a steel blade.
Geralt has no idea that he’s secretly been in an Abstergo simulation this entire time. When he takes his blade out in populated areas, unprovoked, and tries unsuccessfully to hack away at the general populous, his manic paranoia only escalates at the sight of armed guards approaching him. In no way would an overweight guard be able to take on the likes of a Witcher, but that they do. Quite easily. It’s because they’re the simulation’s defense protocols trying to stop Geralt from breaking free, each death of his a desynchronization that wipes his mind of any remaining paranoia.
Those are my ridiculous attempts at providing logic to the illogical parts of games I adore. There are definitely more out there that need addressing, but maybe later. For now I’d love to hear your own take on some of the insane logic applied to games you love. Let me know in the comments!