Sunday, 18 May 2014

The 5 Worst Gaming Universes To Live In

I originally wrote this piece for Forces Of Geek on Thursday 22nd May before a rather busy weekend away at MCM Expo (London Comic Con). I intend to do a write up about the expo when I get a chance as I spoke on two panels and recorded some videos with Cheesemint, oh and I met The Fonz! More on that soon...until then I hope you enjoy this piece on the worst gaming universes to live in.

We've all done it, that I can guarantee. It's a quintessential part of being a geek, to make lists and put ourselves in fictional situations or worlds. A large motivator for this is a disconnection with the reality we inhabit and a desire to be transported to a new (possibly) brighter existence. Specifically, many of us actively consider, with genuine analytical thought, which fictional universe we would like to live in. My immediate reaction is to call upon the Star Trek universe, no contest. But with all the wars, intergalactic political drama and general traversing through space, I realised something. I'm not exactly the best scientific mind.. nor am I in any way a decent engineer. So, what exactly would I be doing in this universe? Cleaning the holodeck? Turbolift security? Ergh.

Unlike other fictional universes, video games largely involve conflict. Were I to be transported as I am to one of these universes, I'd no doubt die in a heartbeat. Let's just analyse the basics: I'm not in the best physical shape. Sure, I'm fit enough and if push-came-to-shove, I could survive a hostile environment for a period of time but live there forever!? Unlikely. Secondly, I'm going to have to get pretty good at fighting. Weapons, hand-to-hand, whatever, I may need to fight my fellow being or some weird roaming creatures but sooner or later, I'm gonna have to lay the smacketh down on someone or something.

The sad fact is, us regular folk would be pretty useless in most gaming universes but rather than paint a rosy outlook and highlight the few gaming environments we could safely reside in, here are some of the worst games we could live in:

Space Invaders

Image: Mike Vasilev

Okay, this is a very simple one to start with. There are countless war or alien invasion games I could call upon but while they all hold some semblance of hope for mankind, Space Invaders is crazy difficult. The game opens with a passable onslaught but like almost every game of that era, the pattern is repeated only faster and with more intensity. Chances are you're going to lose and be invaded by aliens. A lot. If this was an actual universe and you weren't the guy working the turret hopped up on caffeine, you'd just be a helpless onlooker, constantly screaming, "WHY ARE YOU SHOOTING THROUGH OUR SHIELDS!? They took us months to build!". Morale at work is going to be practically non-existent and living in this universe is going to be pretty dire, I mean, chances are you won't survive very long anyway, but those who do will live, will spend the rest of their days working for their alien overlords. 

Hey there, aren't you an adorable bunch?! NOW FIGHT FOR ME!

One of the more obvious worlds that would suck to live in is the Pokémon universe. On first glance it seems like a great place but consider the fact that everything revolves around capturing and battling creatures against one another, not to mention the cramped conditions of the pokéballs they live in, and it starts to sound like one of those illegal underground dogfights. Sure you might treat your pokémon well and build loving bonds with them like cherished pets but what happens when they're horribly defeated? Your beloved pokémon, who you love so very much is lying on the ground, barely my friend, are the monster. Even if you choose not to be a Pokémon trainer, every career path is related to Pokémon in this universe, no doubt you'd work the desk at Pokémon training centre (or if you're called Joy, you might qualify to be a nurse) but let's face facts, unless you actively enjoy cruelty to sentient, animal, monster-type creatures you would hate living here.


I'm going out to take the dog for a walk...on second thoughts, I might just stay home

Random people racing through the streets, destroying bridges and crashing planes, racing around them vicariously because it looks cool!? WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS THIS!? What sort of horrific Michael Bay mass-explosion nightmare I've chosen to live in? How am I meant to get to the shops!? How am I even supposed to leave the house without fear of being mown down by speed junkies or watching the local corner shop explode as I'm passing by. Maybe I shouldn't even stay at home, just one of those races through my street and it could collapse, just in time for them to whizz past and get a nice bonus. In this universe, I'm just bonus points fodder living in constant fear. No, thanks.

Resident Evil

If you love overturned vehicles, fire and hordes of zombies then Raccoon City is the place for you!

This is kind of a no-brainer (hehe, braaains...sorry) as no one in their right mind would enjoy living in the Resident Evil universe, a world where an evil corporation has used biological weapons to turn people into zombies and freakish abominations. For a start, er...zombies? Plus, there's very little ammo or health around to survive. If you're lucky enough to be alive then don't expect to survive for long because resources are limited and no matter how prepared we all think we are for zombie apocalypses, you'll survive at most for about a year. Zombies aren't the only concern in this universe as other humans will screw you over or simply move into your line of fire and generally get in your way or slow you down (because the AI in this game universe are utterly useless). Stupid this universe, it might actually be better to be a zombie.


Ahh, another beautiful day in this provincial town...wait, what's that godawful smell?! (Concept art from Fable 2)

You might not be a hero or the fabled 'chosen one' but as a regular citizen, chances are you might lead a normal, uneventful life here, it's safe (-ish) enough to raise a family, own a dog and go about your business. Picturesque villages, lush green lands and a place where homosexuality and equal marriage aren't demonised, so far living in Albion sounds pretty damn appealing. That is until you meet your neighbours, who all have terrible hygiene. Burping and farting on people is somehow considered  normal social etiquette in Albion, making it a deeply unpleasant and incredibly stinky place.

And if all that doesn't bum you out, what about living in a FIFA 14 universe!? A world where anyone and everyone is always talking about football. Every day, bombarded by football on every screen for all time ... oh wait, we already have that. 

Boom! Satire.

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