Wednesday, June 20, 2012


           Too often, in video games, we forget that every character is living simultaneous lives with our protagonist. Not everyone in The Capital Wasteland can be the Lone Wanderer, and we too often overlook that each Artificial Intelligence probably gets tired with our natural stupidity and antics. I've tried to correct that here in a couple major video game franchises. 

Mass Effect
            “Wow, that Wendell Shepard is really a Paragon of humanity! Dressed in that leather vest, all those wristbands and weird bicep wraps! I was so busy thanking him for saving my family from all those vague threats that I forgot to yell at him for breaking into every one of my many wall safes and PDA’s! I do sometimes wonder why nobody arrested him for punching that reporter. Three times, in fact. The first human Spectre. Wow. But, do you ever realize that he radically changes in appearance like, once every three years? Whatever, it’s some number of years in the future. I’m sure that’s normal now.”
            “I heard he tried to have sex with both an asarii and a quarian, before he realized that neither of them have compatible genetalia. What, didn’t he take Space Health in Future Middle School?”

            “Hark! The Dragonborn comes! With his fierce shouts and armor that would make the steeliest heart beat faster in fear, Thiefstie Stealington rides into town on a majestic steed, but in an act of merciful glory, left it at the town gates, assumably so it doesn’t crap all over our cobblestone streets. After he visits the town smithy to relieve himself of an incredible and, frankly, very curious amount of steel shields and bandit’s armor, he buys all the metals we can mine as a town, sits right down, and forms more armor with his mighty hammer, often for hours at a time. Our fine traders in Whiterun can hardly get enough gold to satisfy Thiefstie’s smithing talent. Then he’s off to see the court magician and Jarl!”
            “Yey, I heard he buys up all the soul gems that the wicked magician owns, then enchants rings and wool shoes only to sell them back again.”
            “Truly, the Dragonborn is the premier businessman of our 4th age.”
            “And hear me, brothers, when I say that is not all! He dares to stroll into the Jarl’s quarters at all hours of the night, and ask him a single question before leaving as suddenly as he came, a very tired and muddled Jarl left in his wake.”

Half-Life 2
            “Are you sure that Gordon Freeman is the savior we’ve been waiting for? He’s been putting a popcan in the trash for half an hour and giggling. Before that he just tossed concrete blocks onto the see-saw to try and catapult himself off. Theoretical physicist, my ass.”

NCAA Football Franchise
            “And there’s the seventh touchdown of the game, a seventy five yard pass on the first possession from scrimmage. Kirk, I have to think that this is a little lacking in sportsmanship.”
            “Brett, you’re totally right. If they’re not scoring right away on punt returns, this team is heaving bombs on every play and totally burning their opponents. This coach should know better, he’s been in charge of this team for fifty years! How about we see some class, coach, and you run the ball?”
            “I agree completely, Kirk, or the least he could do would be to put in his second string. If you’re just joining us, the Sugar Bowl has totally got out of control, 48 to nothing in the third quarter, with the field goal team… wait, no, I’m sorry, this can’t be right but it looks like- yes, the winning team just lined up in a punt formation. A confusing tactic to say the le- oh. Well how about that, Kirk?”
            “Being up so many points that you punt the ball through the uprights just to prove a point is sickening. The NCAA should really shut this coach down. I don’t care if he’s got five stars of reputation and thirty straight national titles under his belt.”

            “That man just shot a dude with a bazooka! But it’s okay, the guy he shot was a criminal. Ohp! Now he’s stealing my car with the same bazooka. I’m going to try and fight him with my fists. I’m sure he wouldn’t do anything like he just did, again. Come here, ass-” [Explosion]

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