Last week, dear reader, we spoke about the dangers of answering the door during All Hallows’ Eve. A time considered by many to be a fun, but devilishly devious. Where degenerates roam the streets, knocking on doors and demanding a delightful treat for making you get out of your cosy, warm living room and to face the dark abyss beyond the door. But not all dangers leave the house. For some, a Wonderland full of games and joy is as bad as a world of hurt and anguish.
“You’re back in Wonderland, Alice.” – But this time, things aren’t the same. Things have gone quite mad. You could say that all of the time Alice has been stuck in an orphanage, has only made her more derranged, or at least more cynical. Now we must return to Wonderland, where a train has been seen destroying the imaginative world. Why has this train taken off? What has happened to the laws of Wonderland and more importantly, can we see that amazing Vorpal Dagger once again?
We know it all, we’ve seen it all happen over the last few years so I’ll skip the spiel and get into the heart of the matter. It fails in both directions:
Now the problem here is a matter of timing. Licensed titles are designed to be released shortly before the film upon which they’re based, but because the projects start roughly when the production of the film is well under way it cuts deeply into the production time, leaving us with rushed messes filled with glitches and lacking any kind of innovation as the development team try their hardest to cobble together something that will roughly match the feel of the film or the general themes.
And that’s the other side of the problem. It’s very difficult to take a fixed and flowing narrative and wedge in some interactivity. It’s easier to take the characters and the world that they occupy and put them into a more game-oriented story than it is to try taking a story and gamifying it. For example, American McGee’s Alice took the characters from Lewis Carroll’s surrealist story and made a modern day classic. Telltale’s Walking Dead and Game of Thrones series have both taken the worlds and themes and created original adventures within them.
Uwe Bol may be bringing down the standards, but he’s really only adding to a far larger problem. Paul W.S. Anderson too, but it’s not exactly his fault.
Half of the problem is the exact reverse of the licensed game issue. The appeal of games is the interactivity, and the fact that a game can reveal a great deal more through the hours of gameplay than it can in those periods of time dedicated to story-telling. Much like a book adaptation, much of a game’s content is condensed or removed altogether to allow for time constraints, leaving fans unfulfilled. Doom and Max Payne appear to have suffered most heavily under this issue, both films demonstrated at the very least a respectable attempt at bring their games to big screen, but felt clumsy and lacking (right up until Carl Urban’s FPS scene in Doom).
Worse is the all-to-common issue of the writers, directors and producers not fully understanding the title that they’re working with. Boll may be a travesty of a director but at least he seems to enjoy games, whereas other attempts seem to be cobbling together plot from cutscenes or simply joining dots on what they’ve been told about it.
At least one film has been made that came close to a true representation of the game upon which it was based: Silent Hill. All the key elements were there, the fog, the horror, the themes, even the story came very close, but even that had it’s critical flaw. Where the games created nightmares from the innermost corruption of the main character, the film constructed a narrative where the young girl had created a private hell for those who had condemned her, sending away a better part of herself to drag someone new in so that the audience had someone to follow. Even then, Silent Hill was a good film, and not a horrendous sequel either.
And so to the future! Warcraft has a film incoming, and while we’ve seen promising trailers let us down in the past (looking at you Agent 47) we may yet have the beginnings of a revolution on our hands. It took a long time for the comic book hero to see proper representation on the silver screen, and games have a similarly long burn to get through, trial and error, lots of error, until finally we begin to strike gold.
Sidenote, I think Assassin’s Creed has potential to make a good film, but a lot of other games have had potential and failed hideously. There are some thing Michael Fassbender just can’t fix, and the lousy relationship between video games and films will take more than a couple of successes.
Caped crusaders and righteous paladins leaping to save the day to the tune of victorious fanfares and screaming groupies, then they leap from the fray, utterly unscathed and twinkling everywhere a hero should twinkle. Doesn’t it make you sick?
Some do-gooders do so much good you start to wonder. Nobody’s perfect, so what’s wrong with them that they aren’t telling us. Or maybe their flaw is so obvious and insipid that no matter how many lives they save we just can’t bring ourselves to let them off the hook.
Welcome, you judgemental band of thugs, to our Top 10 hateful heroes!
10) Desmond Miles – Assassins Creed
Axed after only three of the… where are we now, seven games (not including the smaller titles). Alright so in his third appearance he was actually quite interesting, but the only purpose he’d served until then was to be the reason for telling the stories of assassins throughout history. Short sections of the game made to feel torturously long by the dramatic loss of action and sudden upswing in long dialogue in which your role is to get off one bed, go to another, and back again in the morning.
Desmond Miles may not be utterly loathsome in himself, but there’s no denying that his participation in the narrative seriously breaks up the flow of the action. For the bulk of the series he’s taken a back seat, his story being complete, and him being dead and whatnot. His DNA strand continues with a little narration every now and again to remind you why the later games are better.
9) Ash Ketchum – Pokemon
Get this: The opening theme to the original series of the Pokemon anime went and said words like “I wanna be the very best, like no-one ever was.” Then why, pray tell, do we have Ash Ketchum? He’s nowhere near the very best, in fact, he’s amongst the very worst in the whole of the Pokemon universe. Many people feel this way about him, that he wasn’t exactly the winning Pokemon Master that we wanted to see in our Pokemon anime.
In the manga, we had Red, who legitimately was a brilliant trainer. So then to be given Ash instead of Red, it feels like something of an insult. He might want to be the very best, but he’s only ever won one Pokemon League and that wasn’t even a main one. Bah, my character in Pokemon Black and White was a better trainer than him!
Also he hasn’t aged.
8) Captain Amazing – Mystery Men
The great and mighty guardian of Champion City, swooping in to save the day whenever it’s in peril and he’ll get good publicity out of it, for himself and his many, many… many sponsors. How else could he afford all of the arms, armour and the cool jetpack that just keep him so very amazing? I mean, he’s good friends with billionaire philanthropist Lance Hunt, sure, but Lance has his own life to lead, doing… come back to that one.
Anyway, this is the man who intentionally allowed super-villain Casanova Frankenstein back on the streets in order to raise his public profile; apparently the multi-storey statue wasn’t cutting it any more. It may be a little bit of a cheat, including the hero we’re supposed to hate on this list, but Mystery Men does such a good job of setting up this loathsome little fall-guy that it really makes you really think hard about the heroes you blindly accept as “the good guys”.
7) Wrathion – WoW
I was recently introduced to this character having dropped out of World of Warcraft… And I can’t find a single redeeming feature about him. He’s childish, he’s brash, he’s arrogant and he’s a god damned child hero. This is never a good mix. The only plausibly redeeming factor he has, is he may one day grow up… And the world (of Warcraft) will rejoice in unison at this little scamp when he stops being such a poor, typical character.
It’s all well and good wanting to draw in younger audiences, which this guy will easily do. He’s likable in that you know he means well but does so in arrogant ways. It caters well to a younger, more rebellious audience. But to the rest of us, he’s just a spoilt brat of a kid who doesn’t actually understand the direness of the situation the world is in. Urgh.
6) Alice – Resident Evil Films
“Alice? Who’s that?” says the fan of the Resident Evil game series who rightfully avoided the films, “OH!” They continue, “You mean that character who doesn’t exist in the games, has no personality, and was basically just an excuse for Paul W.S. Anderson to wiggle his wife into six films? Sure, I know Alice.” This is followed by a look of withering sarcasm.
Milla Jovovich is a more capable actress than the Resident Evil series would have you believe, and clearly she’s enjoying the whole mutant/zombie slaying rush that the role of the mysterious and ~cough~ enigmatic Alice offers. But while it’s always more fun to watch an actor in a role that they like than it is to watch an actor bored blind, there comes a time when ego stroking and self-aggrandizing gets seriously dull. And yet somehow they keep making money! At least the next one’s called “The Final Chapter”
5) Mario – Nintendo
Hear us out here. We all love Mario, this is undeniable is it? However he really is an utterly contemptible little man, because there’s another man in this equation… And several peaceful individuals are also ruined by his constant presence and his corny catchphrases. Let’s take the obvious route first and talk about his younger brother, Luigi. Mario is the poster boy of Nintendo: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine; you get the point. What does Luigi get? An admittedly cool vacuum cleaner, but it’s still a vacuum none-the-less. Mario gets to chase the princess whilst Luigi gets to be haunted by ghosts.
So even if his brother doesn’t like him, what about all of the Goombas he’s running around and stomping on? Don’t forget all those shrooms he’s taking. Mario, you’re one pitiful, nasty little slime ball of a plumber and I hope you DO wear a tie (bonus points to anyone who gets this reference. Comment on the reference below.)
4) Scott Summers – X-Men
So on the list of loathsome slimes with superpowers, introducing the guy who cheated on his telepathic wife with another telepath! Really smart move there Cyclops. The ability to shoot force blasts out of your eyes does not make you useful and the shades make you look like a douchey frat-boy. And someone put this idiot in charge of a school? Nope. He vapourized former head of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, Charles Xavier.
Officially the lamest of the entire Summers bloodline, which includes Cable, Havok, Vulcan and the power-mimic Hope Summers. Poster-boy for the X-Men and devoted pupil to Xavier, Scott may very well have recruited hundreds of kids to the sanctuary of the school and the safety he never had as a child. He then proceeded to turn the place into a super-soap-opera.
3) Shinji Ikari – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Whine and whine, this is all this little boy does… But the thing is, we hate him for it. He’s not a compelling character and the worst part of all of this is that we don’t hate him just because he whines. We hate him because he is what we all hate about ourselves.
Think about it. If you’ve been faced with perils of the entire universe, that only you in your limited knowledge of this ship that no one else can control. So pray tell, why is it that the first thing you think isn’t “I must stop the baddies” but more “I must curl into foetal position and cry this nightmare away”? The reason we hate Shinji so damn much isn’t because he’s whiny, or pathetic or even weak… But he’s an accurate representation of the vast majority of humanity in a nutshell. Many of us, even the proudest, will not find the inner strength to save whole worlds.
2) Superman – DC
What? How did this happen? Number 2?
Yes, DC’s Swiss Army Super Hero may be one of the most irritating retcon engines in comic book history with a battery of powers so complete that the possibility of him losing in any situation seem as laughable as wearing your pants on the outside (underpants for our American readers). He’s not without his weaknesses of course, not just the shiny green rocks that are so rare that only billionaires and people who really want it can find it. He’s also quite vulnerable to magic and a lack of vitamin D.
He died once y’know! Just popped right back up again. That’s the top of a list of disappointments: glasses as a disguise, cape, powers “because aliens I guess”. It’s so bad it’s practically a meme! Most of us are still waiting on a decent reboot but with Zack Snyder at the helm that’s not likely to happen for another decade or so. So how did the All-American-Boyscout get beaten to the number one slot?
1) Bella Swan – Twilight
Here is where I deeply crack my knuckles.
I have read excerpts, wikis and summaries of Twilight, its’ sequels and unauthorised spin-off, and that’s about the limit of investiture I’m willing to put into it. I’m prepared to give the quality of the writing, the weaving narrative, the supporting cast of characters (who I hear are actually fairly interesting) the benefit of the doubt. But I am utterly stymied by the sparkly vampires, weirdly predatory relationship behaviour, and above it all the unabashed, sickening and utterly characterless Mary-Sue “protagonist” Bella Swan.
Loathsome? Certainly, but how do we derive hero? It’s the name we often falsely ascribe to those people around whom the story revolves, and Myers – sorry – Swan does nothing heroic to speak of. She does obtain an array of powers after her transformation into a vampire, but here’s the interesting thing: As a mortal she’s noted to be clumsy and a bad liar, afterwards she becomes uncommonly agile even for a vampire, and she also has the ability to shield herself from psychic powers, and therefore hide her thoughts.
Thus completing the role of blank canvas that any girl can pretend is really her, and super mysterious guys with rippling everything will love them. Lesson for everyone, male or female: Interesting is attractive, cardboard cutouts are not.
We have never meant the word “Honourable” less. You can leap to the rescue as much as you like, you can’t win ’em all, you’re not winning us, and you didn’t even win a spot on the list! You’re just sad.
Here’s a couple of schmucks we decided to throw a bone to. You’re welcome.
Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars
We once did Top 10 Sci-Fi Cliches. When we did that article, we listed Child Geniuses as one of the Sci-Fi Cliches that we feel is done to death and is just not fun. So Anakin fits this mould perfectly and is one of the most cookie cutter characters created. Honestly, if you watch Episode 1, he’s far too young to be doing anything of the sorts that he does… But hey, he brought in a young audience right..?
Is that really such a good thing, though? I mean apparently, this little kid built C-3P0!? Sure, he later on becomes a cool character, in the name of being a brilliant bad guy. However the young Anakin in Phantom Menace is an inexcusable mess.
Romeo, o Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo?
This dude is really just out there man. I mean, the whole tragedy could have been avoided if he wasn’t such a crazy guy who likely had attachment issues. Honestly, think about the story for a minute and you’ll come to realise that if he had literally waited for a bit and mourned his “loss”, then not all would have been lost. But then all was lost, because he goes ahead and offs himself. Don’t question why I gave such a massive spoiler there, this is Romeo and Juliet, everyone knows the “spoiler”.
Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies. Only this time, Juliet falls, Romeo (then Juliet) dies!
Ok, we’re done hating for today. Next week, no super heroism! Maybe super-heroism, but we’ll try and cut down, we promise. In order to remain on your good-side, and keep ourselves off this very list – or worse, the honourable mentions – get to voting for our next Top 10!
Didn’t see your most hated hero? Disagree with our ordering? Disagree with us in general? Or maybe you just want to chat? That’s ok, we’re here for you buddy, take a seat, I’ll get the kettle on. Join the discussion in the comments down below, and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Welcome to our next Top 10 post, where Joel and myself have gotten together to splice up a sweet little list for you all.
Today, we thought we’d think about the Top 10 Crazies in Gaming… Now, a crazy is someone who isn’t exactly all there. They might find some odd things amusing, or they might not think normally. They might like to inflict pain and suffering but most importantly: They’re crazy and you’ll know it.
So join us in our journey through the madness that is the Top 10 Crazies in Gaming!
The Top 10
10) Achenar – Myst
One of the imprisoned sons of Atrus from the Myst series. Sirrus and Achenar carved a trail of destruction through the worlds their father created; Sirrus out of greed and self obsession, but Achenar seems only to want to destroy. Through exploration of the Ages you encounter evidence of his lunacy, an obsession with torture, animal trapping, fixation on blood and death.
Achenar’s insanity is uncovered through exploration, and by talking to his giggling face through a portal to his prison-world. He is a dangerous madman, and kicks off our list at number ten.
9) Kefka Palazzo – Final Fantasy VI
If the picture above doesn’t symbolise just how insane Kefka is, his ever haunting laugh will certainly be testament to this jesters insanity.
Kefka cracks out with dark jokes, relishes in the pain and suffering of others and has absolutely no regard for human life. He lacks self-control and he hates everything in the world: Only enjoying death, pain and suffering.
What a psychopath!
8) Alice Liddell – American McGee’s Alice franchise
Being treated for insanity and catatonia, Alice was beginning to lose her grip on reality. Her only possession is a stuffed white rabbit, which happens to be the creature that calls her back into the Wonderland that she used to explore so long ago.
Unfortunately for her, this Wonderland has changed thanks to her mind. With the corrupt Queen of Hearts now in control, can Alice actually battle her sanity and the Queen of Hearts in an attempt to win back the Wonderland?
Possibly, but she’ll still be in Rutledge asylum afterwards.
7) Max – Sam & Max franchise
Max, the lovable little bunny to the right of the duo above us is a rather impulsive bunny. Although he is generally in control of his actions, he’s very impulsive and he’s not afraid to say and do whatever his mind tells him.
Ultimately, the better judgement always wins, however his lunacy also makes him a volatile poker player. Be warned, else you might get fleeced by the bunny with no true long-term plan.
6) Dr. N. Gin – Crash Bandicoot franchise
Dr. N. Gin replaced Dr. N. Brio in Crash Bandicoot 2. N. Gin noticeably has a large missile protruding from his skull. That can’t be comfortable and indeed it is the cause of several of his massive migraines.
Dr. N. Gin is a genius, but having made that live nuclear missile turn into a kind of life support machine… Um, you’d better believe you need to be insane to pull off something like that! Especially when your emotions sets that thing back off!
5) Harley Quinn – Arkham franchise (Arkham City)
Coming in at number five on our list is the Joker’s lunatic devotee! Why her and not the Joker? Because in spite of Heath Ledger’s famous “Dog chasing cars” speech, the Joker is possessed of a single minded focus. His girlfriend on the other hand is a scatter-brained, mallet-wielding anarchy machine, dangerous enough when following the directions of her precious Mr J, but without him she’s a freewheeling hate-monger.
Quinn is subject of her very own DLC in Batman Arkham City, where players can see the damage a woman scorned can do!
4) Pokey Minch – Mother franchise
From the start, Pokey is manipulative and yet he only gets his way through lying.
He lies his way to get to become the high priest of a cult (No, really…) He then lies his way to becoming a business consultant for a mayor (No… Really..!) Then he uses his accumulated wealth to buy himself a helicopter and basically dares you to follow him to what’s effectively the ultimate evil.
Throughout the game, he becomes more and more power mad, driven by his own greed and desire for power.
After all is said and done, he ends Earthbound (the 2nd game in the Mother franchise) by leaving you a message: “Come and get me, loser! Spankety spankety spankety!”” What a nut-job! He only gets worse in Mother 3, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
3) Krieg – Borderlands 2
The conductor of the poop train comes in at number three. Borderlands’ “Psycho” playable character charges through the world smashing skulls and salting wounds and setting himself on fire! No really, he sets himself on fire. He has a skill tree devoted to it. And suicide as a tactical decision. Just, grenades everywhere. You can voluntarily take friendly fire just so you can suicide bomb your enemies.
Kept in check by the sane voice in his head that stops him from killing the “good guys” Krieg is one long maniacal-laugh riot!
Don’t believe how crazy Krieg is? Check out the Borderlands 2 Wiki page, which has all of his quotes. We were laughing through his quotes!
2) Sheogorath – The Elder Scrolls franchise
The lavishly dressed Sheogorath is perhaps the epitome of a mad man. In fact, that makes sense as he is the Daedric Prince of Madness. With his trademack Wabbajack, an item that issues a random effect.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he literally lives in a place called the Shivering Isles, which is also known as “Asylum” to some people and even “the Madhouse”. People go mad there and Sheogorath dresses for the occasion to meet those who would enter his realm. He even had a whole expansion dedicated to his isles in Oblivion (and it was totally worth it!)
1) Pyro – Team Fortress 2
Happiness, loveliness, rainbows and puppies. That’s what goes through the mind of the psychopath Pyro from Valve’s Team Fortress 2. Whilst s/he is running around shooting people with what s/he believes is a pretty bubble launcher; the world around it burns.
Pyro is insane to the membrane, remember this as when you hear the sounds of fire and smell burning flesh, Pyro thinks it’s making the world a better place.
Sometimes, some crazies in gaming are worth mentioning, even though they didn’t quite make the cut to be truly considered the most insane… But hey, these guys are pretty insane in their own right, so why not kick back and rest assured that these guys aren’t real:
Trust me – It’s safer this way.
Ghetsis – Pokemon Black & White
Power is something that is best left out of some peoples hands and Ghetsis is one of these people. The true brain behind Team Plasma, he led N down a wrong path. N believed everything Team Plasma were doing was for the best interests in his friends, the Pokemon, but he was wrong. Ghetsis is one of these rare geniuses who you fear, simply for knowing he’s around.
From the smart advisor for N, to the insane mastermind behind one of the most evil turns in Pokemons history, Ghetsis is to be feared… And we love to hate him for it.
Crazy Dave – Plants vs Zombies
He wears a cooking pot on his head. He speaks in absolute gibberish and he is basically a prophet. That’s right, you heard it here folks: Crazy Dave, the man who drools, wears a cooking pot on his head and speaks in a gibberish language is a prophet. He believed the zombies were coming – and he was right! He also sold you those damn handy plants. Just… Where did he get them from in the first place?
And that’s the end of our Top 10 crazies in gaming. Please be sure to stay tuned for more Top 10 posts, of which Joel and I will be working on together again.
What did you think of our modest list? Do you have some more crazies in gaming that deserve a mention? Let us know and tell us how wrong we are in the comments below, as we’d love to see what you’d suggest deserved a spot on our Top 10 crazies in gaming list.