#3. Flaming Snipers -- Team Fortress 2
Video game snipers are assholes -- you need one to get rid of some annoying shit, but if you're saddled with three, you'll find it very difficult to go anywhere, because the plural of "sniper" is "too many." A good sniper surgically removes enemy medics, but bad snipers are a row of parasitic ticks wedged into the map's most inaccessible crevices. Snipers treat their own team as background animation in a single player game. They reverse the polarity of having teammates: The more snipers you have, the more outnumbered you are, because in every firefight half your team is two miles away clicking on random objects. It's like getting fire support from an outsourced data entry firm.
"See, what you do is miss 20 times, then scream about lag."
They're just being dicks, but you double the dickery by sniper blocking: a bizarre reversal of reality where violent video games allow passive resistance. By standing in front of their scopes, you block their line of sight. Please note that pissing somebody off by standing directly in front of their gun barrel does not work in the real world.
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
And saying "You don't have the balls" legally makes this a suicide.
Team Fortress 2 has the ultimate sniper blocker, the Pyro, a class that expresses its emotion through a flamethrower (you can express 90 percent of all emotions in online games by setting things on fire). The flames can block a whole deck of snipers (2fort represent), but only until you're all slaughtered. Because now your team has even more players on the sniper deck not hitting anything. But you don't care, because you're angry with them, and you swear you'll vent your rage until your last breath. Which you'll mix with acetylene and ignite in their faces.
"MMM-HM-MHM-HMMM!" (translation: "AND TURN OFF YOUR MIC WHEN YOU'RE EATING!")
#2. The High Jump of Murder -- Contra
If you haven't played Contra and can't grow a beard, that's why. (Gender has nothing to do with it. Beating Contra without the Konami Code can give premature female snakes a full lumberjack.) Contra is what happens when the Ghostbusters catch Rambo's spirit animal and trap it in a Nintendo cartridge: an encapsulation of everything that kicked ass in the '80s.
And the only place where the Alien isn't the most blatantly penis-powered murder machine in the picture.
You play as "Mad Dog" Rizer and Lance "Scorpion," soldiers specially trained to support badass nicknames on top of badass regular names. Possibly because "Rizer and Lance" sound rock hard in a much pornier way. Their only abilities were "killing everything" and "moving right, up, or forward after doing that." And they were so lethally trained, they could kill you with their calf muscles. In video game hero training academy, when the drill sergeant says "JUMP!" you ask "How high?" And he says "TRIPLE YOUR OWN HEIGHT FROM A STANDING START!"
He learned that move to impress Samus Aran.
They could leap six meters straight up while carrying more ammunition than an aircraft carrier. Never mind toppling dictators, their calf muscles could have replaced NASA by just kicking things into orbit. And they were the only weapon capable of friendly fire. Horizontal levels let slower players prevent the screen from scrolling forward, holding everyone back. But vertical levels let the faster players enact natural selection. By rapidly jumping, you could force the screen up, and while you couldn't push it past your friend, you could push it past the ground they were about to land on. Followed by plummet-swearing and death.
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
"I SINCERELY REGRET HOGGING THE SPREAD GUN!"
Apparently you're only attacking the communist insurgent aliens (depending on game version) because you're being chased by a quantum nihilism field. In the real world, when you don't observe something, you can't be certain if it's alive or dead, but that's only because the real world is a wimp. In Contra, if you can't see something, it's definitely dead.
#1. Killing Time -- Super Mario Bros.
Unannounced pausing is the multiplayer etiquette equivalent of shitting in the champagne bucket. You need to ask permission first, and you still probably shouldn't. The most brutal pause was possible in Super Mario Bros. It was a game from a simpler time, when developers simply didn't know that players would use anything to murder the hell out of anything they could, despite that already being the plot and mechanics to 90 percent of their games.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
He just scored a 40-kill combo in the magical land of candy.
Super Mario Bros. didn't have a real multiplayer mode. Instead, two players could take turns, as Nintendo accounted for the fact that some psychotic parents had more children than consoles, creating a daily after-school juvenile Thunderdome. Each player had a controller, but the pause button only worked for Player 1. And when you've got a bored child waiting for his turn in a video game and only one button he can press, he's going to hit that button like a rat with an electrode in its genitals.
And with similar levels of dignity and self-restraint.
You couldn't drive the other player insane forever, because back then players had to be in the same room. Which is why multiplayer video games didn't yet function as infinite asshole amplifiers. You can't use total control of time to dominate enemies when they can just physically beat the shit out of you. (A solution that the Doctor's enemies seem strangely incapable of. Matt Smith is lovely and all, but he'd snap like a twig.)
Eccleston, on the other hand, could Glasgow kiss you into the next century without using a time machine.
Which was why the cunning Mario would wait until Luigi was running full tilt toward a long jump, pause before launch, unpause immediately, and cackle as Luigi plummeted to oblivion.
Probably because Mario just worked out the gender ratio in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Which means that Nintendo might be celebrating the Year of Luigi, but it's just the 30th anniversary of him being screwed.
Matt Moffitt focuses the pure passion of the ex-Battletoad and is the bane of Arkhangelsk scientists.
Luke shoots at the Duck Hunt dog in The 4 Most Hated Characters in Video Game History and pilots a giant mech in The Truth Behind Pacific Rim. He also has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.