5 WTF Video Game Design Choices That (Somehow) Nobody Caught
AAA video games are the new blockbuster movies: massive, expensive affairs that take several years and hundreds of people to develop at the cost of millions of dollars. With so much on the line, every possible aspect of a modern big-budget video game is carefully considered until--HAHAHAHA. Sorry, we almost made it through with a straight face. Video game design is by no means immune to the general idiocy of man. Sure, the final product may end up with plenty of polish, but there's an old saying about starting out with a turd ...
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Is A Finely Tuned Sport ... With Random Tripping
Super Smash Bros. is one of the deepest fighting game series out there. Beneath its cutesy, approachable exterior is a system that allows for high levels of mastery. That's what makes it such a major title in the competitive gaming scene. And though there have been five entries in the series, many players still prefer the first, from way back in 2001. Why play a 15-year-old game? Well, because Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) introduced a feature known as tripping -- a chance that your character randomly falls on their ass, and then almost surely gets that ass handed to them.
"Oh, did you fall down, asshole!?" -- this video game
The way the tripping mechanic works is as simple as it is misguided: Every time you move in the game, there is a chance you eat shit instead. See here, as a player using Link gets his own bomb knocked back at him by Princess Peach. Link wisely tries to get away from the bomb, but something in Nintendo's evil logic replaced 'defend' with 'banana peel.' Against the player's will, Link drops down to better expose his anus and perineum to the grenade.
"Oh, did you fall and lose an asshole?" -- this video game
These are characters we've watched bound across floating lava islands and ice conveyor belts for decades, and suddenly they move like drunken roller skate thieves? Even Sonic the Hedgehog can trip, and he probably got to this fistfight by running 70 mph through a corkscrew littered with hula hoops. If there was even a tiny chance that Sonic could trip, he would have been called Unexplainable Red Smear of Teeth and Needles in a Crater 20 years ago.
Jesus, you're drunk, Sonic.
Let's be clear: This doesn't only happen to bad players. No matter who you are, when you take a step, there's always a 1-percent chance of the developers telling you to fuck yourself. Below, watch the face of one of the best players in the world as he's robbed of victory and thousands of dollars because of the most idiotic game mechanic possible.
The developers seem to have realized this mechanic was a colossal mistake, since they decided not to include it in the next game in the series. They even added a little wink to their own terrible decisions with the addition of a character who uses tripping as an attack.
Look how cute he is! We can't stay mad at you, Super Smash Bros. Even when you coyly reference your own infuriating mistakes.
The Division Made Players Wait In Virtual Lines
The Division is set in a post-epidemic New York. In order to capture the lonely feeling of a city whose population was wiped out by a weaponized disease, they made it a massively multiplayer game wherein you encounter thousands of other players. Already, that's a strange decision, but it gets stranger: They made it so those other players could get in your fucking way.
In most MMOs, other players exist as ghostly clouds of polygons you can walk right through. In World Of Warcraft, there's no bumping into other players. You and your 24 of your friends may have to crowd around a dragon's foot and punch it for 15 minutes. Can you imagine how absurd that would be if you could get in each other's way?
In The Division, it's actually worse. In order to complete quests, you have to stand in exactly the right spot and click a button. And do you know who else wants to complete quests? Literally every other human being playing this top-selling game. When it launched, players got an up-close view of what Hell is like when you die during a Black Friday sale. Cranky dicks desperately jostled to get to the counter, each of them in escalating levels of disbelief that something like this could be allowed in a virtual world of "fun." And then, suddenly, order struck. Gamers, traditionally among the worst genres of people, solved the problem by forming orderly lines. As ridiculous as this sounds, hundreds of thousands of hours were spent turning this tactical shooter into a waiting-in-line simulator.
"Learn to queue, n00b."
Obviously, in a world with no consequences, many, many players tried to cut in line. But no amount of shoves or running starts can move another player's avatar, so horrible people simply bounced off of any tightly formed line. Eventually, order was established and everyone accepted their fate. They had spent $60 to stand still and wait their turn.
Still more fun than No Man's Sky.
That's not to say those horrible people didn't find other ways to be horrible. Seconds after it was clear you could obstruct other people, ruining everyone's fun became the only activity for some players. Troublemakers could put their guy in a doorway and leave them there as an impenetrable wall of dickhead for as long as they wanted. It probably took the developers years to complete the animation and collision detection that allowed avatars to feel solid and do jumping jacks. And in all those years, not a single person thought, "Couldn't you use this to block a door? Like, forever?" On the other hand, every gamer figured it out in about three seconds.
"Burn, you fucking world. BURN."
Metal Gear Solid V Rewards You For Abusing Your Own Troops
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain combines amazing technical achievements and flawless action stealth gameplay with a story hatched from a lunatic's fever dream. Describing the plot of the Metal Gear saga is something you'd only do to get diagnosed with a mental disorder. It's sometimes sadistic and sometimes whimsical, but almost always insane. Even its name is insane, since it's not a sequel to Metal Gear Solid IV, but to Metal Gear: Peace Walker.
Peace Walker introduced the Mother Base to the series -- a paramilitary stronghold you'd staff by kidnapping enemy soldiers with balloons. Yes, all your soldiers join up after you almost strangle them to death, fill them with tranquilizers, and lock them up in your offshore prison. This is obviously deranged, but there was a clever mechanic wherein the game would teach you, the player, to fight by having you train your soldiers to fight.
Some call this "training." The others call it "beating kidnapping victims with the bodies of other kidnapping victims."
For spreadsheet-loving nerds, having your own army is very satisfying. You can assign your prisoners to fight for you or research new explosives, and every one of them loves you. They even have a morale stat which shows exactly how much they love you. So how do you get a group of men you maimed and imprisoned to love you more? Well, there are two ways. The first is to run around your base for hours and let them salute you. But players quickly discovered a much faster way to raise morale...
That ... can't be right, can it?
Yes, beating the shit out of your men is how you increase staff morale. But this isn't like the friendly sparring sessions in Peace Walker. In MGSV, you ambush soldiers going about their business and annihilate them. None of them fight back -- in fact, they thank you for every IQ point you punch out of their brain. And if their mouth is too full of fist to tell you how much they love you, you can verify their happiness by watching their morale go up as they're beaten unconscious.
"Oh, hello Boss. Aaaarrgh! Why? I love you! Aiiieee! Why? I LOVE YOU! HNF! Why? I LOVE YOU! OOF! Why? I LOVE YOUUU!!!"
"A pleasure to see you, sir! Permission to get punched by your flying robot hand, sir!?"
It gets weirder. If you don't spend enough time surprising your men with concussions, they get unhappy and unruly. If you're especially neglectful, it will trigger a cutscene in which your soldiers have gone crazy and started an underground fight club, trying to get the masochistic love you deny them. By the game's own logic, this should be the most glorious expression of brotherhood, but instead you break it up and give everyone a speech about how you should never use violence against your fellow soldiers. It comes across a little hypocritical when most of the listeners still have teeth lodged in the knuckles of your robot hand.
"Have you people learned nothing of friendship from all the times I beat you unconscious with the bodies of your brothers!?"
Spike Lee Transformed NBA2K16 From A Great Game To A Terrible Movie
One of the most popular features in the NBA2K series is the career mode. To take it to the next level, they even hired Spike Lee to direct a high-production cinematic storyline for the game. It was an intolerable, indulgent pile of nonsense called Livin' Da Dream. For most players, career mode's appeal came from creating their own avatar and turning them into a basketball god. In Livin' Da Dream, you had the choice of one man. A man named Frequency Vibrations. Even if you change the name, everyone refers to you as FREQUENCY VIBRATIONS. It's definitely on a page of Corey Feldman's diary labeled "album ideas," and in NBA2K16, it was you, whether you liked it or not.
Blame your parents, John and Susan Vibrations.
For hours of unskippable cutscenes, you are forced to watch the tale of Frequency Vibrations unfold, which is as boring as it is confusing. In the "story," you're hailed as the next coming of Michael Jordan, but in the "game," your coach only lets you play two minutes a quarter because you are objectively terrible at basketball. The main plot, other than you somehow being both awesome and hopeless at basketball, revolves around how your friend Vic Van Lier is a terrible influence on your life. The names Reginald Winthrop Drugburglar and Baron Von Problems presumably never occurred to the award-winning filmmaker as he slapped together his first video game cartoon. All he knew was that every gamer picking up the latest NBA2K title couldn't wait to get it home and experience a mostly non-interactive dramatic tale of idiots with stupid names failing at basketball.
Quitting Assassin's Creed Is An 11-Step Process
Assassin's Creed is about a modern man connected to a machine built by the not-Illuminati to relive the memories of his ancestors in order to find an ancient artifact left by ancient humans/aliens. That's the simplest, most coherent synopsis of the plot possible.
This is a game in which running requires three buttons and the tutorial lasts longer than most countries' maternity leave. However, nothing is more bizarrely complicated than when you try to quit the game, especially on the PC version. Let's take a look at the process. Please clear at least one hour from your schedule as we explain.
First you press escape to pause the game.
You'll know you've done this correctly when you see seven options surrounded by a barrage of nonsensical lines and shapes.
Now, navigate carefully to where it says "Exit Memory." The game will then check if you meant to do that. Apparently, Assassin's Creed trusts you to shove your way into a bustling crowd and murder a target using 75 different weapons, but it always assumes you missed when you click a menu button.
What unsaved data? This game autosaves every time the wind adjusts your cape.
Okay, that should do it! Well, not quite. Remember, you're in a DNA memory time travel simulation thing. We're only exiting that. And to get to the medical facility holding that simulation thing, it's going to take some loading. So this step is patiently waiting.
Hold on, just seven or eight more steps!
When it's done loading, you're given another menu, where you have to select "Exit Animus." You'll then watch yourself slowly get up from your neural device. You're back in your player's real world, and one step closer to getting back to your own personal real world!
"Awake already? You only started quitting the simulation eight minutes ago!"
Hold up. When the unskippable cutscene of you struggling to your feet finishes, you'll be able to continue to the next step.
When the game lets you, press escape another time to pause it another time. Feel free to scream or laugh, depending on how you deal with the absurd.
Oh, hello again, pause menu! You haven't aged a bit!
Congratulations! You're out of the game! Oh shit, wait.
There's a bit more loading to do.
At this point, you have to select your player profile from a list and wait for the game to inexplicably load it. And once it does, Assassin's Creed is pretty sure that after exiting the game twice, you might consider starting a new game. So it takes you to the main menu, where your options are NEW, CONTINUE, and EXIT. Hit CONTINUE if you'd like to restart the quitting process. Hit NEW if you have amnesia and aren't quite sure what's going on. Hit EXIT if, after all this time, you're still looking to quit.
Pressing BACK is a great way to keep the game uncertain of your true intentions.
Now, after passing through five menus and two layers of reality, the game will give you one final chance to take it back.
ARE YOU FUCKING CERTAIN!?
So there you have it: 11 steps to quit one game. Strangely enough, this was the same number of steps it took to get Assassin's Creed: Unity working. Next year will see the release of Assassin's Creed: Empire, and there's a rumor you can't even install it until the start menu's admission committee accepts your written essay and contacts all 10 of your character references. Good luck!
You can find Tiagosvn on twitter @Letiago.
For more messed up moments in games, check out 6 Hilarious Video Game Glitches You Have To See To Believe and 6 Video Game Endings That Are Clearly F#@%ing With Us.
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