6 Video Game Missions That Totally Insulted The Player
You work for days, weeks, maybe months to complete some Herculean task in a video game. You scour every inch of that virtual world, fighting against unspeakable dangers to achieve something most people would call impossible. Your friends say you're obsessed. Your doctor says you're "morbidly unfit and omega diabetic." You ignore them all, determined to conquer the mightiest challenge set forth by your favorite game. And then, when you finally achieve it, when all of your hard work pays off, you get your reward: a huge middle finger from the developers. Like how ...
Gex And Arc The Lad Insult You For Completing Them
Video games test all kinds of skills, from hand-eye coordination to battle tactics to banana detecting, but the thing they test most is your patience. Such is the case with the Gex series and Arc The Lad, in which the developers demanded patience beyond that of any saint. They seemed to truly want their players to die alone, knowing only the touch of a controller.
In Arc The Lad, you're forced to repeat a series of arena battles against the same exact minions over and over. And over. And over. A thousand times, to be exact. One thousand. The children who spent 80 hours a week assembling the consoles that ran Arc The Lad lived more exciting lives than the people who played it. But when you finally do it, when you finally beat the same group of enemies 1,000 times, your reward is ... this bullshit. The game gives you some items you haven't needed for about 999 arena fights, and then tells you to get a life and stop playing Arc The Lad. Rumor has it that when you beat it 2,000 times, the game shows a live feed of your mother on the toilet.
In Gex, you play a wisecracking '90s mascot ... which meant every moment of it was exhausting. And if you scaled every beanstalk and collected every TV remote from every nonsensical location, you received the ultimate reward: The credits rolled, but instead of listing the developer's names, the text praised your abilities. This went on and on until it became clear it was sarcasm. Then it went on and on long after the joke had been kicked to death. Then it started openly mocking you for doing the exact thing you bought the game to do. You were insulted for exploring the worlds painstakingly built by dozens of artists and programmers for no other purpose than to be explored by you. This dickhead game said these exact words to you, on the extremely off chance that you loved it enough to 100-percent it:
So, you're pretty good at this stuff? Do you have a life? Or do you play games all day? ... Just think what you could have done today instead ... You could have found a cure for cancer ... You could have invented a fuel source that didn't need dead dinosaurs ... You could have cut a hit Grunge album ... You could have seen the sun for once! You know ... That bright orange ball that seems to hang around the sky during the day. So, what are you waiting for ... Go have a life ... Get out of those superhero pajamas and do something!
Insults about getting outside more are ironic coming from game developers -- arguably the nerdiest, most overworked people in any industry. But after seeing how terrible and lazy the game's writing is, maybe they do have the rhetorical authority to tell someone how to take things easy.
Sonic Lost World Plain Forgot To Program In An Award
2013's Sonic Lost World gave players the saddest gift of all -- it forgot it was supposed to give you one. First let's talk about the game itself. It wasn't very good, even among Sonic titles. It was sort of like Super Mario Galaxy, only from a dark universe where everything was wrong. The controls barely worked, and the camera seemed determined to make everything as confusing and frustrating as possible. In addition to the main story, there were 100 extra missions. These ranged from the very easy (grab a ledge five times) to punishingly time-consuming (collect 4,500 rings) to annoyingly difficult (beat everything without getting hit). Completing everything in this game was not a simple task, and it was only natural that players expected a big present. In fact, the game even promises you one!
So you did it! You performed every task in a terrible game no one remembers on a console nobody bought! So let's see this present!
That is the next screen, and the follow-up to the line "Here's a present for you."
It's nothing at all.
The game doesn't give you a fucking thing. It said it was going to, and then didn't. And the disappointment didn't stop there. Sega fixed the error in the PC version, though when we say "fixed the error," we don't mean they added the present. No, they removed the text saying you'd get one.
Sega certainly learned from this mistake, of course, and now goes out of its way to give its weird fans the rewards they truly want: references to insane Sonic memes and criminally deranged fan art.
The Witness Rewards You For Finding Everything With An Hour-Long Lecture About Why You Shouldn't Have Bothered
The Witness was the highly anticipated big-budget follow-up to Braid by video game auteur Jonathon Blow. It turned out to be 500 line puzzles and some pretentious audio recordings on an island notorious for giving players motion sickness. The game consists of 11 different puzzle areas (or 12 if you include the pointless Orchard). Only seven are needed to see the ending, but if you complete all 11, you unlock a bonus challenge. This challenge focuses on a locked mausoleum connected to a record player ...
When you turn the player on, you have a little more than six minutes to solve some more goddamn puzzles. If you don't solve them all in time, they reset. And if you try to get cute, pausing the game will instantly fail it. Furthermore, the puzzles are randomized each time, so you can't look up the answers online like you did with those bullshit sound puzzles. To solve it, you need an almost instinctual understanding of the game, as well as the sweet fickle blessings of RNGesus. When (if?) you succeed, the mausoleum opens, and you get:
OK, it's not as bad as it looks. There's a video player in the game (they all suck), and this is in an input for it. Certainly this video will explain the stone people! Or at least who the Witness is, or why Ellie from The Last Of Us is leaving philosophical recordings about the place? No. No, it really doesn't explain much at all. Your reward is an hour-long presentation about Easter eggs and secrets in media, set over a waxing moon.
Yes, it's an hour of words too dull to merit description. You can read the transcript here, but only do so if you want to trick your body into thinking you're in a coma. Over the course of 60 minutes, the lecturer explains the corrupting nature of secrets. People will spend their entire lives and fortunes trying to find or solve something that is meaningless. People dedicate their lives to proving that Shakespeare was a fraud, or to finding the secret meanings in Bach's compositions. It finally concludes that artists shouldn't hide secrets, that they should be readily available. Why punish people who only want to be entertained? Here are words from the video itself: "Is our imagination so impoverished that we have to resort to marketing gimmicks to keep players interested in our games? Awesome things don't hold anything back. Awesome things are rich and generous. The treasure is right there."
OK, that's good advice ... which Blow should have considered giving himself before he made an island entirely out of mysteries and puzzles. The only way to get this is to obsess over the game. You need to pick the game apart and deeply understand it more than your own children. And your reward for doing so is some dick saying, "Buddy, stop trying to find stuff so hard. It's only a game." However, the video itself is a line puzzle, and you'll have to start it again once you realize it -- and yes, the puzzle takes an hour. It seems like it was designed backwards from the idea "What's the most obnoxious thing anyone could ever do with an Xbox?"
Earthbound Pulls A Real Estate Scam On Its Own Players
Earthbound is a unique RPG, set in 20th-century Americana rather than a fantasy world of dragons and elegant magic boys. Players use phones to save their game, ATMs to withdraw money, burgers to replenish health, and baseball bats to beat up hippies and drunkards. The closest the game comes to hard fantasy is when it offers you the chance to buy a waterfront house for only $7,500.
The house in question can be found before even leaving the first town. A sign advertises it as a "luxurious second home," and the salesman assures you it comes with an ocean view, beautiful sunsets, and a price tag of $7,500. While this may seem like a steal, the house is one of the most expensive in-game purchases you can make. Enemies at the start of the game only drop $6-$160, so players need to grind for hours to afford it. It is a very faithful interpretation of how long it takes to save for a home when you're a young boy and your job is beating people with a bat.
But once you get enough money to buy your house, it's worth it, right? Maybe there's a special item that can only be found in the house? Maybe there's a piece of lore hiding inside? Or maybe it's as simple as the salesman says: People should have a place of their own. He never said it would have rooms or floors or windows.
As you step into your new home, you discover the salesman was literal when he stated there was an ocean view. The house is missing the entire back wall, but that's only one of the serious issues with the place. The remaining walls are cracked, the floor is mostly holes, and the bed is a gnarly lump of exposed springs. There are no items, no lore, and no getting your $7,500 back.
You can, however, get your picture taken amidst the wreckage. To "bring back the fondest of memories," the photographer claims -- possibly with the same level of sincerity as the salesman. In the end, you were tricked into spending dozens of real hours to earn enough fake money to buy a real shithole by a fake NPC programmed by a real dickhead. Enjoy!
Breath Of The Wild Gives You Crap ... Literally
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is a beautiful, amazing game, set in an open world that rewards experimentation and exploration. Rather than hours of tutorials, the game gives the player the basics from the get-go, then sets them loose to play at their own pace. You can head straight for the boss if you want. He'll kill you gruesomely, but it will be your choice to let him.
However, nothing is perfect. One of the biggest hurdles in the game is not the puzzles or the bosses, but your inventory space. Managing it is a constant struggle, as weapons seem to break so quickly that it's barely worth picking them up. Every monster you encounter ends up auditioning to see if they're worth hitting with your good sword or just slowly getting beaten to death with your worst stick.
Fortunately, you can increase your inventory space with the help of an oversized Korok named Hestu. Every time you give him some Korok seeds, he'll dance around and use the power of his maracas to upgrade one of your weapon stashes. Video games are insane.
This seems like a fair concept. Korok seeds are scattered across the world, often obtained after completing small puzzles. Ergo, it's another reason to explore the world and dig into every nook and cranny of the game. Unfortunately, there are 900 Korok Seeds. That is, arguably, way too goddamn many. To put that into perspective, one video walkthrough showing all the Korok seed locations is over eight hours long -- and it, of course, does not account for time spent traveling from location to location, completing puzzles, and fighting all the nearby monsters. You could always stop at 441 seeds, as that's when your inventory maxes out, but 441? You're almost halfway there! You're committed! Plus, there's an exclusive reward for completing the quest! Wait until you see it!
After giving Hestu all 900 seeds, he'll give you a special item called "Hestu's Gift" as a symbol of your friendship. And maybe it's a big honor among his plant monster people, but it's a golden turd. After a lifetime of collectible collecting, this guy hands you a piece of shit.
In case you think this is some kind of misunderstanding or mistranslation, we admire your beautiful heart, but no. According to director Hidemaro Fujibayashi: "We just kind of thought it would be funny to make that a big joke [...] It's just the backstory, the kind of hidden kind of thing in the game the whole way is that the Korok seeds are actually Korok poop."
So you've been collecting poop, and your reward is more poop. Looking back, it was sort of foreshadowed from the first Korok seed you found. The item description mentioned its "distinct smell," but this seems like strangely delicate language to use when you're speaking to Link, the deadliest mass murderer and most unrepentant pot smasher Hyrule will ever know.
Curiosity Promised To Make One Winner Rich And Powerful (Then Promptly Forgot About Him)
Curiosity -- What's Inside The Cube? was a mobile game from Peter Molyneux, meant to work as both a competition and viral marketing strategy for his other upcoming game, Godus. Players from around the world would be faced with a giant cube, and chip away at it block by block.
This was about as fun as it sounds, but players were motivated by the promise of a grand prize. The player who got to the center would receive something secret, but fantastic. Now, by this point in the article, you might expect the prize at the center to be the knowledge that it was you, the players, who were inside the cube all along. But those of you familiar with Peter Molyneux, the Darth Vader of gamer disappointment, know it's somehow even dumber.
The winner, Bryan Henderson of the UK, was presented with the above video, promising that he would receive a cut of all of the profits from Godus, and also be allowed to dictate the rules in the multiplayer, like some kind of god. So the entire thing was basically Ready Player One, if James Halliday hated joy.
But hey, money and a chance to control a universe wasn't such a bad a prize for poking at a big cube. All that had to happen now was for Molyneux's game development to go as planned, which is a funny thing to say if you follow his career. Godus did get released in 2013, but it was in such a piss poor state that five years later, the game hasn't come close to making any kind of a profit or even leaving early access. It doesn't even have multiplayer yet, so Bryan's status as a god is ceremonial at best. It is unlikely to get completed anytime soon, as Molyneux was last seen in 2014, chasing a shiny piece of wrapping paper around London. Kidding, he's started and not finished three new games since he failed to complete Godus.
Molyneux didn't even bother to keep in touch with his grand prize winner. Bryan's liaison quit the company, and nobody else was ever assigned to keep in contact with the poor "god." But don't worry! Molyneux learned of the mistake, apologized, assured Bryan they would remain in communication, and then forgot about him again.
A competent studio took pity on Bryan and started the Forgotten God bundle, with 10 percent of the profits going to him, just for being jerked around for so long. Yes, people started a fundraiser for him. Which means winning Peter Molyneux's amazing Golden Ticket contest ended up being about as lucrative as breaking your leg without insurance.
Michael Battaglino is a new contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article. Ed Stevens would like to thank commenter Sparxter for the Sonic Lost World tip ... and for playing it so he didn't have to. Domini Gee writes, game devs, and drinks lots of tea. She can be found through her site, blog, or looking into a mirror with a cup of tea and speaking her name three times (maybe).
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