5 Games That Messed With Players' Minds (Without Them Knowing)
Back in 1998, there was this forgotten indy game called Metal Gear Solid, which blew players' minds when they realized they needed to switch controller ports when battling Psycho Mantis. While most post-MGS games (MGS2 notwithstanding) refrain from openly trolling players, there are still some cheeky devs out there running psycho experiments on us all ...
PUBG: Battlegrounds Unleashes An Army Of Terminators Upon Its Playerbase
The recently renamed PUBG: Battlegrounds began its life PlayerUnknown's: Battlegrounds, meaning that the title now translates into PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds: Battlegrounds. Did you get that? Cool, because it's about to get weirder.
PUBG blazed the trail for the battle royale genre until it lost like 5 billion players to Fortnite. How did PUBG deal with this? By making a deal with Skynet, of course. They decided to add bots to fill up matches to speed up the matchmaking process. Originally, these bots were too easy to kill, making them either a nuisance or a means to artificially inflate players' already Macy's-day-parade-balloon-sized egos. Players soon grew tired of the gimmick, which got PUBG corp to – intentionally or not -- turn the difficulty up to 11. Out of nowhere, these bots went from AI redshirts to terminators. The PUBG community is notoriously prone to complain about cheaters, and these bots were the equivalent of cheaters legitimized by the system.
A Reddit user captured a video from the bot's perspective where it's crystal clear he has lightning-quick reflexes as well as the ability to see through walls. It got so egregious out there for players that PUBG corp had to release an emergency hotfix to calm down the bots' murder rage. If you read the patch notes, you'll notice nothing because they've been deleted.
Watch Dogs: Legion Will Just Stroke-Murder You
Watch Dogs: Legion forgoes the trenchcoat cyber-ninja protagonists of the first two games for a bunch of random people you can recruit. That's really cool because it spreads the beautiful message that you don't have to dress up as a modern-day version of the Assassin's Creed guy to be a hero. Unfortunately, however, the game then gloriously undermines its attempt at inspiring any meaningful change by ensuring many of these new recruits are not up to the task. It does so by very kindly just having them die out of nowhere -- not as a glitch, mind you, but as a feature.
Blame the "doomed operative" trait, Legion's random-death mechanic.
At its best, it might give the most insecure players the solace of an excuse for their failure if things go wrong, but it's also likely the very reason they fail in the first place
Imagine humiliating the AI so hard …
… that it unplugs you from the matrix.
The good news is that you're not really bound to play as any of these operatives, so you can just embody a healthy someone, then look for "doomed" characters and have a lot of fun waiting to see them get game over-ed. Actually, that's a lie. Ubisoft stated that operatives only really become "doomed" once you recruit them. Just when you thought Ubisoft was out of depressive material.
Some Games Are Actually Playing You
Ever feel like the Nightmare difficulty bots from Quake are always going to beat you no matter how decent at the game you get? If not, chances are that's because there aren't many Quake players left. It turns out that Quake bots always know the player's exact location, regardless of how well you're moving or
cowardly tactically hiding. They can also instantly hit you as soon as one of your character's pixels gets out of cover.
If you're one of the few who manages to get just marginally defeated rather than obliterated (your gamer grandpa calls it pwned), then congratulations, you're pretty good. The only reason these bots don't instantly shoot you is to make it look like you stand a chance. Even so, players on the Quake Champions Reddit claim the bots should fake it even harder, as it's been ages since any new player has achieved week-old veteran status.
An even scarier version of these lying-ass bots is that of the Xenomorph from Alien: Isolation, who was originally so dangerous developers programmed two brains into it: one programmed to do typical Alien stuff, like killing and killin', the other programmed to make it less of a killing machine. Though the purpose of the game is to hide from the alien, he's actually ever-aware of your presence. Luckily, he has that second brain that makes him toy with the players by making them feel like he doesn't know.
NieR: Automata Tasks Players With Losing Everything
Everyone wants to play the hero, but how many players have the guts to sew their own silly costume and wear it? NieR: Automata plays with you but doesn't play around when it comes to completionism. To get fully done with its story, NieR: Automata requires players to finish its main quest over and over, and then, when they think it's all done, the credits themselves rise up to fight the player. The battle is tougher than expected, but players count on the unexpected help of what they'll probably assume is a bunch of randomly generated names.
Once the final cutscene plays, NieR: Automata has players making the toughest possible decision a gamer can make about a game they love. They can either save their data and get to replay the game as if it was nothing or delete their save file. This is not a joke. This is the game actually seeing what players are made of. The good part? Many players actually turned out to have their hearts in the right place. It's only when players are faced with that final challenge that it might dawn on them that the names helping them were not AI names but the usernames of players who'd sacrificed their own save files just out of altruism.
The Impossible Achievement
Some people just need to reach 100% completion on all games. To that, Johnnemann Nordhage, the lead designer of Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, would probably say something along the lines of "Welp, screw you, in particular." The game created an achievement that no one can get, no matter how many in-depth YouTube guides they watch.
If you look it up on Steam, you'll see that the game has 38 achievements, but when playing, you'll notice that you can only get 37 of them. The remaining one, also called "Where the Water Tastes Like Wine," cannot be earned, and it's putting completionists everywhere on refund watch.
But it shouldn't. Turns out that the reason for dooming everyone to 99% completion is both pretty cool and actually ties into the game's actual completion more than a shallow achievement badge ever could. The very long-named game tells the story of a fictional but real United States of America which fails to deliver on its grand promises to most people. The game touches upon lots of bad stuff from America's racial history. The message of the game is that there's no actual place where "the water tastes like wine" right now.
So maybe let's get done with racism, even if just so the devs release a patch allowing for players to get the final achievement. Could be worth it.