Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even more unquestioned gaming oddities

A sequel to "The never-questioned and omnipresent video game oddities".

For as long as games exist, there shall be a never-ending stream of oddities. Here is but another small selection of the crazy stuff that happens in games.

Free anti-gravity boots to every game star

Perhaps the craziest of all video game super abilities would have to be the infamous double-jump. First you jump, then (In mid-air), you jump again, launching off of nothing. Somebody wanna explain this to me?

A few games offer reasons as to how these feat is possible. For example, in some Metroid games players are unable to double-jump until acquiring a special set of space boots. But in other games such as, say, nearly every platformer ever made, there's no reason given at all. People just do what they please, it seems, laws of physics be damned.

Side effects include: Visions of floating coins

While we're on the subject of gravity-defying anomalies, what is up with all the floating items in games? From hovering coins to a cache of arrows levitating in the middle of nowhere, things just have a tendency to float in the magical world of video games.

Please discard all weapons at the front door

Why is it in many Zelda games that you can't use any weapons indoors? With a few exceptions such as mini-game houses, you can never whip out your sword or bow and arrow inside a building. Even some towns prevent the use of weapons (Hyrule Castle Town in Twilight Princess, for example). I guess they don't want you accidentally mutilating an innocent bystander, but with the frequent use of "Can't touch this" (As described in the last installment), what does it matter?

Let's not burn bridges... Because we can't physically do so

What is it with some wood being burnable in games, but other wood being fire-proof? If the characters in the game somehow managed to make a bridge incapable of catching fire, why not just make it out of stone instead? It'd probably be a lot easier than conjuring permanently moist cedar.

And what's with unbreakable wooden doors or whatever? Link can slice and dice monsters like they're ripe onions, but he's somehow foiled by a wooden door? It's not as if he can't kick it down or whatever. Link has bombs, too, but they don't do squat. Go figure.

Black holes make excellent space-savers

Black holes. There can be no other explanation for Cloud Strife holding so many items in a seemingly bottomless (Not to mention invisible) inventory. Too often to game characters have far too many items in far too small a space. Am I expected to believe that a Pokémon trainer's backpack can hold 99 of several different kinds of Pokéballs, a huge stock of berries and a bicycle? How about the gargantuan Biggoron's Sword simply disappearing when Link isn't using it? Where the hell does it go?

The answer is black holes. I cannot accept any other explanation.

This urgent mission can wait while you stock up on items

I can't count how many times a game has given me an urgent mission. And just about as numerous are the times I blew off this dire quest to go stock up on items or perform a side quest. "What's that? Team Magma is stealing a submarine? Gimme a minute, I gotta go participate in a Pokémon contest first.". You can run around for days doing whatever you please, and come back to find that Team Magma's still in the process of stealing the sub.

Time waits for no man. Unless that man is a main character in a game, in which case it'll wait up.

All Goombas come with complimentary invisible spikes

For some reason, merely touching many enemies can inflict sometimes fatal damage on your character. It usually doesn't even matter where you touch the foe, either. Just tapping a Blooper's dorsal fin knocks a chunk out of Mario's health. They must have some sort of damaging forcefield installed or something.

And this hardly seems fair, doesn't it? I say Mario should be able to kill his foes from touching them. I guess I'll just have to settle for the Starman until that day comes...

The above is but one more drop in the giant bucket of bizarre gaming happenings. Look at pretty much any game and you'll be staring an oddity right in the face. Whether it's an indestructible wooden door or an endlessly huge inventory, I can pretty much guarantee a game will have at least one physical impossibility within. But, if games were totally realistic, I don't suppose they'd be any fun, would they? Games are fiction, not fact. But still, a little less spitting in science's face would be nice.

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1 comment:

Freezair said...

Here are a couple platformers I can think of that offer explininations for the double jump:

Banjo-Kazooie: Kazooie, being a bird, can use her wings to both gain a little height and extend their jump. Makes sense. Though this doesn't entirely explain their "crouch jump," which still seems a bit... wonky.

Also: The above goes for any character who's got wings, really. So long as the wings are actually utilized as part of their double jump.

Rocket: Robot on Wheels: One of my favorite "games nobody has ever played," the titular robot gains a jet-boost upgrade. He can increase the height he jumps by firing small boosters during the jump.

Psychonauts: Psychics can levitate, so Raz briefly uses levitation to hold him in the air for just a bit longer. Although you can double jump before you get the Levitation power... Hmmm... It uses the same "levitation ball" image, though.

Super Mario Sunshine: ...Which, IMO, is not as bad as everyone says it is. Anyway, Mario gets more height and distance through "jetpacking" again, though this time with water pressure. What's odd is that Mario, remarkably, doesn't usually HAVE a mid-air double-jump...