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Pure Collectible Awesomeness! (Deathspank & many other RPGs)Time to put on your learning helmets children. Because I'm about to let loose knowledge so strong and manly (like Bull) that it's going to blow holes out the backside of your skull if it isn't adequately protected. Stuff you in all likelihood did not in fact know! Stuff you probably don't want to know.
Like, remember the main character of Driver? His name was Tanner.
Back in the day when people were even less imaginative than they are now, people used to get names that were basically what they did for a living. If you were hangin' with Mr. Cooper, they probably were a Cooper (someone who makes barrels). The Smiths probably had an ancestor that was a Smith (makes . . . stuff, but probably out of metal). Don't even get me started about the unfortunate McBullmasturbator clan (they painted eggs).
"Tanner" was no different - they tanned hides. How did they do this? They stripped the still bloody skin off animals corpses, then soaked the disgusting meat strips in a trough of piss and feces*! Yay! Apparently wearing stuff that had been dripped into vats of sh*t wasn't a huge deal when everybody stunk up the joint anyways (it was the middle ages after all). But since there isn't a family called the Fatguywhowefeedjustsowecollectheirrectalchunks, where did all the poo needed for the tanning process come from?
Why from Pure collectors of course! See Tanners used dog crap* mostly, and that's what these guys did. They collected dog droppings and sold them to the Tanners!
Obviously it was a time before we taught our dogs to do this themselves
Now being a Tanner was a pretty low-class job obviously, but being a "Pure" Collector? That was even lower. At the time, about the only thing considered by most folks to be even lower were *shudder* . . . actors.
Considering some performances . . . this might have been a better system
So what does this have to do with video games?
Well sometimes, a game developer realizes that have the stuff you collect for your random fetch quests is pretty boring and almost always arbitrary. After all, pretty much every fetch quest is exactly the same: Questgiver A demands X number of Y item. You either kill X+N (N being the number of enemies who won't drop the item since it's "random") number of Monster Z, or who harvest X number of resource point Q.
Basically it's a bunch of tedious running around doing the same old s**t*. I know it. You know it. The developers know it. Maybe this is why sometimes they just say,"Screw it! Might as well be collecting ACTUAL s**t* then!"
This leads to stuff like Breath of Fire 4's "Fairie Drops", World of Warcraft's "Azsharite" or Deathspank's collection of unicorn poop:
Or sometimes they just calls it like it is:
But yeah, just remember the next time some random NPC shows up with a damn fetch-quest, and it involves collecting dung, manure, or any form of actual crap*, that means they're basically turning you into a Pure Collector! Which basically means they think that you're worth less than a Tanner.
And that's pretty low devs. I'm pretty sure we gamers are better than most of the Tanners. OK, maybe not Uncle Jesse. But the rest?
"????" (Majoras Mask)The Legend of Zelda:Majora's Mask is still my favorite of the 3D Zelda games. It's easily the weirdest Zelda game out there, and that's saying something when you come from a series that has exploding mice,giant eyeball/goo bosses, and talking bird hats!
The game had some sweet dungeon design, the ability to let you turn into a kick ass rock monster Goron and a sleek Dolphin-Elf Zora. It had some cool tunes and a plot ripped straight out of one of Bill Murray's best movies, Groundhog Day. It even introduced us all to everyone's favorite video game child molester: Tingle!
If this man asks you to get into a van, DO NOT DO IT! Unless he offers candy first.
OK, wait. That last one might not have been such a great feature.
Anyways, like I said, it was a rather odd game. No more so than when we meet this guy:
We find him in the Clock Town Inn. He doesn't have a name, and he doesn't have a back story. All we know is that somehow he got stuck in the damn toilet, and he has a freakishly long arm. Oh, and he needs our help.
"With getting out of the john?" you might ask.
Oh no. Nothing that sane. That would make far too much sense for a game that involves mask magic and flutist time travel. You're silly.
No, this guy (I guess), for whatever reason, would rather you just give him some - Survey Says - paper! Theoretically because he needs to go the ol' number two and wants to wipe his ass.
When he's already in a septic tank. Probably covered in the excrement. Of all the guests in a hotel.
Whatever floats your boat, guy.
So anyway, if you do give it to him he nonchalantly yells "Yaaaay" in the world's most exasperated tone and gives you a T2 thumbs up. . .
. . . before giving you a heart piece. I'm not sure how Link uses those exactly, and it "appears" to be clean (surprisingly) but my advice would be to wash it first. It was just down the commode and covered in fantasy-world fecal matter!
Hell, Gorons use this hotel! They eat rocks. I don't want to even know what they pass through their intestines. . .
Unless maybe that's what rupees are? It would explain why you find them in places one could easily use as a john (bushes, tall grasses, pots).
If that's the case, then Tingle got even weirder:
Awgh. And it's "freshly picked" too. Eugh.
Down the Outhouse (Fallout 2)While we're on the subject of going down the drain of a classic commode, let's talk about Fallout!
Yay! Everyone Loves Fallout!
It's just so damn American!
Specifically, let's bring up Fallout 2 and the town of Modoc.
Now Modoc, like many towns in the Fallout universe, is one of those little backwaters where everybody is just barely getting along and has a bunch of problems for your hero (in this game, "The Chosen One") to solve, because in RPGs no one can solve problems on their own.
You've got your usual stuff: a kid's gone missing, there's something fishy about the local omelettes, and there's a drought brought on by "mysterious" circumstances. All normal RPG stuff for you to fix. But there's also this one side quest that I absolutely love to death.
The Statler and Waldorf of the town, Farrel and Cornelius, have an old feud over which one of them has an old pocket watch. If you do a little digging, you'll find that the watch fell down an outhouse.
So you climb down there (ugh) and discover a cavern filled with "goo". Hip deep in most likely irradiated Modoc Farmer droppings, you fail to find the thing, but as you're about to leave you notice that there are some rocks that block the cavern which opens up a little bit more. In the more recent 3D games, this type of obstacle would pretty much be insurmountable. But in Fallout 2, dynamite could (like in real life) be used to solve just about any problem you had!
Rocks in your way? Dynamite the rocks! They won't be in your way for long!
Broke the lock on a door? Dynamite the door! It comes off at the hinges!
Lousy punk kids pickpocketing you? Let them steal your lit dynamite!
And if they happen to blow up this way, you don't even get the Child Killer "perk" shown above! That'll teach 'em!
So that's what you do here, rig your explosive, set the fuse and walk a few feet away. However, if your character is smart enough, you get a little blurb of text in the info window that lets you know that, oh yeah this is the bottom of an outhouse. It's full of compressed methane gas - which is flammable.
So you hightail it out of there just in time to completely blow the outhouse up and cover the entire town in "goo". At this point you can go down there and pick up the watch (it's defended by a molerat that somehow didn't get blown up in this explosion of pure awesomeness and bowel evacuation) but why bother? You've succeeded at a much greater goal: you've just covered an entire town in their own "chocolate rain"!
Now that's a successful quest! And just one of the many reasons Fallout 2 is my favorite in the series.
The Animals of Thieves' Forest (Castle Crashers)You know how those long Family Guy jokes are funny at first, then they keep going and you hate them, then their still going and your starting to get annoyed, then they keep going and for some reason it's kind of funny again?
You know the bit I'm talking about.
Yeah well they definitely over stay their welcome, but there' also something to them isn't there? But how to make it better . . .
I know! Add animals! Who s**t* themselves! To death!
Enter Castle Crashers, and its infamous forest level.
For those not watching the video, basically . . . you enter a thieves forest and what do you find but thieves! So you kill a few of these brown hooded bastards in tightened hoodies that make their faces look like the ol' chocolate starfish -
I mean, that's not just me right?
- and you move forward toward your purloined princesses. Then you hear a rumbling thud. An owl in the background hears it too! The ground shakes, and the owl is scared! It releases it's bowels in fear! And keeps going with it . . . eventually tipping over. Dead from unloading itself all over the damn place!
The same thing basically happens with a deer and a bear a you progress through the level. Except in the deer's case, it actually propels it's self away due to force of its explosive diarrhea!
You keep going and kill a weird cylindrical black-furred boss/goblin/imp thing, when suddenly the monster appears as you head into an abandoned sawmill! It's a humongous troll and it wants your blood! So you jump on the nearest available deer and run from the monstrosity (which for the longest time, I thought was a cat) as fast as your forest mammal can take you, trying not to fill your own pants with it's own diaper-load of terror!
It's a hell* of a moment, and leads to one of my favorite demotivationals:
Seriously, if you encounter one. Don't lose your s**t* over them.
Going Down The Drain (Sewer Shark)I hate sewer levels. In fact who doesn't hate sewer levels?
They're long wastes of time, usually REALLY boring to look at (oh hey brackish water and metal pipes . . . again), needlessly confusing and often just boring. Yay, I killed another rat. How (sigh) great for me.
Oh and yeah, it means you're wading through the creamy butt nuggets of everyone else. It's not something a lot of these games actually bring up, but hey, let's be honest here. That's what's going down.
Besides, you know who lives in the sewer? That's right. Tim Curry. Best not to ever head down there if you can avoid it.
The worst part about these damn levels has got to be that they're ubiquitous. Oh sorry, I don't think I can afford to use that word in this economy, and the readers who think talk radio stretches their mind further than Reed Richards stretches the Invisible Woman's vagina are probably lost anyway. So I'll simplify my meaning here: THEY ARE IN EVERY GODDAMN GAME.
Just look at the entry for "Sewer" at Giant Bomb. That's a minimum of 246 different games that have us wading through a damn sewer at some point or another. Two. Hundred. And Forty. Six. So yeah, they've been done to death.
What happens then, when someone who hates all of humanity decides to make us suffer a thousand torments for their dark lord N'Ryleth does so in the form of a video game? They make the entire thing a sewer level, that's what. They would probably also make it an FMV game just to ensure rank failure.
Enter Sewer Shark. For Sega CD.
Ah The Sega CD. One of the many attempts to weaponize terrible.
Now, I won't bore you with with a review of this king of the ass goblins (here's a good one ) both in order to spare you time and myself some semblance of sanity. But know this:
Sewer Shark is why your mom cheats on your dad with you "uncle" Rick Douchenbach. Sewer Shark will render you as impotent as a retarded giraffe trying to stop the mongol hordes if you even attempt to play it. Sewer Shark's only redeeming factor is that it can be destroyed via fire. Sewer Shark is what happens when love dies, and you're forced to bury it in the Nevada desert at gunpoint, crying.
It's not all that great a game is what I'm trying to get at.
And it's entirely set in the sewers (except for when the fat guy from Total Recall taunts you from the beach), which are full of nothing but sewer sauce. It's the most fitting setting for a game as s**ttarded as it is. The perfect example of the Sega CD. The perfect example of FMV games. The perfect example of why you should never have to go through another sewer level ever.
But the second the tavern owner wants your level one adventurer to kill some frigging rats again, where are you going to end up?
Hey I'll just toss that jerk some dead feeder rats. He won't know the difference.
I'm not going back to another sewer. That's for sure.
The Fantastic Colonoscopy Voyage! (Prey, Lost Planet 2, etc.)I'm a big fan of games that allow a more realistic approach to killing giant monsters.
I know at first that seems like a contradictory juxtaposition of words there - what with "realistic" and "giant monsters" not really being congruent concepts a lot of the time.
Ha Ha. Giant Enemy Crab reference. Ridge Racer etc.
But what I'm getting at is, I think it's pretty retarded that in most MMOs, RPGs etc, you often end up fighting a big, gigantic beast or golem or putty that Rita made grow with her staff or something, and most of the time you stay at foot level. Which means that it seems pretty goddamn silly when you eventually kill the damn beasty from a rather uncouth pedicure.
It would make sense if the humongoid foe actually had it's weak point at foot level. But even Jason of the Argonauts has only a 1 in 5 chance of fighting an enemy with this specific weakness. The rest of the time he's battling skeletons, hydras, harpies, and Hercules' homoerotic come ons. The point is, you probably aren't Jason.
No, I like it when the little kid has to crawl over the colossus's hairy back and stab him in the eye. Or when you jump on the dragon's neck and stab him back of the skull. Or when you just say "F**k it." and jump into the damn monsters mouth, hoping to be the world's biggest alka seltzer tablet, and the he's the world's biggest pigeon.
Now usually you jump into one of these giant bastards through the front entrance (their big gaping pie hole) and you come out the same way. Or, you blow your way out through their stomach . . . in your four-wheel drive truck?
OK. So apparently that happens sometimes.
But you know what, some times you aren't so lucky. Sometimes you take . . . the back door exit.
Like in Lost Planet 2 when you face off against the Gordiant.
He's a gargantuan gross sea slug . . . but still kind of adorable. How odd.
Killing this giant mofo involves a quick bit of watersliding through his intestinal track while shooting at his innards in an act that always reminds me why I'm banned from Raging Waters. However, at the end of the ride you're probably not making a cannonball into a calm kiddy pool, you're getting crapped* out onto the lawn like the painfully explosive diarrhea you are!
Then there's Earthworm Jim, who went through one intestinal adventure per game for his first two games (although they might have been living planets or something, I'm not sure). Or how about when Mario and Luigi fought the giant Yoob in Partners in Time? That ended with a quick trip out the purple poop chute!
That's not a normal colloquialism, Yoobs just happen to be purple . . . ish.
While we're on Nintendo, remember Link's run through Jabu-Jabu in Ocarina of Time? Maybe my memory is as funky as this list, but the final boss wasn't near where I would think the Whale's brain would be, but more . . . toward the back. As far as I can tell, you're pretty much clearing parasitic "blockage" in the form of a boss. Link! The Hero of Time . . . and Whale Deity Proctologist!
But then there's Prey. Sure you're technically on a "spaceship", but when it's ALSO an organic entity, a lot of the passages end up resembling colons, a lot of doors, *sphincters. This holds pretty true when you're just moving around levels and working your way through the insane architecture, but then sometimes a sphincter* will open up and just crap* all over you like life craps* all over Jon Arbuckle daily.
It's especially gross once you realize . . . this ship eats people.
So before the brown went to town on Tommy, it was probably someone he knew.
Prey. A game where you move through an alien like a piece of s**t*, fight aliens that look like pieces of s**t*, and get shat upon! Metaphorically too, since the new "sequel" apparently has nothing to do with the first and Tommy is getting the axe!
Yay! Removing interesting characters with established continuity in favor of . . .
. . . yet another generic, white, military dude. Who stole Sam Fisher's backpack. Why are they doing this again?
Save Points (No More Heroes/Dead Rising)For as long as I can remember, a common way to joke amongst friends has been to assign video game-esque properties to daily activities. Surprisingly, this happened before the internet was a thing. I'm not sure if that makes it sadder or more awesome, but there ya go.
Obtaining a new or highly needed item (like a copy of a house key)? You got the THING!!
A buddy grabs that beer for you while in the kitchen? "Thank you!" "OK!" "Heavy Machine Gun!"
. . . and so on. Since video games are the short hand for many of my friends, a natural thought occurred.
"What's the real life equivalent of saving your game?"
Well sleeping. Duh.
This has been drilled into our brains by far too many innkeepers.
But sleeping is for when you want to save and quit for a while. Take a break. What happens when you want to make a quick save then keep playing?
That's what dropping the kids off at the pool accomplishes. Or at least it does in Dead Rising. . .
. . . and in No More Heroes.
At what point in your day is there a better moment to reflect on what you've accomplished so far? Time to consider where you're going to go forward? Before momentous occasions, like a long journey or a confrontation with a significant other, what's the one thing you make sure to do?
That's right. You make sure to sink the porcelain pirate with your colon cannonballs! Just like saving before a boss fight, you do it "just in case".
So while right now only a few eccentric Japanese game designers seem to have caught on to this phenomenon, but it's a start. Soon it'll be the norm. Maybe. Am I wrong to hope this?
*looks at the rest of the list*
OK yeah I'm probably permanently wrong forever now.
The Great Mighty Poo (CBFD)
It's a giant, singing boss that is literally made of Dingleberry Roots! It's a bit of Hell's Candy that eats innocent pieces of sweet corn to turn them into its teeth! All of the verses of its song describe synonyms of "stool".
Somehow, toilet paper hurts it, but then again, somehow this Royal Road Apple also claims to have an anus to call its own (Which it promises to shove Conker into for some reason). It's also inside a structure that seems to be both made OF s**t*, and yet is a toilet?
Wha? I mean . . . guh?
Seriously makes no sense.But then again, neither does most of Conker's Bad Fur Day. Except in the drunken "god I hope I didn't get anyone ugly pregnant last night" kind of way. Like that bit of analogizing it's pretty crude, and it's often disgusting.
Hell, in this boss fight, you can run around refilling health the same way you always do in Conker, by eating chocolate that rests on the ground. The ground which is made of Mississippi Mud. Chocolate, which resembles said surface.
Uh Conker? You might want to rethink that. Just saying.
So you might be sitting there, saying "Hey, this is a pretty funny idea. Why hasn't anyone else done it since?"
Well if you are, then you've got some nerve pal. Making assumptions like that.
(Yes, his eyes are corn.)
Crapped out of one of the greatest villains of our time DR. FETUS! Brownie here at first seems like the perfect "evil version" of our beloved hero: Super Meat Boy!
But lo, events don't unfold quite the way Dr. Fetus intends. Or at least not as fast as he wants anyway, as he proceeds to cause a flood of salt to careen through the factory you're in, threatening both Meat Boy and Brownie!
In the end, following Brownie's path is actually kind of helpful, and proving what a great guy he his, Meat Boy even endeavors to save him. But that Dr. Fetus is a total prick*, and hurls bricks at the both of you until Brownie sadly drops to the deadly salt flood below!
As "boss fights" in SMB go, it's a pretty interesting challenge, if not exactly a battle per se. While Brownie is definitely more charming than the Great Mighty Poo (especially considering he's just a turd-block), the question remains: Does he surpass him?
I'm going to say no. Just because.