I am a hateful person. I hate many things, and I hate them a lot. Of the many things that I hate, there is a particular kind of burning, searing, venom-filled variety I hold for any aspect of a video game that makes that game overly frustrating and obnoxious. This is especially true when this one aspect nearly ruins an otherwise great, or even just good, game.
Some of the worst offenders are characters. Nothing ruins a game faster then one or two characters that you want to disembowel with a soup strainer because of their high-pitched voice, constant whining, repetitive catchphrases, or just plain jackassery. And so I present to you the first part of Things that Ruin Games, the most gun-in-the-mouth-annoying video game characters, fit for nothing but to dwell in the back of our collective consciousness for the remainder of eternity, to act as both punishment and reminder of our gaming sins.
10. Bemused Bystander– This one is more of an annoying type of character that exists throughout many games, especially open world sandbox games. Have you ever had a friend or family member that never got new material? Who insists on repeating themselves ad infinitum, ad nauseam, and ad something-else-um, and still believes that what they have to say is important? Of course you have; we all have. Now, multiply that guy by 200 and condense him to 20 hours. Welcome to the world of the Bemused Bystander, the nameless NPC wandering the streets of wherever, and who always has a witty comment about your actions, be they scaling a wall or simply walking by. These little quips are often quite amusing at first. Then you hear them say it for the 5478th time , and you start killing random civilians. Because for some reason, everyone in the city knows the exact same two sentence speech about the inappropriateness of your actions. Please, game developers, either add more speeches, or allow an option that will turn them the hell off.
9. Sonic The Hedgehog– Back in the day, you could never have convinced me that I would come to hate Sonic.
Nowadays, you have to convince me not to.
It’s not so much that Sonic himself is annoying, unlike his “gifted” partner Tails, but the fact that every Sonic game released is worse then the last one. This is a character that is not, in essence, annoying, but whose continued existence allows for more and more annoying games to be, well, I won’t say that these games are made, as that implies a certain level of work went into creating these pieces of crap. Instead, I will say that they congealed, a far more appropriate term, if I do say so myself.
8. Minstrels– Fine, fine. So they don’t come anywhere near ruining Assassin’s creed II, but they are still freaking annoying. If I wanted to hear a song, I would turn on my Zune (ACTIVATE SHAMELESS MICROSOFT FANBOY POWERS) and listen to Bon Jovi. Hell, if I wanted to hear a crappy song, I could turn on my little sister’s Zune and listen to Avril Lavigne. I have no want or need of you, you Peter Pan looking pansies. The only reason that the Minstrels beat out Beggars from the first game is that killing the Beggars had no real negative effect, while killing Minstrels nets you Notoriety. I don’t understand why. I think of it as a service to society.
7. Hannah Montana– She is Hannah Montana. She is in a video game. ‘Nuff said.
6. Males in Japanese games– This counts for pretty much everyone in every Final Fantasy game or other JRPGs. I have this one thing to say to every Japanese game designer: Pick a gender. If your character is a guy, especially one that is supposed to be particularly badass, then either make him look like a badass guy or explain why such a badass guy looks like a 14 year old girl (I’m looking at you, Lost Odyssey). And don’t try and tell me that you don’t know how to draw masculine men; I have seen you do it. The problem is, you guys pretty much reserve manliness for the bad guys. Hulking, armored, Dark Lords of Nagaga or The Gitsuterubi of Shubidubi or some other nonsense word-laden title. And yes, I’m aware that muscley square-jawedness isn’t the only kind of manly, you can also have the badass thief or trickster or rogue or whatnot, one who is either A) Mysterious and brooding or B) Sarcastic a-hole. I’ve seen this character often enough, as well. I’ll just leave this with; Androgyny does not equal awesome.
5. Pikachu– Goddamn piss colored rat. Granted, Yellow is probably the wort Pokemon game of all time, but nothing killed that game more then Pikachu. “Pika! Pika!” JUST STFU AND GET BACK IN YOUR BALL! Why did the developers insist on making that electrified squeak-toy follow you around? What was the point? Maybe they just wanted to create a scapegoat game.
“Wow, that Pokemon game sucked!”
“Yeah, but remember Yellow? Remember the Pikachu? Things could have been much worse.”
“Too true, too true…”
And do you know what the worst part is? That obnoxious Rodent/Duracell became the spokesman for the whole franchise. Wait, maybe not spokesman. Spokesthing? Spokescreature? Wait, no, it’s too perfect… SPOKMéON?
4. Anyone with your phone number from GTA IV– In real life, sometimes your friends call you. In real life, if you don’t answer your phone when they call, your friends will start to like you less. In real life, your phone can ring off the hook some days. In real life, we play video games to get the hell away from real life and run over pedestrians in a Porsche on a crowded sidewalk in the middle of a major city without getting calls from increasingly obnoxious friends who always have the same conversation and always need a ride, the lazy bums.
3. Natalya– Now, I’m not going to say that every computer programmer is smart. In fact, my theory is that the better a programmer is, the dumber they are at everything else. Many of them likely cannot do anything other then program, and end up seeming fingerpaintingly retarded in every part of their life that does not involve a computer, an IDE, and several Hot Pockets. But even the most single-minded codemonkey knows that when James Bond is shooting, it is wise to avoid the area between him and whatever he is shooting at, especially if those things are shooting back. Natalya is apparently the single greatest programmer in the world, because this is exactly what she does on many, many occasions. To this day, I cannot play Goldeneye, simply because I know I will likely spend hours on only a few levels where Natalya DIES, OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
2. Mr. Resetti– I understand that turning off the system without saving is bad, and I understand that you are upset, but if you don’t stop talking, I’m going to put that pick axe through your eye. Do we have an understanding? Because not only will I kill you, but I will follow your tunnel back to your little mole family, and I will introduce to them a world of pain that they do not know exists. Then I will personally hunt down any person that you ever loved, and slowly flay them with a rolling pin. Now get yourself back down your hole before I throw this game against a wall.
1. Navi– “HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN! HEY, LISTEN!”
Now if only there was something we could do to ease our collective rage at these horrible characters, something completely deserving of their painfully annoying ways. Alas, these punishments are reserved for our dreams…