Virtual children are undoubtedly worse than the real thing. Diminutive, shrill and noisy, you can’t even send them to the naughty step when they’re misbehavin’. We’re used to solving our videogame problems with violence, but due to standards of ‘good taste’, that approach isn't generally allowed with young-uns.
Often voiced by high-pitched women because kids can’t act, they also tend to look…weird – like shrunken adults. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of youngsters in games whose toys we’d love to take away, but can’t. Read on…
Zill (Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
One of the residents of Outset Island, you might know this little fella better as ‘snot-nosed kid’. With a constant strand of stretchy white nose mucus hanging from his face, Zill and his nasal hygiene issues seriously puts us off our sandwiches. But a seemingly phobic approach to tissues isn’t his most irksome feature.
Whenever Snotzy catches sight of Link, he’ll follow him for a short time, even bumping into him if Link stops moving. Somebody get this kid a restraining order wrapped in a handkerchief. Have you ever tried looking cool in front of the lads (or a group of pirates) with a disgusting infant cramping your style? Link must look lame enough to Tetra and the gang dressed in his all-green ensemble, without the added burden of babysitting.
Young Wastelanders (Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas)
Kids will always be around. Even after the apocalypse, when all there is to play with is turpentine and some surgical tubing. The recent Fallouts are stuffed with the blighters, a common sight in the New Vegas outskirts being gangs of hoodlums gleefully chasing irradiated rats. Those things carry diseases. The kids, we mean.
Take the young vendor on the corner of New Vegas’ Freeside who shouts: ‘If it can be bought, it can be sold at Mick and Ralphs!’ Constantly. On a loop. Because developers know better than to give the good lines to children. Though the Child at Heart perk allows you to verbally influence kids, it would be better if the little blighters were programmed to react to bullets. And who invited those brats to our birthday party in Fallout 3? Not us.
Street Urchins (Fable series)
If Call of Duty is the Jean Claude Van Damme of the gaming world (an action man’s man, all but incomprehensible) Fable is the Dick Van Dyke circa Mary Poppins – charming, bursting with all sorts of British accents, but essentially a big fat stereotype.
In Fable, if you’re not a cockney, you’re a spluttering toff, the same reasoning applying to its younger characters who either beg for money on the stained street corners of Albion’s industrial estate or strut around the more privileged areas, snidely making fun of your dirty shoes in a manner most Etonian. Only it’s even more hurtful because they’re smaller than you and you can’t kick them as you would a chicken.
Katie (Dead Rising 2)
Escort missions suck. This is a gaming fact, as sure as our hatred of QTE’s and unskippable cutscenes. It’s a shame then that Dead Rising 2 is basically one long escort, our hero Chuck ransacking Vegas for the antidote which will keep his daughter human long enough for him to regret not using his time on the zombie-infested strip to instead ENJOY HIMSELF.
Perhaps we’re being mean. Katie doesn’t necessarily demand you find her a cure, and there’s nothing stopping you neglecting your daughter, choosing instead to slap a chainsaw to a kayak paddle and pirouetting into a crowd – besides fatherhood guilt, that is. We just find her presence distracting. Like a disapproving Gamestop employee looking over your shoulder as you begin your sixth hour on a demo kiosk.
Luke (Professor Layton series)
Luke cramps the Professor’s style. Slows him down. We just know Layton has the answer to that brain-bender – he always has the answer. But he has to compensate for his young apprentice’s inexperience, talk plainly and clearly, and even give him ‘hint coins’. Patronizing, yes, but Luke deserves it. If we were him, we’d feel a bit like a fifth wheel.
Luke’s constant ‘What’s this, Professor?’ is made worse by his aggravating voice acting (voiced by Maria Darling, a female) which almost makes us resent the game’s abundance of otherwise gorgeous cutscenes. To be fair, the lad is obviously less experienced than Layton, and being under the tutelage of a thoroughly polite, top-hat-wearing gentlemen, is bound to turn out all right in the end. Either that or his brain turns inside out from too much lateral thinking.
Baby Mario (Yoshi's Island)
Granted, Baby Mario’s more of a baby than a child (the name is a dead giveaway) but we really didn’t want to whittle this niche concept down further. Now, unless you were brilliant at Yoshi’s Island and never dropped your baby once (which is hard enough in real life), you’ll have heard Mario’s loud, piercing wail. It is the very sound of failure. As Yoshi, take but a simple knock and Babs Maz starts bawling, which continues indefinitely until either you pick him up again or he gets carried off by enemies.
In fact, Baby Mario annoyed us so much in the almost-great-if-it-wasn’t-for-Baby-Mario platformer, we would much prefer to play Yoshi's Island: No Screaming Baby Edition. Our final analogy? Yoshi’s Island is like a 'delicious chocolate that attracts hissing spiders'.
Unlike other entries on this list, we aren’t annoyed by Cereza because she has a poor voice actor or gets in the way of the action. We are annoyed because she makes our brains hurt. Cereza turns up relatively early in the game, tugging on the tassels of the titular witch and referring to her as ‘mummy’. We’re no experts, but we believe that makes her Bayonetta’s daughter.
Except she isn’t. According to the story, Cereza is Bayonetta. As a young girl she was sent to find her future self by Father Balder. So why isn’t she just called ‘Mini Bayonetta’ then? Because then it would make far too much sense.
Shaun and Jason (Heavy Rain)
Of this whole list, these two plonkers have to be the worst. Badly behaved, badly accented and borderline brain-dead, the young sons of Ethan Mars start their father on a downward mental spiral from which he barely recovers (or hangs himself in prison, depending how you play).
First, there’s Jason: Demanding he be bought a balloon from a creepy clown, then walking off as his father pays for it – cueing much parental panic - and finally triggering his own death by blindly running into traffic. And what about Shaun? Sulking as his father prepares him dinner, berating him as he tucks him into bed, and disappearing from Ethan’s side after his pa’ blackouts in a park. Sure, his brother died and his parents divorced, but still. Utter Plonkers.
Whiny, Sweary, Mouthy Kids Online (Real life)
Running into these horrors at some point in your online career is a mathematical certainty. It doesn’t matter what game or what age certificate is on the box, you’re going to have an encounter and they’re going to ruin your time. Unless you like petulance, tantrums and ill-founded claims of kill-stealing.
Mostly calling our mothers names in shooters such as Halo Reach and Black Ops, they also inhabit sports titles like FIFA and Madden, quitting out at the first sign of a loss. Occasionally they’re found online strategy games, upsetting the usual genteel status quo with terribly BM (Bad Manners). Sure, prepubescents aren’t the only ones who can act immature online, but they certainly make up the rank and file.
Can't believe we didn't include Obviously Annoying Kid X in this list? Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments.
Are there any other babies that have driven you mad? Let us know in the comments!
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