The Top 7… Pointless game wars

5. The Russian-American War

As fought in: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

What it is: A full-scale invasion of the US East Coast, sparked by a misunderstanding following the discovery of an American agent’s body at a Russian airport massacre.

Pointless because: The entire war was masterminded by one man, Lt. Gen. Shepherd, your commander for most of the game. The Russian terrorists who committed the “No Russian” airport atrocity were working for him, and the CIA agent you played as during that sequence was set up to be a patsy from the start. The whole thing was an act of petty revenge on Shepherd’s part, because not enough people felt bad when thousands of his troops were nuked in Call of Duty 4. But by bringing war to the doorsteps of civilians, he muses, he’ll drive up military recruitment and ensure that everyone knows what it means to be a soldier, or something. It’s kind of half-baked.

Also half-baked? Thinking that sparking a full-on conventional war between Russia and the US won’t have farther-reaching consequences than everyone wanting to be a soldier. There’s a reason the Cold War never went completely hot, and it’s the same one that killed Shepherd’s troops: nuclear weapons. Luckily, nobody thinks of them except for when Capt. Price detonates one in space to “stop” the war with an EMP blast, thus putting the American and Russian troops on more or less equal footing. At least Price recognized how utterly stupid the whole invasion was, even before he knew who was really behind it.

4. Russian-American War II: This Time With Robots

As fought in: Vanquish

What it is: An invasion to free an American space colony that’s been hijacked by a Russian-ultranationalist robot army and used as a weapon of mass destruction against San Francisco.

Pointless because: Vanquish might be totally unrelated to Modern Warfare 2, but like Shepherd’s little recruitment stunt, this war was an inside job. It’s pretty hard to argue that striking back against the seizure of a multi-trillion-dollar space platform and subsequent destruction of a city is “pointless,” but what else do you call it when the whole ordeal was set in motion by your own president?

Above: President Winters chats with her former buddy 

In an effort to bring the faltering economy back to life, US President Eilzabeth Winters backed a coup of the Russian government by the ultranationalist Order of the Russian Star, just so the US would have a new enemy to go to war against. Correctly suspecting they were about to be betrayed, the Order then immediately invaded the Providence space colony, using it against the US before it could be used against Moscow. And they did this apparently without spending a single Russian life, as the US threw countless live Marines against a wall of robotic Russian steel.

Above: And all these cool space battleships, too 

Not even villain Victor Zaitsev was present, instead attacking hero Sam Gideon by remote control before nuking Providence into space dust. So, to summarize: Russian ultranationalists (who would never have been in power if the US hadn’t wanted to create an enemy to fight against) start a robot war in space to seize a secret superweapon intended for use against America’s self-created enemies. Awesome, yes, but also moronic and completely unnecessary.

3. The Endwar

As fought in: Darksiders

What it is: Not to be confused with Tom Clancy's EndWar, the Endwar is a world-ending battle between Heaven and Hell, fought in an alternate take on Christian mythology in which angels and demons are two warring cosmic forces mediated by a neutral “council” of screaming stone heads.

Pointless because: It’s never entirely clear why Darksiders’ versions of Heaven and Hell want to annihilate each other in the first place, but they had an agreement in place: they wouldn’t go to war until the Seventh Seal was broken, signifying that humankind had advanced enough to join and survive a war between the two sides. OK, fine; assuming both sides have their motivations, and they want humanity to play a part, that seems like as good a setup as any for a videogame war. Or it would, if the Seventh Seal hadn’t been broken early.

It’s not until Darksiders’ final act that you’ll actually learn why the Seal was broken early: fearing that waiting too long would allow Hell to become stronger than Heaven, the angel general Abaddon decided to covertly break and then repair the Seal, kicking off hostilities while covering up who had done so. Naturally, his plan backfired, Hell won, and humanity and the angels were exterminated – with Abaddon’s help. After being seemingly killed in the war’s first battle, Abaddon eagerly accepted a second chance at life, on the condition he lead Hell’s armies as The Destroyer.

Above: Do not trust this man

So, let’s recap: An angel wants Hell to lose the Endwar so badly that he starts it early, only to die in battle. Rather than accept defeat, he eagerly makes a Faustian pact, turns on his comrades and becomes the lynchpin of Hell’s near-total victory. All in all, a well-thought-out plan.


Top 7


  • SideOfBeef - March 5, 2011 5:20 p.m.

    The war in the End War was actually way more pointless than many of these article entries. Russia wants a war with NATO for no apparent reason, takes control of a European laser and shoots down an American spaceship. So... America goes to war with Europe for no particular reason, and Russia decides it should fight both of them for no obvious gain.
  • tifanity - March 2, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    I don't know, I really like the Hypermania Storyline. I like the fact there are four goddesses ;(
  • cougarmony123 - March 2, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    Not really sure I'm ok with that!! better ask my friends met on =====Cougarmony . C o m ==== know what? I do think people I met there are hot and sincere! Desipte the actual so-called Age Gap, we get along together splendidly!! and I'm even thinking about romance there!! lol
  • KrazyGamer - March 2, 2011 3:02 a.m.

    War... War never-*Looks at Tomastr89's comment* Damnit... XD
  • JPorFavor - March 2, 2011 2:14 a.m.

    Ah Advance Wars, that brings back memories. I remember listening to Talkradar while tackling a mission that had usually led the enemy and I trading blows that would result in extremely long battles. Then one night I destroyed the enemy in less than 10 turns and gained an S rank. Then a month later my little cousin overwrote the save data, to this day I refuse to touch that game because of the painful memory. Wonderful top 7 as always, Mikel.
  • cougarmony123 - March 2, 2011 2:05 a.m.

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  • waffman11 - March 2, 2011 12:38 a.m.

    I thought that the "Space Civilization vs. Geth and Reapers" war in the Mass Effect series was a little silly, if only because of the alliances. The Geth are fighting with the Reapers because...religion? Or because they were indoctrinated? The idea of a race of AI who grow more intelligent in groups because of linking via mainframe/hard drives having a religion is preposterous in itself. But then take the fact that there was the possibility of them having been indoctrinated that would have been a cause. Although indoctrination requires an organic whose mind can be directly manipulated. The games try to explain the idea of religion within the Geth, although the nature of the Geth would defeat the very idea. Of course, there is also the idea of the Geth-Quarian conflicts, but that's for another time.
  • Sebastian16 - March 2, 2011 12:08 a.m.

  • Yeager1122 - March 1, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    The console war the only war that never ends.
  • Crypto140 - March 1, 2011 8:54 p.m.

    Lol at the end of Hyperdimension Neptunia, the limited editon comes with a 36 page hardcover book. Thats not the only thing that's hard *rimshot*. And I don't know how you got the console wars idea from that game, I got another idead *rimshot*
  • AlphaAGENT144 - March 1, 2011 8:02 p.m.

    i saw the first page thinking "No MW2?" but then i was like "THERE IT IS!"
  • elpurplemonkey - March 1, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    Best Top 7 in a while.
  • Cleanser247 - March 1, 2011 7:05 p.m.

    Great Top 7 Mikel! Keep up the great work : )
  • FoxdenRacing - March 1, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    Kinda surprised to see that Armored Core: For Answer didn't make the list...granted, even at its peak it was obscure at best, but it did manage to pack two pointless wars in one game! First war: massive corporations build city-sized battlestations that are so powerful they don't dare engage one instead they send lone mercenaries in apartment-building sized battle suits to fight proxy battles against one another...or against the battlestations themselves. And somehow, these massive, unstoppable, terrifying battlestations are inevitably destroyed, often with little to no harm inflicted, by said lone dude in a puny piece of power armor! What are they fighting over? The resources left on a dustball-ified Earth with pollution so thick that only a small fraction of humanity with a specific mutation [radiation tolerance] can survive on the surface. War 2: Eventually the surface-dwellers have enough, gather some forces, and wage war against the corps as a whole, causing them to quit their petty bickering, put the (dust)bunny back in the box, and unite to fight back. Somehow, every super-corporation on the planet, with limitless resources and three times as many world-renowned power-armor piloting mercs struggle to fight back against 11 schmucks in power-armor and a rag-tag bunch of hippies using outdated equipment. Granted, this is the developer that gave us the awesomely bizarre Metal Wolf Chaos... What were they fighting over in war 2? How many people died now, and how many died later. Eventually, everyone on the planet was going to die; the two sides fought over who died first. One side fought to protect the status quo...floating cities that belched out heavier-than-air pollution gas that was building up to the point the floating cities would have suffocated anyway, but long after the surface-dwellers were killed off. The other fought to make several of the floating cities crash to earth [dooming the non-pollution-breathers in them] and divert the power to supercharging artillery batteries, in order to punch a hole through a network of military satellites so they could...I honestly don't know. I don't think the rebels thought that far ahead. The capability for space travel was lost after the satellite network made it pointless to try, so it's not like they could just round up the surface-dwelling survivors into cyber-noah's ark and fly through the hole to escape a dying planet or anything. I can't think of any reason for these wars to exist other than as an allegory to class warfare and a warning against aristocracies. Doubly so since the backstory of the game [presented in cutscenes] tells of the companies jointly declaring war on the world's governments, dissolving the same, and then instating their own rule.
  • Japanaman - March 1, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    If you ask me the most pointless war in history is Worms. They just fight for land but end up destroying most of the land that exists. They would have had more land if they signed a peace treaty.
  • codystovall - March 1, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    so is Arfoire really the bad guy here? hmmmmm
  • jackthemenace - March 1, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    D: But i quite want to play Hyperdimension Neptunia! Still looks like a good game though, and the story actually sounds incredibly clever. That'll do me, It's cleverer than Pokemon.
  • FauxFurry - March 1, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    Leave it up to a fictional female U.S. president in a Japanese game to start a war over flimsy reasons...kind of like every male president who started a war with ill-stated if not altogether dishonest justifications whose real motivations were perhaps not even known to said presidents or their advisors. Okay, maybe there was no sexist intent there, after all. There is one game war even more pointless than any of these listed here (except for the Console Wars...not that one can really have less points than none at all), the Base Wars. A Robot War as the National Pasttime rather than over a modern pasttime,fought for points and penants--it doesn't get much more pointless than that!
  • Waldo - March 1, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    That war in Days of Ruin was hard to wrap your head around, that's for sure. A good mention for this article though. No wonder it never made any sense though; the whole war was masterminded by a clone gone so insane he killed his master and used clones of himself as test subjects for horrible experiments. Adavnced Wars is still great, can we have another?
  • philipshaw - March 1, 2011 2 p.m.

    Great top 7 and every game on the list except AC seems to have a dumb plot

Showing 1-20 of 48 comments

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