The evil within
If video games were real, we'd all be guilty of mass murder. From lobbing sticky bombs at sedans to wiping out entire species on a whim, there's just something so darned enjoyable about causing virtual chaos. Like a hardware store for psychos the open-world sandbox meets all of our destructive needs by handing us the tools to do... whatever we damn well please.
Much like a real-life sandbox, some folks enter the fray with a keen idea to build, while others turn up intent on destruction. Then then there's the third type of person; the kind of kid who gleefully pees in the sand, laughs maniacally for 40 seconds, then slowly ambles away. This type of person, ladies and gents, is currently inside your favourite games, committing these 8 acts of unadulterated bastardry.
All tied up in... Red Dead Redemption
Not even the breakneck pace of prairie gazing can distract some gamers from their sinful impulses. Some men just want to watch the world soil itself, repeatedly, and with cartoon sound effects. In the world of Red Dead Redemption, there's more than enough dirt to go around, with dirty britches, dirty faces, and some damn well dirty deeds. Tavern vibe not to your liking? Try executing that cheery pianist. Local nun giving it the 'holier than thou' routine? Let her test it on an angry bear.
Then of course there's the 'Dastardly' achievement, an accolade that rewards Mr. Marston for hogtying a helpless woman to a railway track and watching as she's promptly pulped. Our in-house evil-o-meter registers this grievous misdeed as a strong 6, but in order to ratchet things up to 11, players will need to get creative. One particularly vicious method involves lassoing a random character, before rolling them over a cliff. This so-called 'lynch glitch' requires some truly dark-hearted persistence to pull off, though the eventual payoff--a one-way ticket to Satan's subterranean condo--is well worth the effort.
Street justice in... Sleeping Dogs
Cracking the Hong Kong Triad seems like a pretty stressful gig, what with all the back alley brawling, summary torture and abysmal karaoke to contend with. Luckily Detective Wei Shen has plenty of opportunities to blow off steamevil steam that is. As my dear old grandmother used to say, "there's nothing so soothing as a random bout of ultra violence", and that's certainly the case here.
You see, whenever evil Wei decides to unwind, he can just grab one of the games many NPCs and apply some blunt-force, automotive trauma. Despite being designed with nasty triads in mind, Sleeping Dogs' wealth of context sensitive attacks also work on everyday pedestrians. Spot an overheated pork bun merchant and you can quickly fan him down with a few blasts from a car door. For an extra sinister twist, players can also choose to beat and bundle said vendor into the boot of their ride, before taking off on a whirlwind tour of the city. Additional Sith points are available for blowing up your motor with its screaming victim still inside. Emperor Palpatine would be proud. If he, yknow, drove a car to work.
Going Thelma and Louise in... GTA
The Grand Theft Auto series was one of the first franchises to truly unleash the beast, encouraging players to run amok in an open-world environment primed for crime. As such, the GTA community has never lacked for evil escapades. From play-along torture scenes to cannibal cults, car bombings to squishing Hare Krishnas, this series is as immoral as it gets. At least according to Fox news.
As one of the better known nasties in the GTA playbook, the act of carjacking might seem a little too tame to merit inclusion here. Well, just try telling that to the terrified passenger in Trevor's back seat. This is, after all, carjacking with a twist. Where most commuters are quick to ditch their ride, some of GTA's slower NPCs will occasionally stick around for the long haul. By keeping your new car above a certain speed--yes, just like in the film Speed--players are able to thwart any attempted escape, while seeking out the best spot for an impromptu Thelma & Louise reenactment. Failing that, gamers can also choose to ditch their ride in a local water source, drowning the poor passenger, but saving a pretty penny on carwash bills.
Extreme water-sports in... Just Cause 2
If that last entry reminded you of Quentin Tarrantino's Death Proof, then get ready for its pulpy partner in crime Planet Tether! I'll give you a minute to Google that gag, and a further 15 to laugh yourself hoarse. Ok, moving on. Simply put, 2010's Just Cause 2 is all about tethering stuff to other stuff; whether that's cars to cars, tanks to cars or people to other terrified people. Finding out just what sticks to what is easily the best part of the entire game, with applications ranging from the Bond villain-esque to Mad Max-style carmageddon.
Tether a man to a vehicle and you can drag him around like a fleshy anchor. Latch him on to a 40ft wind turbine and let him go for a spin. Pin a squad of grunts to a fighter jet for that just married tin cans on tarmac look. It's all possible, and all deliciously wicked, though nowhere near as evil as this terrifying trick. By dragging an NPC to a small lagoon on the outskirts of Rajang Temple, players can introduce said meatbag to a massive mechanical shark (it's really just a big fin). Tether exhibit A to exhibit B to let the extreme water skiing commence.
Till death us do part in... Skyrim
Nothing says "hard day at the office" like slicing up an entire village of NPCs. You boot up the game, give autosave the night off, and commence to blasting random bumpkins. It's actually rather cathartic, in a Charles Mansony kind of way. You're breaking the game, poking around in the code, and having a good old look at the result. One moment you're the all-conquering hero; lauded by lords and small folk alike, the next you're annihilating a friendly blacksmith with a hammer the size of Stockport. Charge me for that armour, will you?
Skyrim takes this rotten premise one sadistic step further, with the introduction of the 'dead thrall' spell, allowing evil-minded folks to raise the recently deceased and compel them into action as henchmen. As with Sleeping Dogs, this system is designed to be used on enemies (in this case, ghouls and goblins), though it also works well with everyday people. For true villainy, players can choose to betray and execute a loved one, before raising them up as spectral servants. Wash, rinse and repeat for infinite torment. Muahah!
Zombie party in... Minecraft
If Minecraft teaches us anything it's that a desperate battle for survival needn't necessarily be glum. Sure, you might be living in a world where the dead rise nightly, and a misplaced chisel-blow is enough to land loved ones in hot lava, but just think of all the benefits. There's digging, building, bright colours and yes, even more digging to be done. Sadly, no matter how much work you put into crafting a township and then defending its borders, those pesky zed heads will always find a way inside.
Of course, the real meat of any zombie romp lies in its cast of cutthroats, those horrible humans who make life as a survivor so damned entertaining for the rest of us. As the only real human knocking around in the average game of Minecraft it therefore falls to you, the player, to be Minecraft's resident bastard. The best way to do it: by creating a basement bunker for your entire township. When everyone from Elijah to Agnes has safely arrived, hit the lights, lock the door and introduce one solitary zombie. Let the party commence.
Zombie buffet in... Day Z
Where Minecraft's cast of greying ghouls are more on the cartoonish side, Day Z ups the ante with a more lifelike approach to zombiegeddon. Entire towns are deserted and resources are running low, but by far the game's most realistic aspect is the day-to-day douchebaggery of your fellow players. As the old saying goes: give a man canned tuna and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man to hunt and he'll loot noobs for a lifetime.
In the dog-eat-dog world of Day Z, it's never a good idea to be spotted by these kinds of roving jokers: bandits with big guns and nothing but time and terrified newbies to kill. Most of their evil escapades are restricted to gaining a player's trust, before blowing them away, but of course this list deals with a slightly darker class of criminal. For a truly dastardly act try driving a player out into the middle of a zombie hotspot, before breaking both of their legs. Follow that up with a series of loud noises and you've effectively rung the undead dinner bell. Bon Apptit.
Juvenile delinquency in... Bully
Rockstar's teenage troublemaker, Bully may baulk at the idea of full-on murder, but there's still plenty of nasty little surprises in store at Bullworth High. Cherry bombs in the ladies' lavatory, stink bombs in the cafeteria, and burning bags of dog poop on the PE teacher's porch: just some of the juvenile shenanigans available to play.
Of course, the sandbox experience is all about creating your own brand of fun, even if that brand is labeled with 'certain expulsion'. While not nearly as devious as some of the other entries on this list, Bully's floor marbles and fire alarm trick certainly reads like the training wheels exercise of a future convict. By spreading these spherical playthings in front of an exit and then pulling on a nearby alarm, players can force hordes of terrified students through a gauntlet fit for TV's Gladiators.
Watching the world burn
How many of these evil acts have you committed? BE HONEST. Which putrid pranks have we missed out? How long is a piece of string? Answer these questions and more, by heading down to the comments section below.
Want more features about evil stuff? Why not! Here are The Most Hateful Things The GamesRadar Team Have Done In Games (opens in new tab). Not quite evil enough for you? Here are The Most Overly Elaborate Evil Schemes In Games (opens in new tab).