9 bizarre ways we've saved the world in video games

Save the earth, man

How many times have you, personally, saved the world in video games? 10 times? 100? Ok, lets just say your answer is likely to be "more than I have in real life". Rescuing the planet from certain doom is usually a job for chiselled space-marines called Chet Gunly, but sometimes--on delightfully rare occasions--the saviour is someone hugely unexpected. The geek, the reporter, the weird asexual blob.

This feature celebrates the more unusual ways that we--as players--have saved the earth from certain destruction. Well done, us. Needless to say, the plot of each game on this list is a little ridiculous, so sit back and enjoy the madness.

By doing menial jobs in Job Island

Oh looky, its another giant asteroid heading towards earth. How can mankind stop this one from wiping out all traces of humanity? Well, theres a magic wristwatch thatll solve the problem. Great. Lets just use it to destroy the asteroid then, you know, we can all carry on living. Sounds fair.

Wait: whats that? No-one has noticed except a young boy? And he needs to buy the watch from a tawdry TV shopping channel? And literally no-one will lend him the cash to buy this earth-preserving device? NO-ONE? In fact, theyre willing to force him into underage employment so he can raise the money to save their worthless lives? This world isn't worth saving: let it burn, young man. Obviously.

By doing some funky dancing in Space Channel 5

If you want to brainwash the human race, what better way to do it than by controlling TV broadcasts? Thats the plan of Space Channel 5s real baddo, Chief Blank. All he cares about is ratings, and hes willing to suppress journalistic truth (which--to be clear--is achieved via dancing in Space Channel 5) to get those figures.

Sexy lady-reporter Ulala is having none of it. She dances for journalistic integrity (and to be clear, nothing says 'journalistic integrity' quite like a tiny skirt, a skimpy top, and a pair of orange FMBs), and its up to her to save the human race from Chief Blanks hypnotic lies. And she does that in the only way she knows how. By dancing. And shooting a strange pistol whenever anyone shouts Shoot. Does the trick, though--Chief Blank gets blasted into space at the end of the game, which seems a little harsh now I think about it. Obviously.

By playing a giant video game in Assassins Creed 3

The Animus in Assassins Creed is, essentially, an advanced video game. It lets you enter a world, play as a character, and never suffer the real-life consequences of death or dismemberment. Its brilliant. Not only is it fun, the Animus also lets you save the world. See, the core premise of AC is that personality-vacuum Desmond Miles is looking for artefacts that will help him prevent the destruction of the earth by a solar flare.

This tired, confused plot all comes to a dramatic end in Assassins Creed 3 where Desmond plays the Animus so much that he somehow gains the knowledge to open a pedestal inside some ancient temple, which activates an alien shield, saving the planet from toasty death by solar flare. Obviously. He dies in the process, too, but only after moaning about his fate for about 100 goddam hours in previous games.

By rolling stuff up into a giant ball in We Love Katamari

How do you save earth from being destroyed by a massive asteroid? Use a magical watch! Oh, damn, this isn't Job Island. Ok, let's use plan B: by rolling up pretty much every object on earth into a giant ball, and firing it at the asteroid. Worked for Futurama (with a ball of garbage), works for the King of All Cosmos in We Love Katamari.

Katamari has always been gloriously bonkers, and this is actually one of the most sensible justifications for rolling up a load of stuff into a giant sphere. Obviously.

By skating and graffiti in Jet Set Radio Future

Look, Jet Set Radio Future is a game about the dangers of censorship and the suppression of creativity in youth culture. And greed, if you believe the epilogue by DJ Professor K. It stars a bunch of mute skater-stereotypes who spray graffiti over every street in Tokyo like incontinent dogs, endlessly marking their territory. How can these guys and girls possibly save the world? Glad you asked. You did ask, right?

See, head bad-guy Gouji wants to broadcast his evil message (of censorship and suppression) to the whole of Tokyo, before moving on to the rest of the planet. Its another mind-control plot, only with uncool music and muted colours instead of brain waves or TV signals. The GGs foil Goujis plan (which also involves him turning into a giant monster, for some reason) by skating around a lot, dancing to admittedly awesome music, and tagging things with graffiti. Obviously.

By driving a car in Full Auto 2

Theres a reason driving games rarely have plots: its because theyre usually shit. In Full Auto 2 (the PSP version) a sentient computer called SAGE has taken over the planet, and is forcing humans to race each other to the death in cars with guns welded onto them. Seems legit.

You enter races all over the world to gain control over SAGE in a process thats never properly explained. Its something to do with a group of scientists who invent a way of controlling SAGE via car-based combat. Look, the plot really is awful. All you need to know is that you essentially save the world by driving around a bit, shooting dudes, and shutting down the mega-computer when you win all the races. Obviously.

By boiling bacteria in Sam and Max: Save the World

Skip forward to episode 6 of this madcap pointnclick adventure. Hugh Bliss is revealed as the main villain, and hes set up a base on the moon that houses a mind-control device. Hugh hopes to enslave the whole world with his dastardly machine, Sam and Max want to stop him.

Sounds easy enough. Until we learn that Hugh Bliss is actually a colony of sentient bacteria, which takes the form of a human to blend in. How do you kill bacteria? Well, Sam tricks Hugh into a giant tank of water, and the pair then use the rockets of the lunar-lander to boil him to death. Obviously. I'd probably just use a family-sized bottle of Dettol.

By matching gems in Puzzle Quest: Galactrix

Thousands of years in the future, humanity has colonised the galaxy. Power now lies with four mega-corporations, and you--as the player--start the game as a novice pilot in the service of one of them: the MRI. You defeat enemies by matching coloured gems, tipping power and influence in the favour of your own corporation. Perhaps this is a universe where the people who make Candy Crush Saga enslave the human race and force us all to match three objects to the death. Or something.

Surely using a gun or vaporising them with the cannons of your spaceship would be a more effective method of conflict resolution than pushing a fistful of gems around a table. Whatever. Anyway, the further you progress in the game, you more you realise that theres an alien menace threatening the whole universe, which can only be defeated by matching coloured gems. Obviously.

By rolling around a bit in LocoRoco

Ok, the planet in LocoRoco probably isnt the earth. Not unless youve been eating those special mushrooms again. However, you still save it by doing some weird stuff. So it totally counts. The Mui Mui (the blobs you shift around in the game) are a peaceful race, growing vegetables and singing to make their world all lovely. Therere lovers, not fighters. So when the Moja Troop arrives and starts fucking shit up, the Mui Mui dont have a clue about how to defeat them.

Enter you, the player. You actually play as the planet in LocoRoco, tipping the useless blobs around the screen in an attempt to wipe out the Moja Troop. Obviously. The Mui Mui are pretty passive in all this. They just kind of hang around, being amorphous passengers, as you clean up the mess for them. In hindsight, it probably isnt worth the effort, and you should really just leave the Mui Mui to die out. Survival of the fittest and all that Plus, their singing is very, very annoying.

Whoops. Sorry, Mother Earth

Ok, there you go. 9 bizarre ways weve saved the world. Got any suggestions for games I missed? Does anyone actually read the text in these exit slides? Probably not. Ive written all manner of awful stuff in here during previous features and no-one has raised a single eyebrow. No-one takes any notice if I just end it with the phrase: Leave your comments below.

Sink your teeth into more of our delicious features. Heres one about the 9 Worst Man-Made Disasters In Games. And heres another on What If... Video Game Characters Were Sold As Pets.

Andy Hartup