Games make us do strange things. Really, really strange things. Things that if you did them in real life you’d either be rushed to hospital, reported to the police, or both. Probably both. I’m talking about the ways we test games to make sure they have that element of believability, whether that’s because we want to know whether they cause us grievous bodily harm or just want to see the level of detail devs have put in their titles. Sometimes it ends with you saying “huh, cool”, or sometimes you find yourself being attacked by every single NPC, and a handful of chickens, within a five-mile radius. I’ve rounded up just some of the things we do in video games that make us look like chumps – knowing full well that I will never, ever stop doing any of these things. Ever.
1. Walking into fire to test fire damage
When you first see a bit of fire crackling in the distance, instead of appreciating its life-sustaining warmth and light, what do you do? Walk into it. Us gamers willingly take damage just to make sure that the developers made environmental fire damage an actual thing, and then for some reason we’re contented when the flickering amber flames do harm us. All I can say is thank god that scrapes, bruises, and burns in video games all disappear at the drop of a hat, as without those life-saving healing salves/kits/herbs you’d be walking around looking like Freddy Krueger.
2. Not shooting dogs to see if they’ll magically stop attacking
Look, I just don’t like the idea of shooting a pup in the face. So whether it’s the wild dogs of Far Cry New Dawn (opens in new tab), the wolfhounds of Skyrim (opens in new tab), or Metro Exodus (opens in new tab)’ german shepards, even if they’re coming at me with bared teeth I’m liable to holster my weapon and just double check whether they’re actually going to try and rip my throat out. Because I’m sure, deep, deep down, they’re still good boys. Yes, even the mutant hounds of Fallout 4 (opens in new tab). Or is that just me? Yes? Cool.
3. Wondering if there’s fall damage too late
Ah, the wisdom of hindsight. Shoutout to radicaltrains on Tumblr (opens in new tab) for voicing this gem, as many a time you’ve probably looked over the edge of a cliff or wall, briefly assessed how likely it is that you’ll shatter your kneecaps when you fall to the ground… and then done it anyway. Now, your legs are broken and your health is low; you know that there is most definitely fall damage and that it doesn’t mess around. If it makes you feel better, some games (like Borderlands 2 (opens in new tab)) don’t have fall damage, so there is precedent for testing out whether plummeting to the ground will break your limbs. Promise.
4. Shooting glass and mirrors to see if they shatter
If there’s anything that people typically use to preen themselves, you’re going to see if it can smash. Don’t ask me why. To hear the sound of breaking glass, perhaps? To see whether the developers have made it destructible? Who knows. I just like seeing shiny shards on the floor.
5. Compulsively reloading
I am most definitely guilty of this: doesn’t matter whether I’ve fired one shot or sixteen, I will reload my gun without hesitation, just to make sure the mag is full. Because what happens if I’m facing off an enemy and they’re so close to dying but I have to reload in that split second and then they kill me? What if that happens?! Oh brain, you might be an outstandingly intelligent organ piloting a meat suit, but sometimes you can really be an overthinking minx.
6. See if we can kill NPCs
This is one for those of you who just love testing how far you can push a game. You probably also enjoyed tormenting your babysitter too, didn’t you? Admit it, there’s no judgement here. Doesn’t matter if the character in question is currently pouring out their Tragic Backstory™ of their spouse’s death after their child died of a very long, drawn-out disease; you’re probably already aiming at their forehead with your gun. But it’s OK! You can just reload your last save (thank goodness quick-saves exist) and act like it never happened. Just tell the NPC to ignore that strange déjà-vû they’re getting. You come in peace. This time.
7. Not wanting to switch out your weapon for an obviously better one because it’s not pretty
All I’m saying is that if you have a particular aesthetic vibe going on, the one thing that can really throw you off your game is finding a weapon that’s powerful enough to make a demon whimper but looks like it's been designed by a chimp. Maybe it’s a hot pink. Maybe it doesn’t have that cool design on the hilt. Or maybe you’ve just got a bit too emotionally attached to your current deathstick – it has gotten you through so much, after all. Either way, very few damage leaps are legitimate enough to warrant giving up your beloved weapon when the new one is just simply not nice to look at. Because, like me, you’re shallow like that. And that’s okay.
8. Getting annoyed when an enemy heals
Let me get this straight: I am allowed to heal. For me it’s ok; you however, mini-boss no. 3, are being an absolute cad right now for glugging that healing elixir when I’ve only just whittled down your health to the last third. Parviocula on Tumblr (opens in new tab) is right: it’s just plain rude. How dare you make use of the resources at your disposal to try and prevent yourself from succumbing to the sweet embrace of death. It’s just not fair.
9. Going back for more after we’ve had our ass handed to us
Who in their right mind, after being killed by an enemy, would go back for more? Us. We gamers don’t give up easily, and it might mean that we throw ourselves into danger, but damn if it isn’t inspiring. We persevere and take an utter beating in the process, but after practising more and learning how our enemies fight, you can bet that in the end we do our damned to triumph. Excuse me, I’ve got a tear in my eye.
Want to find a game to do all these ridiculous things in? Here are the best RPG games (opens in new tab) around right now for you to sink your teeth into (metaphorically, that is: CDs aren’t nutritional at all).