Oh humanity. Why are you so often the author of your own doom? The world--in games, especially--is a hostile enough place with its weird alien invasions, its constantly erupting volcanoes, and its regular earthquakes. Youd think humanity would be busy enough fighting for survival, rather than hastening its own demise. Yet, thats exactly what happens in so many modern games. Mankind brings the pain to itself.
Here are a few examples of the worst acts of self-destruction by video game humans. I decided to leave out examples of war, because thats probably another feature in itself. No, these are the examples of humanity repeatedly punching itself in the face in more creative ways.
Gears of War 2 - Flooding Jacinto
Sera isnt in great shape. Humanity has mined the crap out of it and theres a long, long war raging between the Locust and the handful of people who survived Emergence Day. So things are grim. Couldnt get any worse, could it? Oh, right, it can.
At the end of Gears of War 2 Marcus Fenix deliberately uses an orbital laser to destroy what he thinks is the stronghold of all the Locust and Lambent hordes. Doesnt really work out that way. What does happen, however, is that Fenix floods the entire Jacinto plateau--one of humanitys last refuges--essentially dooming the remaining human population of the planet to slow death. Thanks Marcus, old bean.
Final Fantasy VII - Squashing Sector 7
You have to wonder what was going through the minds of the people who designed Sector 7 in Final Fantasy VII. The upper plate sits directly above a densely populated lower area, and--for some sick reason--theres a release mechanism that allows the upper area to fall neatly, yet violently, onto the people below. Did no-one see this as a potential health and safety issue?
This disaster waiting to happen plays out predictably, very early in Final Fantasy VIIs story. Shinra learns that Avalanche is hiding out in the slums of Sector 7, and so drops a whole city on the slums just to make sure they get the job done. Oh, and as a side-effect, this kills thousands of people. A disaster made by man, triggered by man, and inflicted on man.
Fallout 3 - Nuking Megaton
Humanity is only just finding its feet after The Great War. Resources are scarce, and genuine human cooperation is even rarer. So Megaton--a city where wastelanders from all walks of life cohabit with ghouls--is something of a beacon for humanitys recovery. Why then, would anyone blow it up? For the lols? Oh, fair enough then.
While Megatons destruction isnt a huge blow in terms of population killed, or resources lost (and honestly, who cares about yet another nuke going off in the wasteland?), it symbolises a real loss to civilised society. They built something beautiful, man, and you just blew it all up.
Killzone 3 - The irradiation of Helgan
The ISA are dicks. You think theyre the heroes of the Killzone series? Think again. Not only did they try to exploit the Helghast after sending them to Helgan, a planet with a seriously hostile atmosphere; they also used military force to crush an uprising after people on the planet started starving and dying during an economic depression. An economic depression created by greedy factions in the UCN, and brutally enforced by the ISA.
Mass starvation is enough to qualify Killzone for this list on its own, but the ISA arent done being dicks yet. After nuking Pyrrhus City to kill one man--Scholar Visari--they then incite civil war, and intentionally destroy a Helghast cruiser close to the planet, accidentally irradiating the majority of Helgans surface, making it uninhabitable. Why are the Helghast such angry, red-eyed terrorist types? Take your pick from all the reasons listed above And if you want a full account of the ISA's dickishness, check out this Wiki entry (opens in new tab).
Resident Evil (series) - T-Virus outbreak
So, what are you working on at Umbrella, Jeff? A new type of bread that stays fresh longer? A more fuel-efficient car? No? Oh, youre working on a weaponised virus? One that could wipe out mankind if it gets into the wrong hands? I foresee no problems with that, Jeff. No, sir.
As is the law, when it comes to Hollywood and video games, the worst case scenario happens: in this instance, the T-virus is exposed to the population of Raccoon City (and later, many other places around the globe), turning them into aggressive zombies. The solution, as played out in Resi 2, is to nuke the whole city. See, if Umbrella had been researching new flavours of ice-cream, this never would have happened.
Final Fantasy VI - World of Ruin
Final Fantasy VI takes place on a large, unnamed world. Its a fairly standard place, except for the fact that its all held together--magically speaking--by a set of statues that need to be kept at the proper alignment to prevent the world from being torn apart and utterly ruined. Because, yknow: magic.
And, much like a naughty school-boy who is given a stick and told NOT to hit the piata dangling above his head, the very first thing the evil-doers in Final Fantasy VI try to do, is knock the statues out of alignment. Half way through the game Kefka manages to mess up the statues, the world is utterly devastated, and you spend the rest of the game trekking through the resultant wasteland.
inFamous - The Ray Sphere
Like many other examples on this list, the Ray Sphere is a crazy idea with good intentions behind it. Do you know the nonsense plot of inFamous? SPOILERS: Cole McGrath travels back in time from a future where The Beast has destroyed the world. He invents the Ray Sphere as a way to give himself (his younger self, that is) enough power to defeat The Beast and stop it destroying the world. An admirable goal, for sure.
Sadly, the delivery method isn't so admirable (ironic, considering Cole is a courier). Kessler secretly gives the Ray Sphere to Cole, tells him to deliver it to the Historic district, activates it upon delivery, and... wipes out six city blocks, killing 1000s of innocent people and giving super-powers to a bunch of morally questionable individuals. Er, sorry guys. At least The Beast didnt get you. Whats The Beast, you say? Its a long story
Brink - Global warming
Slow-burner, this one. Brink addresses the consequences of excessive global warming, a disaster that is--and dont give me that bullshit about having zero evidence--in danger of happening in reality. In Brinks dystopian future, most of the world has flooded (thanks, melted polar ice-caps) and a bunch of people have chosen to live on the Ark, a giant floating island.
Of course, it doesnt take long for everyone on the Ark to start murdering each other in the name of wealth and power, so that in itself is a mini-disaster that sits, horribly, within the much grander disaster of a near-totally flooded planet earth. Civilisation is on the BRINK of extinction. The BRINK. Get it? That's why the game is called BRINK. Yeah?
Half-Life - Gordon Freeman does some science
Science: just stop it. Just because you can tinker with the fabric of the universe, it doesnt mean that you should. Sure, the portal to another dimension that Gordon Freeman opened up was something of an accident, but--much like the guys and girls at Umbrella--it probably wouldnt have happened if he was working on creating a softer material for more cuddly teddy-bears.
And no, it wasnt the opening of the portal that caused the Combine to spill into the world and enslave the human race, but it was the start of the chain reaction. The not-quite-worst part? Valve seems to have little interest in finishing the goddam Half-Life story, so for now there is no satisfying conclusion to this dire, man-made disaster. The actual-worst part? The endless references to the fact that Valve won't announce Half-Life 3.
Speaking of man-made disasters...
Well, there you have it--the worst examples of human self-destruction in games. Frankly, most of the people who commit these atrocities are total dicks, but some of them are genuinely misguided fools. Can you think of any other examples of humanity kicking itself in the virtual balls? If so, let us know below.
Want more features about things? Yeah, weve got those. Heres one about Gamings Most Impressive Natural Disasters (opens in new tab). Like a bit of that, do you? Heres one about the The Top 7 Coolest Penguins In Games (opens in new tab). Because when disaster hits the earth, its the penguins thatll suffer the most. Think about it.