A hyperbolic life
Mechanics: the rules and parameters by which we live and die in the virtual realm. They're often meant to empower. Activating Bullet Time and taking down a room full of bad guys in one fell swoop is an awesome feeling, as is blowing up a building while a legion of enemies take refuge inside. Other times, mechanics act as roadblocks meant to prevent players from becoming unstoppable gods. You can only activate your super powers for a few seconds before you run out of energy and need to chug a magical potion to replenish your strength.
Sometimes, though, mechanics are ripped straight from the real world, injecting an oft-unwanted dose of hyperbolic realism into our digital fantasies. While the following elements attempt to add a bit of authenticity to the games in which they appear, they usually aren't plausible in their portrayal. More often than not, they're just kind of silly.
Rechargeable batteries (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
The year is 2027. Mankind has accepted the use of cyborg enhancements to augment their senses, intelligence, and strength, because being normal is boring. The result? Soldiers are now super soldiers; scientists are ultra geniuses; and, thanks to neural implants designed for babies, the horrifying parasites learn how to defecate in a toilet before they even develop object permanence.
But these amazing technological advancements share one major bottleneck: they run on batteries, which apparently only last for 30 goddamn seconds before needing a recharge. We guess no one remembered to research better portable power source solutions.
Going shopping (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
That glass dagger's pretty awesome, right? It only took a few bars of refined moonstone and malachite to craft (because that's what glass is made out of?), and BOY wouldn't it be a nice addition to your collection of weapons stockpiled in your Whiterun cottage.
In the real world, it's usually cool to pick stuff up and look at it while shopping around. Do it in Skyrim, though (or any of the Elder Scrolls games, really), and 30 guards will come running from out of nowhere, eager to gut you the way rednecks disembowel a barbecued pig at Christmas party. The gist--don't steal--is understandable. Getting brutally assaulted/murdered for simply picking something up, however, might be a tad overkill.
Fixing cars (Far Cry 2)
Few skills are as useful for impressing others (and increasing your masculine image!) than learning how to fix a car. While knowing how to swap out a flat tire or change the oil can save you a lot of headaches and cash over time, such skills become exponentially more valuable when hunting down a weapons dealer in the African savannah, where thugs regularly pelt your ride with a barrage of bullets.
Of course, all you have to do to fix a banged-up auto in Far Cry 2 is tighten up the magical Fix Everything Screw on the engine block and your set of wheels is as good as new! If only such a fix-all screw existed in the real world.
Getting fat (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
Pizza, fried chicken, and the Doritos Locos Tacos are some of the most devious inventions of mankind. On the one hand, they're incredibly delicious foods, whose explosive flavors motivate us to keep on keepin' on. On the other, they're the reason we were so, so bad at little league baseball; to this day, dad won't look us in the eye during our sparse, awkward conversations.
If there's one thing that sucks worse than getting fat in real life, though, it's getting fat in a video game. Case in point: poor CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He ballooned right up after he killed his hunger with four Burger Shot entrees, and there was naught we could do but diet and exercise to get his weight under control. Neither of which are enjoyable, even in game form.
The perils of alcohol (BioShock Infinite)
To finish BioShock Infinite is to enter a world of questions. "So wait a minute: if Booker [redacted to avoid spoilers], then that means he must've [redacted to avoid spoilers]. WHOAH!" Eventually we pieced together the intricacies of BioShock Infinite's ending, but one question remains: How the hell does Booker get hammered drunk after two beers, then revert back to a stone-cold sober state mere seconds later?
Real life tests failed over and over again to replicate such results. Two drinks were enough to reach the front gates of buzzland, but it took a few more to actually get us inside. And once inebriated, we found it impossible to undo our experiments without taking a super long (six-hour) nap.
Killer cigs (Metal Gear Solid)
Ever since we were children, we've been told over and over again that smoking cigarettes will inevitably result in a slow, painful death. Teachers, parents, doctors, that next-door neighbor who plows through three packs a day--everyone agrees cigs are bad news for one's long-term health, even if they don't heed the advice of anti-smoking advocates.
Take Solid Snake, for instance. Here's a guy who's already doomed thanks to the rapid aging effects of his test tube creation, yet he simply cannot resist puffing away on sweet, sweet tobacco--a venture made all the more dangerous in his world, seeing as cancer sticks kill him after just a few minutes of smoking. Everyone's got their vices.
Durability issues (Dead Island)
Things fall apart. Not only is that the name of a book you probably read in high school and/or college, but it's also a fact of life. Drop your phone enough times, and the screen's bound to crack. Fall off the monkey bars at school, and you risk breaking an arm. Repeatedly bash a zombie's skull with a baseball bat, and the bat's probably going to break. Common sense.
What we don't as readily accept, though, is the effect that skull bashing would have on the durability of steel objects. In Dead Island, it doesn't matter what you're using to beat the undead senseless; metal crowbar or no, that thing's gonna be useless once your strike tally reaches the double digits.
The dangers of water (Assassin's Creed)
Your body might be largely composed of water, but H2O is a surprisingly effective killer. Try holding your breath for 20 minutes and see what happens. Hell, you don't even have to be swimming to drown--you can literally just drink yourself to death.
But Assassin's Creed (and dozens of other games) takes this harrowing truth one step further by skipping all the misery that comes with drowning. If Altair merely touches water, he's dead. You don't even get a chance to try and swim. Even if he's in three feet of the stuff, it's game over.
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