...and I can't get up
That feeling you get when youre falling over is just awful. When youve tripped and theres nothing to grab onto, and you just seem to crumple in slow motion, knowing that this is gonna hurt and theres not a damn thing you can do about it. Or when you have a falling dream and wake up going AAH! Huh? Wha? from the shock of that brutal, imagined impact with your mattress.
But as harsh as they are, our memories of this feeling and any sense of empathy that goes along with them become as naught when we see someone else falling over. Watching someone flail their arms about in attempt to avoid face-planting a curb is hilarious, and you know it. Its even funnier in video games, where physics... well, dont always act like you expect them to. You want some examples? Of course you do. Click on.
Although the Skate series never quite reached the Tony Hawks Pro Skater level of mainstream love, it certainly became famous for some other reasons. Namely, what happens when you lose your board and it all goes wrong.
If you type Skate 3 into into YouTube, you probably wont get many actual gameplay videos. In fact I dont know if anyone in the world is actually good at Skate, since evidence suggests that its players usually just spend their time trying to injure their rider in as many ways as possible. Its accidents get so savage that theres a dedicated mode where you just have to cause as much damage to your poor avatar as possible. But the real fun begins when the physics bugs out and things start to get...zany.
Many of the games in this list have a common factor: the ragdoll button. A designated control you can hit to intentionally send your character head first into a suicide dive. When developers put this sort of thing into a game, they must know that players arent going to get anything productive done.
In Goat Simulator, a quick button tap turns your goat all floppy. While theres a lot of fun to be had by going round sticking your tongue to people, and headbutting gas canisters until they explode, theres a simple joy in just pressing a button and watching your goat tumble down a hill. Its like having access to your own one of these.
Gang Beasts is a game about wobbly Jelly Baby men fighting. Its basically Power Stone, if Power Stone had underwater physics and was populated by drunken babies. It should come as no surprise that it has a dedicated flop. I dare you to not laugh within the first few minutes of firing it up
One (or all) of your friends will probably die within the tutorial, and it only escalates from there. Youll fall off the top of a ferris wheel and crash through the wooden planks below into the water. Youll witness players knocked off the top of speeding trucks, as road signs leave permanent imprints on their faces. Its a fighting game where it doesnt matter who wins. Its all just about who gets maimed the funniest.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend back in the mid 2000s, to the effect of Wouldnt it be cool if one day you were just running along in a game and randomly fell over? I dont know why we were talking about that, but it actually happened. Then, a few months later, the first Assassins Creed was announced, and one of the early presentations showed Altair running too fast into a bystander and tumbling to the ground.
We thought that was hilarious, and thats when we finally knew the next generation of gaming was coming. Forget graphics, and huge, vibrant open-worlds. Next-gen falling over. Thats where its at. Theres plenty of other plummeting in Assassins Creed too, of course. In fact its a trademark core mechanic. Jumping off a building into a pile of hay? Not exactly funny perhaps, but brilliantly preposterous all the same. And of course, given the series' additional propensity for sweet, sweet glitches over the years, there's preposerousness to spare for all.
Grand Theft Auto 5
I was probably halfway through the story of Grand Theft Auto 5 before I realised that if I pressed the attack button while in mid-air, my character would ragdoll into a self-loathing, diving faceplant. Needless to say, the next hour or so wasnt spent planning heists or murdering gangsters. I was attempting to do front flips over park benches. Very few of them went well.
But that didnt matter, because my failed attempts were way funnier than what wouldve happened if I had succeeded. Pro-tip: If youre going to try this, make sure you target a bench that someone is already sitting on. Watching two bodies become momentarily entwined before the stranger gets up and runs away in fear is great fun. Though to be fair, I was playing as Trevor, so who knows whether it was actually fear, disgust, or the exciting area of the Venn diagram in between?
This is Football
Back before EAs FIFA franchise took over the world of the beautiful game, there were quite a few football series around. One such also-ran was Sony's This is Football. I cant remember if the games were actually any good or not, because my fond memories were formed for entirely different reasons.
Number one: Even back then, developers understood the importance of a dive button. In This Is Football, you can use it to try to fool the referee into giving you a free kick. Or, as I did, you can use it when no-one is even near for purely comedic effect, and watch the ref give you a totally-worth-it yellow card. Number two: the two footed tackle button, with which you can impart the falling fun to other players, by way of your most brutal Sunday League fantasies.
Aaaaa!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity
Okay so theres not much funny about the falling in this one, but it deserves a spot on the list for being one of the very, very few games which is entirely about falling off things. Actually, what am I saying? A game whose core concept is essentially plummet from tall stuff is hilarious. Especially if you have a friend with a fear of heights, and make them play it for a whole afternoonv for your own amusement. Could actually do them some good. Its kill or cure, anyway, and either way its funny.
Even if you dont have a monstrous fear of altitude, the game is pretty terrifying. To get the highest score its all about getting hugs and kisses, which sounds lovely and innocent, but bear in mind that theyre actually being imparted by the sides of buildings as you fall.
Just Cause 2
In Just Cause 2 you do a hell of a lot of flying, falling, tumbling, and rolling. The grappling hook which you use to propel yourself around is probably one of the best additions to any open-world game theres ever been. Not only can you attach a plane to a car and watch hilarity ensue, it also has some (relatively) practical uses.
Such as entirely breaking the laws of physics. Falling hundreds of metres to your death at terminal velocity? Well if you have a grappling hook, never fear! Just Cause 2 teaches us that you can simply fire the hook into the ground moments before you land, and pull yourself in for a soft landing. Who said video games werent realistic? Me. I did.