It feels like every playable character has a fancy move these days - shooting missiles from their nipples, turning their hair into a tank, summoning the dark lord to brush their bangs in battle. For those of us in the real world, we're lucky if we can burp on command or recite the seven times tables. We asked our writers what their special powers would be in a video game, and - surprisingly - none of their answers involved their genitals. This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
Becoming invincible while asleep
You know that classic move in RPGs where your party members can enter a temporary defensive state, unable to do anything but also becoming nigh-impervious to incoming damage? That's me every night. I've been known to sleep through blaring alarms, kicks under the covers, and full-volume conversations happening around me. I have no memory of snoozing my way through a vicious pillow-walloping when an enraged roommate couldn't bear the sound of my snoring any longer. But like all special moves, it has drawbacks when used improperly, like tardiness, forgetting to eat a proper meal, or sleeping an entire Saturday into oblivion. My body's even reduced itself to critically low HP in a time when I didn't realize I have sleep apnea, and suddenly woke up gasping for air on a few frightening occasions. A PSA, then: only good can come from doing a professional sleep study with your doctor! Lucas Sullivan
Killer Wigglin' Beats
Anyone who knows me will know that I have a range of very specific 'Sam dances' that I unleash when I'm excited, or hungry, or ready to leave, or just... happily existing. They're not exactly very good, but even in the real world people get confused when I whip any of them out, so I reckon you could totally weaponise these bad boys to stun, bamboozle, and generally bedazzle any onlookers. Think Gina Linetti from Brooklyn 99 and you've got my spirit animal, the one true Queen of the Dance. Even without the addition of some glittery throwing stars, I could literally dance laps around my foes until they stumble in general confusion - and potentially dizziness - adding in jabs and punches into my classic dance moves. Sam Loveridge
Swearing to power up
I don't get properly angry at games very often - and yes, I realize that's not a very convincing statement given the special move I've just described - but every now and then a brutal boss fight or a lousy checkpoint or what-have-you will get under my skin and I'll absolutely blow my top. I don't break controllers or anything; it's more of a 'use obscenities like vowels' situation. That's not really a good thing, strictly speaking, but I'll be damned if it doesn't work. In my experience, a bit of colorful shouting is often exactly what I need to power through whatever it is that's pissed me off. The last time this happened was with Hollow Knight, specifically the final boss of its Grimm Troupe DLC. Nightmare King Grimm is a sonuvabitch, I'm tellin' ya. So, me and Grimm got into a one-sided shouting match which lasted about two hours. The best part is that I was doing laundry in-between boss attempts, intermittently storming down the stairs and hurling wadded up wet jeans into the dryer with increasingly needless force. But hey, I beat him in the end. Sometimes that's all it takes. It's like putting furniture together: getting unreasonably riled up is just part of the process. Austin Wood
Make a joke that only I laugh at
My sense of humor was shaped from childhood by a steady regimen of decades-old Dave Barry books, Mystery Science Theater 3000 reruns, and Something Awful hentai game reviews. It honed my perception of what is funny to a razor's edge of relatability with fellow human beings. This translates perfectly to an RPG-style video game with buffs and debuffs: when I make a joke that only I find amusing, I temporarily put myself out of phase with the rest of existence. In game effect terms, this makes me difficult to attack or target with abilities until the beginning of my next round, when I stop giggling and return my attention to the battle at hand. The ability has a small chance to misfire in case I make a joke that is funny to other intelligent beings. This little-known mechanic can be exploited to build social links with goblins and other hostile creatures; however it is a frustrating, RNG-driven process and thus disregarded by most speedrunners. Connor Sheridan
I’ve always found the Bioware trope of well-meaning but clumsy sidekicks (think Tali, Alastair, or Merrill) a little too relatable. Wide-eyed naivety with a dash of hopelessness on the side? I feel their pain. As a result, I’d probably be a support class whose special ability is ‘irrepressible enthusiasm’. Windmilling into battle with nothing more than optimism and good intentions, I’d give allies a buff of cheerfulness to boost their stats. Meanwhile, the intelligence and focus of foes would be reduced thanks to my inane chatter. There’d presumably be a handicap where I fall over my own feet, as well. Benjamin Abbott
Baffle with niche knowledge
Physical special moves are a bit overrated. They might be effective, but they’re boring, and worse, predictable. So, how about using the power of knowledge? More specifically, the power of unleashing niche knowledge in a sure-to-succeed bid to confuse? Air-tight, surely. After initiating combat with an unlucky foe, I'd launch into a tirade of facts about 1990’s Italian football, the rules of cricket, albums of the noughties’ rock and metal scene, or the top scorers and history of the Premier League which would surely weaken their concentration. Failing that I’ll turn to my landscape background and run through some principles of garden design or come up with a killer combination of Latin plant names to chip away at their resolve. If not stunned, then my foe would become confused beyond their comprehension, dulling their faculties. Maybe. Better yet, use this in conjunction with a physical special move to complete their (confusing) defeat, and strike to complete my glorious (boring) victory. Maybe. I knew my brain harboring all that that niche knowledge would finally pay off. Rob Dwiar
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