Clique and destroy
Contrary to what those naughty boys in Pink Floyd may have told you, society very much does need education. Thought-control: not so much. If it weren't for the godsend of modern schooling, we might just spend our entire lives having non-stop, unregulated fun--that is before slinking into a ditch and dying of scurvy.
Instead we head off to high school, home of the resentful adolescent and the teen cliques they love so much. Composed of like-minded miniature people, these schoolyard sects cover every aspect of the teenaged malaise, from downbeat drudgery to giddy animation. Speaking of awkward stages--have you ever wondered which playground groups your favourite game characters would have belonged to? Well, wonder no more. These are video gamings very own cliques and freaks.
Solid Snake hams it up with the performing arts crowd
Eurgh, school assemblies, remember those? Packed in tight to a sweaty, stinking gym room, squished in amongst a suite of alphabetically selected neighbours (how's that leg room Xander Zane?), and patrolled by a cast of half-mad caffeine-addicts. It just couldn't get any worse, right? Wrong, because today's assembly just so happens to be a very special assembly indeed. Today boys and girls, we're going to see just what the performing arts crowd have been up to for the last 6 months
Wait just a tick, who's that young chap gallivanting around in skin-tight rubber, and why on earth has he been speaking for the last forty-five minutes? My god, he's so wooden, so awkward, so undeniably strange--but that voice--that magical voice. Why, that's none other than Metal Gear's own Solid Snake! Yes, Konami's indelible sleuth would actually make for a rather appropriate high school starlet. For one thing, he's the bomb at forward rolls, and that line delivery, fuhgeddaboudit--intense over-acting at its absolute finest.
Lara Croft lords it over the Preppies/ Public School Kids
If owning fat stacks of cash really does make you better than everyone else, then High School's insufferable rich kids just bumped Mother Theresa from her hard-won top spot. Tough luck, lady. Backed up by daddy's money, these miniature lords and ladies of the lunchroom can get away with pretty much anything they desire--up-to-and-including marooning themselves on an ancient, mysterious island. While Lara Croft may have been able to overcome her genteel upbringing as part of a one-woman war on smelly, scary mercenaries, it isn't too hard to imagine this cutthroat duchess playing the role of high school mean girl.
Commanding, impulsive and with many-a potential suitor (did that geeky guy just implode for her affection?) Lara isn't above cutting a few throats to get exactly what she wants. Whether that's fuel for a dying campfire or revenge on this totally stuck up bitch, Lara has all the tools to make your teenaged days a living misery.
Gordon Freeman gets revenge for... the Nerds
Boy, the role of high school nerds certainly has changed since my day. So much so, in fact, that today's teenaged terrors are almost as likely to suck up to Steve Jobs jnr as they are to punch him flush in the groin. Of course, Jockly McManus never needed any help opening his filofax, but in a world of smartphones, tablets and runaway dick pics, the tech-head kid is king. Well, sort of.
If there's any one character capable of making this iSchool of High Schools a reality, it's Mr. Half-life himself, Gordon Freeman. Possessed of some pretty sweet attributes--think genius-level intellect AND a wicked right swing--Freeman isn't exactly your average, everyday nerd. And that's kind of the point. With so many varied threats currently arrayed against our younglings--from terrorism to fizzy drinks and video games--isn't it about time we had an alien-crushing, crowbar-wielding hall monitor in every school?
Wander wallows with... the Emos
Ah Emos, the hair-brained Harley Quinns to the Goths brooding Batmen. Cut from the same basic cloth--but essentially unique--these colourful, oftentimes sad-sack individuals derive their name from the Australian flightless bird--the emu--well known for its super-lame parents and intolerable high-pitched scream. First discovered way back in the mid-2000s, the common Emo, along with its many subtle derivations is today considered one of the main staple cliques of high school life.
When it comes to naming a true video game Emo, few candidates can hope to compare to the massive existential anguish of Wander. Star of 2005's Shadow of the Colossus, big W ticks off every single requirement in the Emo checklist, and then some. With his one true love lying in a state of continuous sleep--and with absolutely no one else around to talk to--Wander must set out on an epic quest to slay 16 towering beats or risk losing his beautiful beau forever. Its tender, heart-wrenching stuff, particularly the bits where Wander's heart is literally wrenched, ripped and prodded at by the oily embodiment of all evil. Man, that gloomy fan fiction must just write itself It also doesn't hurt Wander's crypt cred to note that he's seen rocking some bone-straight, shoulder length locks. Remember kids: life may be pain, but that's no excuse to stop styling your hair.
Donkey Kong goes all bro with the Jocks/ Chavs
Big, brainless and rather partial to the flinging of faeces, Jocks, Chavs and cartoon apes already have plenty in common. Add to that an intense affection for fast cars, gaudy sportswear and backwards caps, and we may just be dealing with the missing link in human evolution. While by no means identical, these transatlantic twins do share many of the same calling cards. Intimidation? Check. Perspiration. Oh yeah. Unresolved personal crises. You betcha. Toss in some petty vandalism charges and together you're looking at the 'yank' and 'limey' of grunting machismo madness.
With their best years soon behind them, these knuckle-dragging know-nothings soon wind up changing their tune. Like Donkey Kong--who famously transformed from barrel-chucking bully to much-loved mascot, many of these folks will end up suffering a gloomy quarter-life crisis. Better late than never I suppose, but not quite quick enough to spare our precious arcade/lunch money.
Lulu languishes with... the Goths/ Metalheads
To the outside observer these two groups of glum-faced navel-gazers may seem similar, but to the black-clad kids themselves, Goth and Metalhead remain an entirely separate species. One side prizes darkness, anger and heavily downtuned guitars, the other is a tough-talking sentient pebble with an unquenchable thirst for justice. Ok, scratch that last one, they're both basically the first bit.
Who better then to sum up both black-hearted camps than Final Fantasy 10's own Lulu. Pale, passive-aggressive and perennially PO'd, this sorceress supreme is decked out in all the finery of a funeral march. Draped in black and with enough accessorising belts on show to handle every single heroine addict at a London fashion show, it just doesn't get much more metal than this.
Beat shreds with the Skaters
Few social groups are as readily identified as the common everyday Skater. Skaters, well, they just skate. Whether on rollerblades, skateboards, or 'The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel', these landlocked surfer dudes abound on every inch of curb, pavement and sidewalk available. With scant few unifying features--even their clothes are simply 'skate-wear'--spotting these folks out in the wild can prove a tough old task, especially when seen without their trademark decks.
Representing the high school skaters on this list is none other than inline icon Beat. Introduced as part of the Jet Set Radio franchise, this acid-drenched teen is known to coat his bland surroundings in all sorts of brightly coloured tags--a pastime often shared by his real life counterparts. With oodles of '02 attitude, Beat should have absolutely no problem acclimatising to the modern world of education. Pocket chains and neck chokers are still hip right? RIGHT?
The Prince slurps coffee with the Hipsters/ Indie Kids
Obscure, critically acclaimed and quirky to the point of nosebleed nausea, Namco's Katamari Damacy series bears all of the hallmarks of a honking great hipster. Spawned in the fire pits of Isengard these omni-cultural creations spread high-and-wide across the land like a plague of spectacle wearing locusts. Armed with the singular power of irony, one lone Hipster can successfully transform up to 50 square miles of terrain into nought but coffee shops and quaint clothing boutiques. Sound familiar? Why, it's the same basic premise as Katamari: you drop by, take in the town, attach yourself to a few influential people and pow--you're now a writhing mass of sneering pomposity.
Ok, ok, so maybe high school kids aren't quite there yet, but they will be. Those little indie kids you see everywhere today are tomorrow's unwashed hipster hordes. You might even say that they were hipsters before everyone realised they were hipsters. That's pretty hipster
Is Sub-zero too cool for school? Is Dogmeat a real teacher's pet? Send your clique character suggestions--and expletive-filled rants--by way of the comments section below. Or by carrier pigeon. I'm not fussy.
Still here? Perhaps you're reading this site on your phone, cowering in the toilet cubicle to avoid another beating from Donkey Kong. Ok, Luigi, here are some more features to read. BEHOLD! It's the 12 Most Ridiculously Re-released Games. And, oh look! It's 10 Video Games That Super Heroes Would Absolutely Crush.