Our 8 favorite video game mechanics (real ones)

Fixin' Things

Type 'video game mechanics' into Google and you get a long list of dull, beard-scratching features about control methods and game design. Zzzzzzzzz... Well, we're not talking about those kinds of mechanics. We're talking about real, car-fixing, mucky-calendar-on-the-wall, blue-collar hero mechanics.

These are the video game characters that can help you save the universe one minute, then overcharge you for changing a tyre the next. One minute theyre fixing something with a wrench, the next theyre crushing their enemies with a wrench. And thats why we love each and every, greasy-fingered one of them.

Pey'j (from Beyond Good and Evil)

Yes, we know he's a walking, talking pig, but Pey'j is one of the most accurate video game representations of a mechanic we've ever seen. We mean NO OFFENSE by this. Despite being a burly sort with a dirty vest and a 'did you spill my pint' attitude, Pey'j is actually an emotionally sensitive chap, who guards BG&E's hero, Jade, with little concern for his own safety.

Does he actually do any mechanical work? Well, we see him do some hovercraft fixing, although he leaves the major work to the faceless experts at Mamago garage. Still, we'd rather have him watching our backs in a scrap than fixing a brake-light on our car.

Ratchet (from Ratchet & Clank)

Some would argue that with a name like 'Ratchet', this Lombax was born to be a mechanic. It's like getting your bread from a man called Ian Baker, or having a gynecologist called Seymour Johnson. Fair play to Ratchet, though, he embraced his career fully and definitely knows his way around a wrench. And a RYNO cannon.He does a bit of fixin' too, although we suspect he gets most of his technical advice from Clank.

We suspect that Ratchet makes more money as a wholesaler than an actual grease-monkey, though. He must make a fortune selling off all those bolts...

Slippy Toad (from Star Fox)

While most frogs are content to leave spawn all over your pond and dry up in hot weather, Slippy aspired to more ever since he was a tadpole. He's now an essential part of Star Fox's core team, maintaining fighters and constantly getting himself into scrapes before begging to be rescued. Why he can't just stay in the hangar and fix stuff we honestly don't know.

Bizarrely, Slippy refers to himself as Slippy Toad, despite being a common green frog. His name is a reflection of his clumsy nature--not an ideal trait for someone who is supposed to maintain and upgrade state of the art flying machines.

Tails (from Sonic)

Yes, Tails is a mechanic. To us, it seems ludicrous that a fox with two tails, who can fly like a helicopter and run really fast, would become interested in fixing vehicles that he simply never needs to use. Then again, the whole Sonic series lost a lot a credibility when Sega put Sonic into a car, when--according to his web bio--Sonic can actually out-run most high-end sports vehicles. Of course, in Sonic All Stars Racing, Tails was put into a plane. That he doesn't actually need to use. Maybe he's just really lazy.

We see Tails doing surprisingly little mechanic work too, although he does tinker with a few engines in the Sonic anime. Actually, we swear we saw him rummaging through our bins last night, scavenging for some left-over curry. Would we trust him to replace the oil in our car? No, no we would not.

Sean Devlin (from The Saboteur)

We feel sorry for Sean Devlin. As a character, he's quite the badass. He smashes Nazis, smokes like a chimney, swears like a navvy, and knows how to change a spark plug. The only way he could be more of a manly man is if he grew an enormous mustache and started reading Loaded. Sadly, he was trapped inside a game crammed with unfulfilled promise, and the studio that created him has been dissolved.

During The Saboteur Sean spent most of his time eyeing up burlesque dancers and shooting Hun in the face, but he does occasionally fix up a classic racing car for a quick spin. Actually, the driving sections are largely ass--stick to the killing, Sean. It's what you do best.

The Mechanist (from Fallout 3)

In Fallout 3 there's a war raging between the Mechanist and the AntAgonizer. Well, it's more of a bizarre geek-fight, which has the inhabitants of Canterbury Commons at their wits ends. The quest is called The Superhuman Gambit, and it's one of the best in the game. And the Mechanist, as his name suggests, is a man dressed up as a robot mechanic.

Being fans of the mechanic, we naturally sided with the Mechanist during our playthrough, although it took us a while to approach is lair what with all the turrets and bots he'd cleverly installed. Would we trust him to fix out break-pads? No. He'd probably instal a massive turret on our roof instead.

Brucie Kibbutz (from GTA IV)

He may be a fitness obsessed playboy, but Brucie built his fortune on cars. He's the go-to guy in Liberty City for fixed-up sports cars, and business is treating him well. Shame he's utterly insane. Brucie is one of the most memorable characters in GTA IV, although we attribute that more to his insanity and excessive lifestyle than his prowess with a wrench.

Still, Brucie is a shining example of how hard work, and a restless, aggressive approach to making money can make even the most humble people great. That, and the fact it pays to be utterly insane in a GTA game.

Ellie (from Borderlands)

Something tells us that most of you don't remember Ellie because of her mechanical skills. Although she does have a very large... set of tools. Despite being a relatively minor character in the game, she has clearly captured the imagination of Borderlands players, and there are several examples of fans cosplaying her at public events.

Frankly, she's just about the only person on this list (well, maybe Pey'j too) who we'd actually trust to perform proper, mechanical engineering. And if she tried to overcharge us... well, that'd probably be fine too.

"That'll be 500, love"

Well, there's our list of the best video game mechanics. Actual, proper mechanics. Would we trust any of them to fix up our car? Probably not. Would you let any of them loose on your pride and joy? Let us know in the comments below.

Ooh, while you're here, why not check out some of our other features. Here's one on The Criminal Records Of Your Favourite Video Game Characters, and another on Video Game Characters' Complaints To Their Doctors.

Andy Hartup