Video-Game Twists (Part 1)
There’s something profoundly satisfying about games with a truly great storyline. Don’t get me wrong, I love beating up bad guys, tracking down items for quests and knocking zombie’s heads off as much as the next guy, but a game that serves up story like piping hot helpings of your favourite meal can really tip the scale when it comes to choosing between the titles that temporarily titillate your gaming taste buds, and the ones that linger for years to come. Plot twists are a hefty part of what can make a game’s storyline great. After all, we all like to feel as though we’re the detective in our own adventure, picking up the clues along the way and somehow still managing to be thrown off the trail with a revolution that leaves us gaping at our screens in shock, awe, or silent contemplation.
With that in mind, here is a list of some of my favourite mind-warping moments in video games. Obviously, there will be spoilers!
5.) Oh, So That’s What The Title’s About: Red Dead Redemption
[quote_right]Pictured: #1 Dad[/quote_right]When you start off your journey into the Wild, Wild West as protagonist John Marston in Red Dead Redemption, you’re equipped with the knowledge that you’re on a mission to right your old wrongs for the sake of your family. The Bureau of Investigation tell you that you’ll be granted amnesty if you agree to rat out and subsequently deal out justice to the members of your old gang. Seems reasonable enough right? You get to explore the wilderness, kill bad guys, and have a seriously good time, all in the name of defusing a potential war and gaining the love of your adoring family members.
You’ve completed all your missions and you’re about to sit down to enjoy a meal of rabbit that you skinned earlier, when a posse of wild-west people show up at your front door. John, the father-figure, Marston, bursts through the door guns blazing, and despite all of your hard work throughout the game ends up dying in a horrible, slow-motion hail of bullets. Why Rockstar? Why?
4.) This Was a Triumph: Portal
[quote_right]Pictured: The Most over-used phrase on the internet[/quote_right]
The Portal games are two of the most original and entertaining games out there today that you don’t need a whole lot of spare time to get through. In the first game, you trudge your way through the enrichment centre of aperture laboratories as a human protest to animal testing with really cool shoes. The female voice following you throughout the course of your ‘enrichment’ is a little bit snarky, and seems to have a problem with your weight, but she does promise you some delicious cake at the end of your trials, so you’ve got that going for you at least. But then, you start getting hints that GLaDOS might not be the friendly baker we all originally thought.
[quote_right]Oh, and the cake was actually legit.[/quote_right]
Okay, so you probably saw that coming, but in Portal 2, players are introduced to an entirely new situation, where we overcome GLaDOS by replacing her with a less threatening blue ball of wires named Wheatley. What you don’t expect is for Wheatley to become so terrible once you install him as the primary core that you’re actually reminiscing about your days spent with GLaDOS, yearning for the days when she would have rows of turrets lined up to blast you away while she reminded you how much you should probably lay off the pies.
3.) Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves: Metroid
[quote_right]“What a manly hunk of pixels!”[/quote_right]
Okay, so this one is a little further back in the world of Video-game plot twists than some of the other options I’ve been discussing, but it’s still one of the most fantastic mind-bender’s out there. Picture yourself back in the world of 1987, casually playing your new copy of Metroid on your top of the line NES. You’re kicking ass and taking names as lead character Samus Aran, fantasizing (if you’re a boy) aboutca how you might one day grow up to be as manly as that. In your mind you’re constructing images of the no-doubt spectacular beard Aran is hosting underneath that metal helmet, and the biceps of raw power that come with being the manliest dude in the galaxy, beating the hell out of anything that crosses your path.
You’ve beaten the last boss and something’s going down with Samus’s suit. Wait. He’s- She’s a girl?! Suddenly you find out that you’ve been worshipping a female protagonist all along. To some people, this may not seem like the life-altering twist that some other games have provided, but you have to think about Metroid in relation to when it was actually brought out. Back in 1987, this was some serious progressive thinking by Nintendo. Nice work guys.
2.) Hold on, I’m a What? Assassin’s Creed III
[quote_right]“Seriously, I was on holiday that weekend, I swear!”[/quote_right] The concept of Assassin’s Creed goes back in time to a secret war hidden amongst history between a group called the ‘Templar’ and a group referred to generally as the ‘Assassins’. Obviously, the Assassins are the general good guys, they want to provide the world with free will, a voice to speak out against injustice, and the ability to do something about it when there’s something going on that they simply don’t like. The Templars, on the other hand, are generally regarded as the all-singing, all-dancing scum of the earth. They want to basically control everyone, and they even get the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus.
Obviously, as righteous gamers, we’re raring to kick some Templar ass, when suddenly we find out that…we are the Templar. We’re the bad guys, and we’ve been evil bastards all along! Pretty damn sneaky, Ubisoft.
1.) Morality is Hard: The Walking Dead (Tell-tale Games)
[quote_right]“We’re doing our best Clementine, honest!”[/quote_right] Personally, I absolutely love Tell-tale games. The way that they spin a story makes them truly unique, and The Walking Dead has got to be one of the most emotionally traumatizing, tear-provoking, heart-wrenching games I’ve played. The game allows players to choose their own story, except unlike in the Goosebumps books of old, you can’t just keep your finger on the page and change your mind if you get a bad result. It’s pretty difficult to define yourself as a good or bad character, because a lot of the moral choices are pretty grey-scale, making it hard to foresee any, and all potential consequences. In a zombie-eat-human world, we’re forced to make the best decisions we can to survive, which means when resources are available we take them, no matter what.
As the story progresses, we begin to become aware of a particularly clever sub-plot that runs beneath the episodes. In our attempt to survive, we indirectly cause the death of almost an entire family, driving the father, (someone who was originally a good guy) to do seriously messed up things. Something as simple as taking supplies from a car early in the series leads to a starved family and an insane father who carts his wife’s head around in a bowling bag looking for a replacement child, after we let his die.
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