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access_time April 24, 2013 at 8:20 AM in Culture by Ryan Bates

Top X List | You Are A Horrible Person


You are a terrible person.

No, really, you are. If GLaDOS were here, she’d probably see that in your permanent file. It’s okay, because I’m a terrible person too.

See, gamers by nature are explorers. We’re curious. We’re button-pushers, box-openers and random berry-eaters. We don’t know if certain actions are going to reward us with money, open up new areas for exploration, hinder our progress, or kill us dead. Remember that room you come up on right before the Sanctuary in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? Two pegs can be pulled; only one opens the door. You pull the left one, and voila! The door opens. But don’t you want to find out what that other one does? You know you do…

… and then you get a shower of Ropes raining down on your head. Such is the price one pays for exploration.

But then there are times when options exist, and they’re clearly not beneficial to the story, nor the progress of the game (in fact, sometimes doing it can be detrimental) and yet you’ve gone and done it anyway for no reason other than you can. And this leads to my aforementioned point – you are, indeed a terrible person.


This Top X List, then, is dedicated to all the terrible people out there (myself included), because this time, x = “8 Reasons Why You Are a Horrible Person.”

The guidelines for this Top X List were simple:

  1. It has to be something that either added absolutely nothing to the story or game progression, or added to gameplay but could have been done in more normal and/or less horrible ways, and
  2. At the very least get you kicked out of your circle of friends (or worse) in real life. (I mean, depending on who your friends are. Like, if you were part of the Manson Family, you’ve gone beyond horrible to just f***ing nuts and you shouldn’t even be reading this column, let alone playing video games.)

Now, get ready to feel like crap (in a fun way), for here are eight reasons you are a horrible person.


Reason 8: You’re a jerk to NPCs.


OK, a little prank now and then never hurt anyone. Like that butler in Tomb Raider II. Nudge him, rattle his mugs, even make him perform a little flatulence. Why not? Fart jokes are always funny. Hell, lock him in the walk-in freezer. Tee hee, Winston has blue balls. Lara Croft, you silly goose.

But then, sometimes, they come up to you, with their big, pleading, sometimes-pixelated eyes, and all they truly want is for your help in finding their lost random knickknack/jewel/spouse, and they ask you the four most recognizable words in gaming: “Will you help me?”

You were the punk who said no.

Granted, it’s minimal. Maybe you do have a really important main quest to get to. But you couldn’t help little Miss NPC for two damn seconds to find her GarntEarring. Guess you didn’t want that 10,000 gil after all.

And if you said “no” to Mallow in Super Mario RPG… well, I just hope you drowned in his tears.


Reason 7: You killed off Player 1 just so you can be Player 2.


This is kind of more for the retro horrible people, because as you know back in the day of the NES and SNES, two-player games were not simultaneous, but alternating. And player one was usually your star character: Mario in the SMB series. Lolo in The Adventures of Lolo 3. Bub in Bubble Bobble.

But Luigi, Lala, and Bob needed love too, and damn it, you were there to provide vigilante justice.

So you started your game as a “two-player” game, knowing full well there was only one of you. Not only were you prepared to commit murder, you were a bold-faced liar.

But you were doing it for good purposes, right? So maybe Mario took a flying leap into a bottomless pit, or into the mouth of a hungry piranha plant. Luigi still saved the Princess, right? You were doing it for justice… for equality!

…Sure you were.


Reason 6: You “accidentally” killed members of your multiplayer team.


“Friendly fire. My bad, bruh.”

This is Call of Duty code for “You asshole, I just knocked off a bunch of people in a row to get that supply drop, and you stole it. Get your own damn supply drop, n00b.”

Friendly fire my ass.


Reason 5: You “accidentally” snatched up another player’s items.


I didn’t say “friendly fire” wasn’t justifiable; just that it made you a dick. But at least you took out a bigger dick.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about co-op. In some co-op campaigns, the two player characters pile together their goods, which is nice. If I pick up a first aid kit, and you’re about to kick the bucket, please, be my guest, use it. We have [INSERT ENEMIES HERE] to kill off; my god, man, USE IT!

But in some games, you keep separate stashes, and if your co-op partner is a Horrible Person, you’re in big trouble. So where others might have enough weaponry to storm David Koresh’s compound (hello ’90s reference!) all you have to defend yourself is a measly karate chop. This is especially egregious in zombie games. Because nothing is as efficient in a zombie game with flesh-tearing undead as hand-to-hand combat.



Reason 4: You’ve committed SimGenocide.


I’ve heard some people claim population control on this issue, and I, to quote the Vice President of the United States, say “Malarkey!”

Even if your SimCity had overcrowding issues, you could have found other ways to reclaim land for more zones and built suburb areas. There was no need to send a giant Japanese monster through the middle of your city destroying everything in its path.

More likely what it was is you had a bad day at work, school, or the brothel, and you were like, “I HATE EVERYTHING” but realized that quenching your thirst for mayhem would probably put you smack on the 10 o’clock news, and not for the fluffy, feel-good story part at the end. Instead, you went to your secret supercomputer hidden inside your SimCity Hall, flagged down aliens and had them zap the sh*t out of your SimCitizens.

That’s not just dickmade, that’s like, intergalactic dickmade. I mean, you flagged down motherf***in’ aliens.

Look who’s a big man now… chump.


Reason 3: You abused innocent chickens in Hyrule.



Don’t come crying to me that you were killed by a bunch of chickens. You brought that on yourself, animal abuser. Really, now. What did that poor, defenseless chicken ever do to you? I bet in its little chicken brain it was thinking, “Go Link! Save the princess Zelda and spare Hyrule from the horrific evil that Ganon wishes to unleash! You can can do it! BAWK!”

“Hero of Legend” my left nut. You’re nothing but a chicken-beater. It’s bad enough that you choked your chicken every night, now you gotta beat it too?


Reason 2: You microwaved the hamster.


OK, there was a lot of silly/weird crap you could do in Maniac Mansion. You could give a can of Pepsi to a plant, a teammate, or a disembodied tentacle. You can make a copy of the Tentacle’s Mating Call and mail it in to Mark Eteer at the “3 Guys Who Publish Anything” just to watch his skyscraper window shatter. You can fix a radio to call intergalactic police to arrest a sentient yet slimy Meteor (though knowing you, you would probably use the fixed radio to send more aliens toward your SimCity). All of this is relatively harmless and sometimes useful though.

Then you learned Weird Ed Edison had a hamster.

OK, yes, you had to steal the hamster. It was sitting on top of a key card you really needed to have in order to save Sandy from Dr. Fred and the Meteor. But then, what to do with the hamster? You could have put him back where you found him, or released him inside the mansion, or even outside. Instead, you did something that would horrify Nintendo for years to come (mainly because they censored everything in the game but this event).

You sent Razor or Syd to the kitchen… then you took the poor, cuddly, defenseless little hamster, with its fuzzy body and big puffy cheeks and adorable eyes…


…and you put him in the microwave.







Have you no moral compass? Have you no shame? Have you no soul?

I cannot possibly think of one thing that would shoot you further up the ranks of Horrible Person-ness–


Reason 1: You microwaved the hamster, then gave its grotesquely-nuked guts back to Weird Ed.



…Okay, that would shoot you further up the ranks of Horrible Person-ness. And frankly at that point you had it coming.

Like I said, I have done many of these things too. All gamers have. It is a special virtual-world-only sickness that we share. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to plan a trip to Confession.



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