Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it. . . not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.
– Michael Scott to Toby Flenderson, (The Office 2.22)
You’re playing a video game and having a great time. All is right in the world, and then there’s this asshole (to borrow a phrase from Penn Jillette).
You know who I’m talking about, right?
- The ineffective character in that beat ’em up.
- The cheese spewing fighting game boss.
- That evil creature who only exists to taunt you.
- The hostage who doesn’t seem to want to be saved.
- The obnoxious little kid.
- The annoying prat.
Those characters whom you rationally despise at an irrational level.
This feature is about those assholes.
Let’s start with a character that everyone old enough to have had an NES should detest with zeal.
Duck Hunt can essentially be seen as a metaphorical “Press the right button, get a treat, press the wrong button, get zapped” learning lesson to anyone who doesn’t put very much thought into the experience. The lesson is simple: shoot a duck, the dog retrieves it and congratulates the player; miss the ducks and the dog snickers at you for being a bad shot. The desire to shoot the dog notwithstanding, it’s a simple enough idea to wrap your head around: succeed and be praised, fail and be mocked.
This becomes something of a problem as one grows older.
You spend three months working on a science project about photosynthesis effects or spore mold growth or the effects of video games on hand-eye coordination or whatever, only to see first place go to the kid with the working volcano. You play Ninja Gaiden Black on Easy only to see Ryu spending the game running around with a pink bow to signify that you’re a loser who can’t play the game like everyone else, and you still can’t beat it. You ask a cute guy or girl to the seasonal dance of the moment only to have them laugh in your face. You spend way more money than you wanted to on that engagement ring only to find out it turned your fiance’s finger green. You buy a wonderful diamond necklace for your wife for your five-year anniversary, only to come home early and find her redefining the term “giving a ride” with. . . is that . . . yep, that’s your brother. You go to your high-school reunion expecting to see all of the old jocks and cheerleaders as deadbeat dads and single moms only to find out that out of everyone in your graduating class, everyone who isn’t dead or in jail is significantly more successful than you. You buy a coffee from the drive-thru only to spill it in your lap as some asshole cuts you off, all over your brand new pants, on the day of your big presentation to your most important client, you lean out the window to give him a piece of your mind and it turns out to be your most important client, and in the resulting confusion you end up rear-ending a cop car.
And as you look up, out of the corner of your eye you see
fucking laughing at you.
Screw you, you brown bastard. You can’t even shoot the damn things; you don’t have any thumbs.
– Mark B.
(The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
A 35 year old nuisance that I’m almost positive was invented as a knock against cosplayers, Tingle first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask as a man that liked to dress up as a fairy, using a balloon to fly due to his lack of wings. He has appeared in nearly every Zelda game since, and in a few of his own, finding new and exciting ways to annoy me. He fulfills different roles in each game, but why does it have to be Tingle in those roles instead of someone, I don’t know. . .good? He’s not funny. He’s not cute. He’s kinda creepy, actually. Think about it; a middle-aged man, dressing up in tights, who has an obsession with rupees, force gems, kinstone pieces, or anything else shiny. In all likelihood, he’s using those gems to lure little kids into his van. Or whatever creepy child molesters use in the Zelda universe.
And another thing: his catchphrase, “Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo-LimPAH!” This is usually followed by the throwing of confetti and a stern warning to Link to not steal his catchphrase. First of all, Link doesn’t talk, how can he steal a catchphrase? Secondly, WHY would he want to steal that particular one? Again, not funny, not cute, makes no sense.
I’m all for comic relief, but all I ask is that the comic relief is funny. Every time Tingle is on screen I want to jump into the game and set him on fire and watch him squirm as he roasts before my eyes. Only then will I laugh at something Tingle does.
– Charlie Marsh
Ahh, Everquest. Back in the pre-WOW days of MMORPGs, EQ was top of the game. I didn’t play very long. Far, far too much of the game is, literally, sitting in one place waiting for a magic bar to fill. The best part of the game, for me, was getting drunk and getting into fist fights with my friends and, hey, why pay $15 a month for that when I can do it for free?
I should have known right away I picked the most pain in the ass job class based on the fact that I had to run through a PVP area just to get to my goddamned guild. But, c’mon! Necromancer? Evil AND I get a cute little skeleton pet? Sign me the fuck up! I was lucky enough to have a buddy help me out and show me where everything was, including nice, easy low-level things for me to kill. (Side-note: his battle cry, and this was 5 years or so before Leroy Jenkins, was, I believe, “Make em say unnnnnnnngggh! Na na na NA!”Â) Once I hit level 10 or so, he showed me where the skeletons were so I could rack up some EXP. I never understood WHY necros kill skeles, though….aren’t they supposed to be friends?
Anyways. So, he shows me where magical skeleton grove is, and then leaves me to my own devices. “Watch out for Holly Windstalker,”Â says he, parting. “Ok,”Â I think, “whatevs.”Â He leaves me alone for and, at first, I’m doing great. Killing skeletons. With, uh, my skeleton. And then she comes.
Holly motherfucking dickless son of a whore putrid fucking yeast infection Windstalker.
Its been 8 years and I still want to cunt-punch that bitch. Of course, she basically one-hit kills me on sight. Now, as I said, I had a higher level buddy helping me out. So I have some cool shit on my corpse. Luckily, HEY! I’m a necro! Finding dead bodies is what I do! So, I pop back into the zone, find my corpse, and…..HOLLY FUCKING PISS COCK WINDSTALKER AGAIN! Ok, now I have TWO corpses that need to be looted.
I’m not an idiot, so the next time I zone in to grab my “skull staff of skeleton dildo”Â or whatever the fuck I had, I circle at a distance, watch her movements, and wait. She leaves and some higher level player engages her, sweet! I am good to go. I go to loot my corpse, and GODFUCKING HELL SHIT! Dead again.
This continued more or less until I quit the game. It was like she could see the entire zone and hated me most of all the filthy necromancers. She would intentionally seek me out just to rape my poor, poor corpse. Er….pile of corpses.
Holly Windstalker makes me want to piss on your mother.
– Adam Powell
(Final Fantasy X)
One day I decided to go looking for a JRPG to play, even though I generally don’t like them and rarely ever manage to play through them without getting bored. Luckily, my friend had a copy of FFX he was willing to part with for a measly five bucks. I’m no rich man, but this seemed like an offer I shouldn’t refuse. After all, the game has gotten some pretty good reviews and I’d watched another friend play through it and have a blast. I thought “what the hell?”
Then I met Tidus.
There has never been a more annoying character created in the history of fiction. You can talk all you want about Tingle and the dog from Duck Hunt, but Tidus blows them all out of the water. Everything about him, from his ridiculous hair cut, his bleed-inducing wardrobe, and his god awful voice hurts me like nails on a chalkboard. I can’t play that game for ten minutes without wanting to reach through the TV screen and strangle him with his own intestines. It doesn’t help that his companions are terminally depressed, self-pitying chick and a idiot with a Wayne Static haircut and an obsession with what turns out to be the most boring sport since croquet.
If you really need more proof of how cringe worth he is, go to youtube and look up the scene where Tidus and Yuna take turns laughing at nothing. I swore off of JRPGS for over a year because of that.
(Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link)
Ok, so this was the first appearance of the Link doppleganger that looked like a damn shadow. He was the final boss of a game that not only was a huge pain to play, but also sucked in general. Still, I played it and put up with enough aggravation to want to fight to the end and complete the thing.
Then I ran into myself, so to speak. Not only did he almost mimic Link’s every single move, but he was cheap as all hell. As if this game didn’t suck enough as it is already because of how far it varied off the path of every Zelda game created, but then you have to try and do battle with this shady character. No pun intended.
(A note: Much like the strength of the Incredible Hulk, my vocabulary increases with rage. I apologize if any of you need to run to a 19th century dictionary to follow the subsequent essay.)
Fighters Megamix might be the greatest fighting game of all time. It featured a mixed cast consisting of warriors from Virtua Fighter and the Fighting Vipers, as well as a couple of bonus characters from the likes of Virtua Cop and Daytona USA.
You could customize the controls to play more like VF or FV. You could battle in a cage or on a nearly limitless expanse. You could even have an inflatable bear fight a giant piece of meat. You could knock clothing off of 16 year old girls, or shoot a duck in the face. You could even play as B.M., an unfortunately named bad-ass.
It was everything you could want in a 3D fighter.
Only, there was a stain on the game. There came a horrible piece of flotsam brought in from Fighting Vipers. A character that denies the game its perfection, a zob, a useless, detestable, steaming pile known as Picky.
Oh, how I hate you Picky.
For those lucky few who have not encountered this asshole, let me tell why Picky is worse than Cholera. You see, Picky is a tiny, obnoxious, 14 year old skate-boarding punk who demands to be kicked in the face.
Now, don’t write me off as a misopedist. I’ve got nothing against kids; I just want them out of my fighting tournaments.
And while it might be fun to kick the shit out of a skate-boarding hobbledehoy, let me warn you that he is a poltroon of the highest order! This little uzzard has a devastating sweep that can lead novice players to many a cheese covered victory.
Imagine the humiliation Wolf Hawkfield would feel if he knew that you let him get beat up by some 100 pound prepubescent. Imagine Kage’s shame when you tell him that Ninjutsu is useless against a green-helmeted douchebag with a skateboard.
So, next time you see a snot-nosed punk trying to be Tony Hawk, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to clothesline that cocksucker, JBL style.
Yeah, Picky, how do you like me now?!
(Resident Evil 4)
Well, this is probably my favorite or at least my second favorite RE game right behind the first one. Leon is a kick ass character to play as and it was just an overall excellent game. The one downside is not only do you have to save the President’s daughter Ashley, but you have to lug her around with you. She is nothing more then dead weight and a huge annoyance.
Sometimes she forgets to duck when you have to fire quickly and gets a nice bullet to the head. Maybe you sliced at a barrel with your knife and all she did was duck but stayed right in the path of the blade. Then there is the wonderful screams she does when she oh so slooowwwllly turns the cranks to bring up the underwater platforms but gets snagged by a henchman and you’ve run out of rifle ammo. Sometimes popping a cap in her blond head is worth starting again just to get a sense of relief. At least until you play the game through one whole time and start again to see her goods hanging out the front of her new outfit.
(The Legend of Zelda)
Sometimes, things can go wrong in life. That’s just how it goes, you can’t really avoid it: it just happens. We all learn to deal with the bad stuff over the years, but there’s one thing that can make something that was originally only “bad” become much harder to take. I’m talking about humiliation. Losing your lunch money at school could be bad, but could easily be fixed. However, getting your lunch money stolen by some jerk who then proceeds to make you trip in the mud in front of everyone can make someone go insane over time.
In the videogame world, this could be easily translated into someone losing a shield. Losing said shield because it was made of wood and you walked too close to fire can be annoying, but hey, it was your fault you didn’t bring a metal shield into the fire temple. However, losing your shield because some blob resembling an inside-out anus dropped from the ceiling and, in the most humiliating manner, absorbed you as if you were being humped by a sack of gray-ish flesh residues, can be quite overbearing.
This has been going on for over twenty years and it has to stop now.
Starting with the original game of the series, The Legend of Zelda has often featured these obnoxious, ugly creatures known as the Like-like. My first memory of this atrocity dates from sometime in my early childhood. During the year and a half or so it took me to finish the first game, I encountered something that in my childish mind resembled a hamburger patty.
“Oh! A new enemy” Let’s try to cut it down with my sword in the same way as. . . whoa. . . what is it doing?…”
I watched helplessly as my character was being raped by pixilated ground beef. As soon as it was over, I escaped the room to rethink my attack plan.
“I could always use the boomerang to stun it, or put some bombs? Maybe it’s like a small Dodongo. Or maybe I could block it with my super expensive, brand new shie- wait a minute.”
A waste of 90 rupees, that’s what that Magic Shield was. Sure, I could buy a new one, but rupees were scarce in the original Zelda, and didn’t fall out of trees or hide behind bushes. Acquiring a new one was an adventure in itself. Then, as soon as I got back into the dungeon, the same thing would happen over and over again, because my manual dexterity as a child was not good enough to constantly escape from these damn Like-likes.
Thankfully, they were noticeably absent from A Link to the Past, but guess who returned in Ocarina of Time? And guess who returned completely redesigned? And guess who fell for the trap once again?
As a life-long gamer, I have survived through a lot of things: I have beat countless Water Temples, I have beat Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire despite my character seemingly throwing itself voluntarily off cliffs and I have even played text-heavy games without speaking English. My mind can take quite a beating, but the Like-like has been very close to making me snap on a couple of occasions.
(Super Mario Bros.)
Ah, Princess, how I loathe ye. I squashed Goombas for you. I jumped over bottomless pits for you. I slid down pipes, swam through the evil seas, and dodged fire – all for you. And where are you?
Of course! You’re in another castle!
Princess Toadstool, I hate you. You are an awful character who brings nothing to the table. Real video game characters have stories and depth. Your only claim to fame is a propensity for getting kidnapped. You play the damsel in distress oh so well; just about everyone else is fooled by your charms. But not me. I see through you for what you really are. You’re the kind of girl who would openly flirt with a guy, then drop in a mention about your boyfriend. I hate that.
Sure, the Mario games could never have been created without you. But like any self-centered girl would, you took advantage of the benevolence of others. You changed your name to Peach. You took a main role in Super Mario RPG for no apparent reason. You were prominently featured in the Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, and Mario Golf series. However, you forgot one very important thing.
NOBODY LIKES YOU!
You’re just a dime-a-dozen Mario character. Nobody is going to play as the Princess when they can play as badasses like Koopa Troopa and Waluigi. And have you ever thought about the message you send to little girls everywhere? You essentially tell them to go out and get kidnapped, and then you’ll become world famous and adored by all. Guess what, sister? It doesn’t work that way. You just got lucky.
In the words of the Iron Sheik, you are a piece of shit, no-good motherfucker. Princess Toadstool, Peach, whatever you call yourself these days… I hate you.
– Bryan Berg