Look. Video games are amazing and an important part of my life. That said video games are also really dumb. Ludonarrative dissonance is a popular term when it comes to criticizing a game. It basically boils down to a disconnection between a game’s narrative and the gameplay. For example, let’s say you’re a protagonist trapped in a yard surrounded by a chained fence and a locked door. In reality, one could simply climb that fence, but because that gameplay mechanic is not implemented for players, they have to find a key or device to open it. It can be frustrating, but games cannot adhere to the laws governed by our reality. If someone could create an experience like that where anything is possible, but also follow simple principles like not being able to heal several shotgun blasts to the chest via an herb would be a wondrous stroke of programming genius, but not necessarily fun.
Now as dramatic as I made that out to be, this is supposed to be a hilarious take on video game logic memes. Granted I may come across grumpier, or more agitated rather than lighthearted, but know I’m coming from a place of love with these entries. Again, I love video games and even though these memes bring up a good point in contradicting logic, I wouldn’t give up gameplay just to make the world make more sense. That would detract from what actually makes video games the greatest medium out there. Anyway, before you read on know that some of these entries contain SPOILERS. Other than that enjoy!
Let's begin with one of the more recent releases starring a white samurai who is a savior to Japan. I'm referring to Nioh and not Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai. Yes, the protagonist, William, did have a Japanese spirit guarding him since he was a child and sure a sailor would probably pick up a thing or two on his travels, but to be the best of the best? I think not, but who am I to say. Maybe his swashbuckling heritage gives him the edge over trained soldiers and otherworldly demons. It's unique I'll give Koei Tecmo that, but regardless of a cool idea, it's still pretty weird. Also William's character design looks a like Geralt from The Witcher series. Now there's a monster slayer who'd do well in Japan. There’s nothing wrong with a white skinned hero being a samurai, but it is silly.
Speaking of Geralt, let’s talk about some RPG tropes. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t the only one guilty of this, but it’s my most recent example. Okay, so you’re tasked with finding your adopted daughter of sorts, Ciri, before an evil force finds her. Throughout the game, this sentiment is blasted into Geralt’s head repeatedly as an urgent mission where a second lost could prove fatal for Ciri. With that being said, you can mess around for countless hours doing remedial tasks like hunting monsters, playing cards, or locating a crazy old woman’s pot. It’s an open world RPG, so there needs to be stuff to do in order to expand the gameplay and I’m fine with that. Perhaps don’t patronize the player for taking their time though. It’s disheartening, although I’d rather feel bad than having a time limit implemented like in Dead Rising.
Another recent release that we're gonna pick apart is Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. There are plenty of memes out there I could tackle from the series in the past, including Leon being the sole agent sent in to rescue the president’s daughter in Resident Evil 4. Anyway very early in the game our hero, Ethan, has his left armed cut off via a chainsaw from his possessed wife, Mia. You immediately then pour some herbal water on it, as if that helps, and then fight her again with your one arm, as if you wouldn't pass out from blood loss instead. Somehow, hours later, the Baker family were able to reattach your hand like magic. Ethan’s reaction to me is what’s most troublesome. He yells from shock after initially losing it, but he is surprisingly calm afterward. He’s more scared of some bugs later on in the game. Suffice it to say, I think Ethan is emotionally stunted. Maybe this isn’t the first time Mia took a chainsaw to him.
I'm jamming this problem onto The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but it applies to many games. So one of my biggest gripes is character's having a weight limit. First of all, you’re telling me tht my character can carry an unlimited amount of cash, in this case gold, without a pack, but somehow an ingredient I use in potions, like a bug’s wing, will crush my body if I carry too many? I think not. Dungeons and Dragons have various bags with pocket dimensions capable of holding larger objects without weighing down the player. Giving a character something similar would ease my soul, as I would understand that one more wing would not fit into my pocket's dimension. Now the easiest reason why there are restrictions is because of memory. If Skyrim had to keep track of everything you pick up, I imagine it'd crash more than it already does.
If a Phoenix Down can revive a character, then why is Aeris dead? Aeris' death has plagued us for ages, with some even going so far as to track down ways to actually revive her. While using hacks, mods, and cheats can do it, canonically Aeris is dead so it's time to let it go. It's funny to laugh at the logic of this one, but I theorize that whenever someone dies in Final Fantasy VII, or really any RPG, they just fall into a critical state. Pokémon says it best when they label downed Pokémon as feinted. When all three party members are stricken down, that opportunity leaves the monster a chance to truly finish them off. So with all that said, it makes sense why Aeris is actually dead as sad as it is. So there I ruined the meme.
On that note, let’s discuss Pokémon’s many mind-boggling abnormalities. Sending out pre-teen children into the wild with hordes of monsters roaming about sounds like a case for child services, but, that aside, I want to discuss legendary Pokémon instead. Each new game introduces several legendary Pokémon, but none has been more nonsensical as Arceus, which first appeared in Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl. Essentially this creature is believed to be the first Pokémon, who also created existence. Oh right, so he's God then. I understand Game Freak wanting to up the stakes with each new legendary monster, but why not keep them as just cool, rare Pokémon instead of creating literal Gods? If you want to do that, then make them unobtainable, otherwise it makes no sense how a child can catch a God, or the God.
I've lost count at this point, but the fun loving Nathan Drake, across his five adventures, has to have killed at least a thousand men and somehow survived. Why he hasn't been recruited by Seal Team Six is beyond me. That being said, how can a man with that skill suck at video games. If you didn't know this by now, there's a moment early on in Uncharted 4 when Nathan sits down with Elena to enjoy some after-dinner gaming via Crash Bandicoot on PS1. Now, technically you can beat her score, but it's pretty challenging and it's funnier canonically, and for the purpose of this joke, if you mess up. I guess if future treasure hunting rivals want to beat, him all they need to do is pop out a Game Boy, or something.
These games have all been enjoyable in the most video gamey ways possible, with big set pieces accompanied by fast paced action and plenty of gore. However, one thing I can't stand is Kratos. There's not enough time for me to air all my grievances, but let's start with his undying love for his wife. It, and the loss of his daughter, fuels his rage. He’ll do anything to avenge their souls. However, he's not above sleeping with random women in every game. Kratos, you've got some terrible marriage issues bud, the least of which is that your wife and child's are dead while you do the dirty deed with these prostitutes. True, his wife is dead, so he's allowed to explore other women by now, but if he does then he has no claim to his rage. Look in the mirror Kratos because you're the real villain.
Batman has one code: do not kill. Sometimes properties go against these known rules like 2016’s awful Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice where Batman literally shoots people with a gun. Not a gun that propels sleeping gas, but an actual gun with bullets. Batman shooting a gun is the least of that film’s problems though. Anyway, Batman also kills dudes in the Arkham games, even if it isn't as obvious. The damage he does to some henchmen is violent that they’re either dead or so close to it they want to be. Plus, Batman Arkham Knight introduces the Batmobile, which is a whole other can of worms. Like my Final Fantasy VII theory regarding death, I have one for Batman as well that solves this dilemma. I think the player sees reality where the in-game Batman thinks he’s holding back to keep his mind sane. Take a look at this CollegeHumor video, which sums up my point quite accurately.
The concept of healing yourself in video games is hilariously inaccurate. Shooting yourself up with needles, munching on painkillers, or eating food alone cannot cure bullet wounds. Bioshock Infinite calls back to the very early days of regenerating health, where characters could eat pizza or cheeseburgers in the street, dropped from bloody enemies, in order to feel better. It wasn’t possible in the 8-Bit and 16-Bit generation and it sure isn’t possible in the realm of Bioshock Infinite, even with flying cities. So yeah, Booker go ahead and eat that hot dog from the trash. If you die from food poisoning, I’m sure a smarter version of you will appear in an alternate timeline. I’ll share another video, this time from Mega64, to accompany my point.
The Grant Theft Auto series is perhaps one of the more insane cases of ludonarrative dissonance in video games, unless we’re talking about Grand Theft Auto V. In a world where Rockstar grants you the ability to do almost anything, it’s hard to reconcile being a maniac when the story dictates otherwise. The only protagonist insane enough to go around killing people like it was nothing is Trevor. Michael and Franklin may be bank robbers, but they’re definitely not crazed enough to go on a murder rampage or tackle menial tasks like aiding the paparazzi or searching for Big Foot. To combat complaints such as these, I believe that’s why Trevor was created. I’m not damning the series for building open worlds and allowing players to goof around. It’s fun and one of the most 'video gamey' video games on the market, but it definitely doesn’t fit their storytelling.
I have a lot of issues with Destiny and I can almost guarantee I’m not the only one. It was another game where the hype didn’t exactly deliver. Not that I think the initial launch game was terrible, but it was just significantly lacking content and the story was clearly cut to make deadline. That aside let’s talk about technology in Destiny. Eventually your character is able to summon a Sparrow with seemingly a flick of the wrist. It's awesome and teleportating powers always look cool. Enemies can do this as well, like The Vex that can teleport out of nowhere in order to suppress our heroes across time and space. Great, so why can they only teleport a handful of robots in waves and not an entire army? And why can’t I summon a plethora of weapons and items like my Sparrow? I suppose this could fall into the realm of weight limits like in Skyrim, but Destiny's technology seems a few steps ahead of then...
Destiny and The Division share similar concepts by combining a shooter with RPG and MMO aspects. I liked it as well, perhaps even a greater deal than Density, but there is one major plot point that kind of ruins the noble cause set forth in the game. So, the story goes that money circulated on Black Friday diseased the population of New York City and people went crazy, formed factions, and started looting everything. You’re part of a secret force designed to help out in crises like these in order to uphold order. This is all well and good, but uh, you’re just as guilty as swiping things that aren’t yours and not just from enemies either. I looted apartments of clothes, food, and some insanely high-end equipment. Chalk this up to the “greater good” mantra that while you are stealing from the innocent, it’s for the benefit of society, I guess. The only difference between you and the bad guys is that you’re government backed.
The Metal Gear Solid series is a whacky combination of serious plotlines with convoluted loops and hijinks aplenty. I could easily list the funniest things you can do in these games, but after going through my collection of screenshots, I remembered Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots allowed Old Snake to relieve stress by looking at Playboy magazines, furthering the stereotype that old men are perverts. Now nudie magazines have been an item in many of these games, including cardboard cutouts in the latest entry, but I like the idea of Old Snake chilling in the Middle East while soldiers go around killing each other the most. Watching enemies pick up your magazines while you pop them in the head with tranquilizers and pose them in oddball positions is good too, but seriously, there’s a war going on here with giant robots and actual vampires. Get it together gramps!
I appropriately saved The Last of Us for the last of you. It’s a weak joke, but whatever. Anyway, this may be the most serious game on the list, as players are thrown into a post apocalyptic world where civilization has ended due to a fungus infecting the population. In order to survive, people have taken drastic measures. In these dire times they’ve also figured out how to MacGyver useless junk into amazing items, but only specific ones. For example, our hero, Joel, can craft a Molotov cocktail with alcohol and a rag. That’s pretty much the recipe in reality, so I have no problems there. A shiv can be created when combining binding material and a blade. Um, hold on. Isn’t a blade already a shiv? I’ve been in more places than one where I have literally seen knives in drawers and counters and yet they were ignored. Again, I understand that you have to limit players in what they can carry, but in a world where every material matters, well it takes me out of it. With this, I will close with another favorite Mega64 video that sums up my thoughts exactly, albeit slightly more exaggerated. Phew and with that, I’m all memed out.