Sometimes you don’t need to know much about the story in order to enjoy a video game. All you need is the setup, how to play, and you’re good to go. Sure there are games with thought-provoking themes, but more often than not a video game needs to function as a game first. Many modern games attempt to convey a coherent story; a type of narrative for players to be invested into as they play through the game.
However, even if a video game’s story is equivalent to that of Shakespeare, it won’t matter in the long run if the game isn’t fun to play. That is why a lot of older games were made with the mentality of gameplay first, story and lore a distant second. It didn’t matter why Pac-Man was a yellow circle being chased by ghosts. As long as the games were fun to play, then players didn’t need to look for an answer.
Even when games started developing more elaborate stories, more often than not the gameplay would be the primary objective of the developers. This is why certain things in video games, including more recent ones, still have things that don’t really make much sense. A lot of times, a story is mostly used to serve as a convenient set-up for a level or boss fight. Some necessary backstory is often simplified in order for the game to establish more gameplay features, and at times they don’t make sense. Here are 25 Video Game Backstories That Make Absolutely No Sense.
The original Metal Gear game has a story that doesn’t really add up. The main premise of the game involves Solid Snake being ordered by his superior, Big Boss, to stop mercenaries in Outer Heaven from using a Metal Gear superweapon. It turns out the main villain was Big Boss himself, which doesn’t make any sense since he was the one that sent Snake to Outer Heaven in the first place. The prequel, Metal Gear Solid V, tries to fix this plot hole by explaining there were two Big Bosses. Honestly, it still doesn’t make sense.
A lot of classic video game villains are often known for their stupidly simple motives. All Bowser wants to do is capture Princess Peach and take over her kingdom. Why? No one except Bowser knows why.
Even with the incredibly low standard of villain’s motive, M. Bison from Street Fighter takes the cake for being one of the ones that make the least amount of sense. From creating a villainous organization to making clones of himself, and setting up a tournament, understanding M. Bison’s true goals are like figuring out how to find Bigfoot. It’s impossible.
A lot of criticism towards the recent Fire Emblem games is that the old school fans find the plots too simple. I would argue that the stories were never as complex as some fans make them out to be. Though Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest really does take the cake of forcing players to stretch their measurement of disbelief, it establishes that Garon is undeniably villainous. However, in Conquest, the character avatar chooses to fight in his army because he is your adoptive father. This is despite the fact that it is established that Garon took you away from your family.
Scorpion is, without a question, one of the best characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise. A wraith reborn after his defeat by the original Sub-Zero, Scorpion’s main motivation has almost always been revenge. While his desire for vengeance checks out, it still doesn’t make sense for him to follow Quan Chi’s orders as long as he did. It is implied that Quan Chi may have some control over him. Still, for the longest time Scorpion completely trusted Quan Chi. He followed every order Quan Chi gave him without question, which doesn’t make sense given his personality.
Doom’s lack of a story may actually be one of the series’ strengths, as it was elegantly pointed out in the opening moments of the Doom remake game. In the opening minutes of the remake, the main character is awoken by monsters. Before he could receive the proper amount exposition to understand the backstory of the game, he simply destroys the beasts and you start playing the game from there. You are then thrust into fighting demons. There is a story in Doom, but the games rarely cared to elaborate it beyond simply facing against demons.
For such a colorful and kid-friendly game, Splatoon actually has a really dark backstory. In the alternate history of the Splatoon world, after the water rises to cover most of the Earth, a majority of land mammals become extinct. Among the extinct creatures are humans, and with humans gone squids become the dominant species. The squids would then evolve into the Inklings.
The shockingly dark history of the Splatoon world really doesn’t jell with style and tone that the games present. It is strange to think all humans perish centuries before the events of the games.
There is a lot of questions concerning with Princess Peach that the Mario games refuse to answer. One, why isn’t she Queen Peach yet? Clearly, there is no other royalty in the Mushroom Kingdom. Two, as Mushroom Kingdom’s sole monarch, what does she do for the country? It seems like all she does is act pretty and get captured by a giant turtle. Three, why does the Mushroom Kingdom have a human-looking princess, when everyone else in the nation is a Toad? Was she adopted or something?
In Mario’s first handheld adventure, instead of saving Princess Peach from Bowser in Super Mario Land, Mario had to save Princess Daisy from Tatanga. There was literally no difference between Peach and Daisy, except for some minor aesthetic differences. Daisy, outside the sports and party games, was never seen again. Her kingdom, Sarasaland, was also never seen again. We never get much backstory on Daisy, other than the fact that she may have a thing for Luigi. To be fair, as proven by Princess Peach’s questionable backstory, more prominence doesn’t necessarily mean Daisy would gain a sufficient story.
Most of the time, stories in fighting games are often thinly veiled excuses to explain why a cast of crazy characters are fighting one another. Even with that justification, the Soulcalibur games take the cake for being some of the most incoherent video game storytelling out there. While certain character arcs and side stories make enough sense for gamers to care about the cast, the whole main narrative is confusing and doesn’t really make much sense. I’m sure the concept between why Nightmare exists and why they are connected to Siegfried makes sense to some fans.
The lore from the King of Fighters game makes a lot more sense compared to Soulcalibur; however, King of Fighters is still pretty nuts. With sixteen titles under the series’ belt, the story has gone through so many different directions. It started with the heroes trying to stop a cult from resurrecting an ancient darkness. Then the games became about a malicious organization that wanted to take over the world with clones and a giant laser. In the recent title, King of Fighters XVI, time travel has been introduced. It’s insane, but in a good way.
Wario is a despicable character. He is greedy and selfish and is often antagonistic towards Mario and his friends. When Wario spun-off from Mario and gain his own WarioWare series, he was given his own supporting cast. This includes the witch Ashley and the pretty Mona. All the supporting characters are considered to be Wario’s friends, which doesn’t make a lick of sense. Wario is a bad dude, and the rest of the cast are decent people. They should know better and not hang out with Wario. Crazier still, Mona has a crush on Wario.
First appearing in Mario Tennis on the N64, Waluigi has always been an enigma within the Mario franchise. He serves as Wario’s partner and Luigi’s villainous counterpart, but has never appeared in any of the mainline Mario games. He has only existed within the Mario Sports and Party games. Wario has increasingly become more fleshed out, even receiving his own spin-off series. Waluigi has not been fleshed out, and a lot of his backstory has yet to even be revealed. What is Waluigi? That may be the franchise’s biggest question.
Ridley is Samus’ nemesis. A purple space dragon, Ridley has been leading the intergalactic space pirates for decades. He was the one that slew Samus’ parents. Ridley is one of the most common recurring bosses in the Metroid franchise. Each time he appears, Samus is always there to stop him. Each time he is defeated by Samus, it appears as if he is destroyed for good. However he always somehow finds a way back. It’s not always explained how he always comes back; sometimes he is turned into a cyborg. Other times he just comes back because why not?
Dr. Wily from the Mega Man franchise is a villainous scientist who wants to take over the world. In order to accomplish his nefarious goal, he creates robot masters. Despite being a certified genius, all his robots are bad. Each robot master has a specific weakness towards another robot’s attacks. For example, Bubble Man is weak against Metal Man’s metal blades. Ignoring the fact that Wily created a Bubble Man, all Mega Man needs to do is fight and take the powers of each Robot Master in a specific order. Why did Wily make robots with glaring weaknesses?
Dr. Eggman, or Dr. Robotnik if you’re one of those people, is a mad genius who is searching for the chaos emblems. In order to find them, he uses robots that are powered by small animals. Now, I don’t know what kind of crazy power source that tiny animals magically have, but I have to imagine that animals aren’t a better fuel source than oil, solar, or any other type of energy that could be used to power Eggman’s machines. Sonic wouldn’t even be chasing after Eggman if he wasn’t using small animals as his power source.
The Mishima family drama in the Tekken franchise is ludicrous. It all started when Heihachi Mishima decided to throw his son, Kazuya, off a cliff to test him if he strong enough to run his company. Kazuya would later return, having accepted a deal with the devil, and was able to drop his father off the same cliff. Heihachi would soon return, and, to one-up his own son, drops Kazuya in an active volcano. Oh, and during all this, there is a tournament that will somehow lead to Heihachi or Kazuya ruling the world.
Jin Kazama, the son of Kazuya Mishima, is supposed to be the “good” guy among the Mishima clan. He may be angsty as anyone, since he has that pesky thing called a Devil Gene, but his heart is mostly in the right place. That is, until he suddenly gains control of the Mishima Zaibatsu, and decides to go to war with the planet. Apparently, this was done to draw out Azazel, a villainous entity. Of course, this doesn’t ignore the fact that he went to war with the Earth, and probably ended many people’s lives.
We now recognize Donkey Kong as one of the most identifiable video game protagonists out there. This is a contrast to Donkey Kong’s villain role in the original Donkey Kong video game. Since he has been revamped in Donkey Kong Country, he has remained a hero. There is some confusion over if the Donkey Kong that first appeared in Country is the same one that appeared in the OG Donkey Kong. It is claimed that the Donkey Kong that appeared in Country is actually the grandson of the original Donkey Kong, who has been renamed as Cranky Kong.
Final Fantasy VII actually does a pretty good job exploring Sephiroth’s backstory and explaining why he ended up the way he does in the game. The revelation that his “mother” is an alien cause him to go mad, and he became obsessed with reuniting with her. Even though Sephiroth’s backstory has the necessary ingredients to make him appear more tragic, his ultimate end goal of becoming a deity really doesn’t track. Based on the information we were given about Sephiroth, his motivation of wanting to become a god doesn’t really make sense.
So does Bowser have his own kingdom or what? Because I don’t know where he gets his army of Koopas. He is always capturing Princess Peach, as if capturing the princess would automatically make you the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. Some Mario titles suggest that Bowser is legitimately in love with Peach and wants to marry her. If that’s the case, then Bowser should realize after all this time that Peach is simply not into him. Taking someone by force is problematic as is. After decades of failing to marry Peach, Bowser should really just move on.
It is always strange that every professor, in every region of the Pokémon games, requires a child to do all their research for them. All the professors are grownups with years of experience, yet somehow they need a kid to do all their work. Professor Oak probably started this bad habit all the way back in the original Pokémon Red and Blue games. Rather than let you go to the tall grass by yourself, Oak will give you one of his last three Pokémon. By the way, why did Oak only have three Pokémon left?
There are a lot of things with the Assassin's Creed games that contradicts with real-world history. However, that doesn’t really matter since AC is purely a work of fiction. What really doesn’t make sense is when the Secret Order was first formed. Origins, as the name suggests, was meant to be the origins of when the Secret Order was formed. But Odyssey proves that semblance of the Order existed years before Origins. It doesn’t make sense to name a game Origins and not be the true origins of the history of the games.
Sora’s story in the first Kingdom Hearts game was simple and clean. He was a young boy chosen by the Keyblade to save the many different Disney worlds from falling into darkness. That was all we needed to know about him to understand his story. Nonetheless, the sequels complicated things to be so much more confusing. There are no less than three different people attached to Sora’s heart, meaning they are trapped inside him. He was also not the Keyblade’s original owner, as his friend Riku was originally chosen for the Keyblade.
I adore Final Fantasy VIII with all my heart, but even I can’t deny the oddity of Squall’s personality. The main protagonist of the game, Squall is a teenager at the prestige Balamb Garden school. He is a loner, and very moody. He often pushes people away with his catchphrase, “whatever.” Even when we learn more about his backstory, it is never really explained why he so angsty. Many gamers often mock Cloud from Final Fantasy VII for being really sorrowful; however, at least Cloud has a reason to be upset. Squall has no reason to be a tormented teen.
We often forget how outlandish Mario’s backstory really is. Mario is an Italian plumber who somehow made his way to the Mushroom Kingdom. For unknown reasons, he and his brother are the only ones that are capable of saving Princess Peach from a giant turtle.
Since we’ve all grown up with Mario, most of us don’t even bat an eye when we read Mario’s backstory. This is despite the fact that nothing about Mario’s backstory makes a lick of sense. Giant turtles, overweight plumbers, and a kingdom filled with mushroom people. How does any of that make sense?