Few people would argue that gamers are a virtuous lot; just ask anyone that’s worn a headset on Xbox Live in the last five years. But aside from the notoriously poor online behavior of a certain vocal minority, we also indulge in the cardinal sins inside the games we love; let’s look at some of our favorite vices.
Dead or Alive
There are plenty of examples of scantily clad, hyper-sexualized caricatures in video games, but few are as blatant and over-the-top as the women of the Dead or Alive franchise. It’s telling that one of the best known hallmarks of the series is its painstaking attention to advanced breast physics; telling also that the Xtreme spin-off series features mini-games like pole dancing and something called a “butt battle”, in which girls compete to knock each other off a floating platform with their “perfect posteriors”. Just researching this entry has left us with a strong desire to sanitize our browser history.
While at first blush you might expect an entry for gluttony along the lines of Cooking Mama or Cook, Serve, Delicious!, the worst example of gamers’ gluttony is our apparently insatiable appetite for sequels. The Final Fantasy franchise epitomizes this endless hunger: not only has the core series yielded 14 numbered entries, but it’s spawned a whole catalog of spinoffs. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the Kingdom Hearts games, the list goes on and on. But that is apparently not enough to sate gamers’ yawning maws: even the numbered series has sub-sequels, like Final Fantasy X-2 and XIII-2. On top of this glut of games, there is also a rich depository of other media: comics, film, television, soundtracks, even a radio drama.
This is an easy one. While hoarding has been an RPG staple for decades, the loot lust in Diablo defined a genre. Don’t think video game avarice is a sin? Watch a Diablo fanatic’s face when a hot orange item pops out of the desiccated husk of a fallen boss. Say what you will about the “rich lore” of the Diablo universe, what keeps us playing hour after hour is pure, unmitigated greed.
Dead Island: Riptide
This entry isn’t so much about the behavior of gamers, but about the lazy approach to design sometimes taken by developers. Witness Dead Island: Riptide. While the first game was a novel, ambitious take on the zombie apocalypse, Riptide is more akin to the rotting remains of a walker post-headshot. Instead of expanding and improving on what the first game did well, and correcting some of its glaring weaknesses, Riptide feels like Deep Silver just desperately needed to crank out another product with the same assets they developed for the first game. While they’re certainly not the only perpetrators of this kind of lazy recycling, Riptide is such a bald example we can’t help but single it out.
God of War
Wrath describes an often vengeful rage that overtakes the senses and drives men to violent acts of anger and hatred…which almost perfectly encapsulates the entire plot of the God of War franchise. The protagonist Kratos is tricked by Ares, the Greek god of war, into slaughtering his own wife and child, and then spends four or five games massacring practically everything. He cuts a bloody swath through soldiers, mythological creatures, and the gods themselves, screaming his wrathful head off all the while, and gamers eagerly devour every minute of it.
Pride and Envy
World of Warcraft
Pride and envy are two sides of the same coin, and no game better captures the essence of both than Blizzard’s online RPG and loot showcase, World of Warcraft. It’s been argued in various forums since the dawn of massive multiplayer games that one of the key draws of MMOs is the ability to show off all the epic loot you’ve spent so much time acquiring. While getting some incredible mount or spectacular suit of armor in a single player game might be gratifying, showing it off to NPCs doesn’t quite have the same luster as pridefully displaying it for your envious friends. Friends who, in turn, go off questing for their own epic loot to strut about in. It’s a vicious cycle of sin, and one that’s been lining Blizzard’s pockets since 2004.