I was just Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, and it seems like prime time to talk about skeletons. As in, those creatures that everyone says are supposed to be scary but never actually are.
For one, everyone has a skeleton. Skeletons are just our bones walking around. Skeletons also pretty easy to break. When they die, they usually fall apart or their head pops off in a comical fashion.
And yet, video games insist on throwing hordes of skeletons at players. Here are the least spooky members of the skeleton army.
What's weird about this suave skeleton is that he is both an enemy mob with a rapier and an NPC who likes to play guitars and tell stories.
Maybe he's just on his lunch break?
Castlevania loves its skeletons. But Castlevania 64 didn't really seem to try to make the skeletons scary or threatening. They just kind of annoyingly throw themselves at you like so many bony gnats.
Pictured above is the aptly-named "bomb skeleton." It lights a fuse on its head, jogs after you, then explodes after a few seconds. Not the skeleton army's brightest.
Sir Daniel Fortesque doesn't want to scare anyone. He just wants to prove himself after his first chance at heroism was ended with an arrow in his eye.
Probably the scariest thing about him is imagining what he looked like as a human. Probably something like Nigel Thornberry.
Every time I see this guy's face, I'm tempted to do a Skeletor impression. Nice calves, bud. What is that, a laser tag vest?
I don't know whose idea it was to resurrect the greatest racer of all time, but why they felt the need to file down his teeth is beyond me.
Meet Spinal, the loincloth-wearing badass from the Killer Instinct series, because nothing says "dangerous" like a bright orange sweatband and buck teeth.
Spinal's newest iteration is a bit more intense, but his original model is anything but terrifying.
Manny is just a guy trying to do his job. Unfortunately, corruption and the skeleton mob keep getting in his way.
Grim Fandango is proof that skeletons are just regular people... who don't have any of their skin or organs.
Boss fight difficulty aside, David is the silliest-looking skeleton in existence.
For one, he's not even wearing his Elizabethan-era clothing correctly. He should be wearing leggings underneath those puffy dealies. Also, his name is David! How unspooky is that?
It's like he got out of bed, forgot to put pants on, and said, "Here I am. Let's fight. Or play music. Whatever."
I take it back. David is not the silliest-looking skeleton.
What can I say about Papyrus? He is a cartoon villain with an actual Skeletor laugh who is terrible at his human-hunting job. In fact, the army he's trying to get into is full of adorable, fluffy dogs, and they're still better at hunting down humans. Instead of trapping and/or killing the human he's after, they go on a date and become best friends.
Not a good representative of skeleton-kind.
...just don't tell his brother I said any of this, though, or I might have a bad time.
Dry Bones used to be vaguely threatening, if a bit slow-moving. In more recent iterations, like in Mario Party 7 and Mario Kart 8, he looks more like a plushy. Even Luigi is scarier than this pile of bones.
Proof that glowing eyes doesn't automatically make you scary.
In this game, you play as a skeleton with weird chimp-like features who is frantically trying to run away from other skeletons while losing his limbs. It's not uncommon to hop around on one leg or your spine. Truly, Mr. Bones demonstrates how beleaguered the life of a skeleton army soldier must really be.
Oh, and he turns his skeleton friends good with the power of music. Yep.
What did we learn about skeletons today?
They're skinless people who are often forced into a role. A lot of them are musically-inclined. And we're all very confused about whether they're supposed to be scary or not.
Skeletons could have been scary once, but now nobody's sure what to do with them anymore. As it stands, they tend to be cast as throwaway enemies and comic relief.