Video games hate physics, and physics hate video games. This is well known and long accepted. (Seriously, have you tried making a game in Unity before? Getting those damned colliders to reliably NOT fly through one another can be a huge pain in the ass.)
For this reason most developers shake their firsts and say something like:
”Eh screw it! I'll show you, physics!!!”
This leads to games that have utterly ridiculous physical interaction -- and those are precisely the sorts of games we're looking at today. Ironically, most of the games on this list tried to utilize physics more than your average game, though in their cases that just exacerbated the problem at hand.
In these next 5 games, it's clear that the developers took their gloves off and did battle with physics. But we're not sure who won in the end...
Surgeon Simulator tries to play nice with physics, but it falls a little short. It’s basically a 100% accurate simulation of actual surgery, where you have to control the hand of a surgeon using your mouse or controller. The controls allow you to grasp with your fingers, move your arm up and down, and twist your wrist every direction.
They definitely provide the amount of finesse needed to do real surgery on real patients. But in practice.....it doesn't work out so well.
Learning such a control scheme takes a little while to master and you end up looking like a toddler as you slap organs off of the operating table and fling surgical tools into the face of your heavily sedated patient.
On the PS4 you can even do co-op, where each player controls 1 hand to make things even more interesting. After about 20 minutes of sawing into our patient’s chest cavity and haphazardly removing bones and organs, we still couldn’t quite grip the heart hard enough to yank it out.
We'd flip off the physics in this game, but we can't figure out how to work our middle finger...
I Am Bread is not a misleading title. You play as a piece of bread. More specifically, you only play as a single piece of bread at any given moment --though you can play as many different types throughout the game. What do you do in this game? Whatever bread does when left to its own devices, we suppose!
Want to cling to the walls while slowly driving the owner of your house literally insane? You can do that, just like every loaf of bread I’ve ever owned has done.
Want to race through obstacle courses as a bagel? You can do that too, also presumably like a real bagel would.
Want to play as a horde of crumbs that sneaks into all the places that your owner would think you could never get into? Well, you can’t do that. But you can play as a slice of bread in Zero-Gravity, so there’s that. Boldly going where no slice of bread has gone before. No matter what physics has to say about it.
In QWOP you play as an elite athlete (of sorts) for the small nation QWOP -- a real place in South America. It is unclear exactly what QWOP spends its GDP on, because it sure as hell isn’t the track and field team.
It’s probably gravity intensifiers, considering the fact that your character is relentlessly shoved head first into the ground every time you try to start running. But that’s okay. After a couple dozen times I can really tell I’m getting the hang of it -- I made it 4.1m (out of 100m) along the track. Progress!
Goat Simulator is my type of game. All the other games on this list position the player in direct opposition to physics. Learn to walk, learn to surgeify, learn to bread. And what prevents you from learning these things? Physics, of course.
But not Goat Simulator. If it wasn’t already apparent by the fact that mountain goats wall hike up sheer cliffs, then this game should make it perfectly clear: physics loves goats. It’s willing to put its hatred of game developers and humans aside to celebrate our unified adoration of them. The developers over at Coffee Stain Studios and Double Eleven were able to figure this out and harness it into a game that’s enjoyed by people of all ages.
Before I say anything else about Little Big Planet I must address the sack in the room: sackboy is just that -- a sack. There is no way that he should be able to stand, or jump, or grapple, or self-destruct at will.
Either he is possessed by a demon (which is supported by the fact that all the non-sack NPCs speak in tongues), or he is the love child between Nightmare Before Christmas’ Oogie Boogie and a baby doll. I don’t want to think about either of those possibilities.
That’s just screwed up!
But wait....we're talking about physics. Right. Ahem.
I guess LBP is a physics platformer or something too, but let's be honest -- the real impressive defiance of physics in LBP is sackboy’s unnatural ability to exist at all.
I bet you thought that you’d just get to read a cute listicle about how physics hates you in a few games...but nope. It hates you in basically every game. Almost any game you have ever played has something in it that would violently mutilate you if repeated IRL.
You know how you jump in like every platformer ever? Well no one has ever jumped higher than 1.5m. And in most games you jump WAY higher than that.
You know how there’s that Krogan Shotgun in Mass Effect 2 that tells you it would break the arm of a human when shot because of its force, but then the game lets you use it anyway? Well, spoiler alert, that would actually break your arm.
And don’t even get me started on the logic present in Mass Effect Andromeda’s life support system. Standing in caustic water for half a second kills me, but my shields can withstand a hail of bullets for a couple seconds? Something is not adding up there.
In fact, really anything you hold sacred and true in a video game is probably a lie if you look at science. But isn't that half the fun? Physics may be what keeps us grounded in life, but in video games....anything is possible. And that's why we love them!