Occasionally a game comes along that wows us with a cool, groundbreaking feature. It not only gives the game a unique feel, but challenges us to think about our gameplay in a novel way.
These ideas are so awesome, so iconic, we can't help but think, "wouldn't life be better if I had that?"
As is the case with many great ideas, the reality is much more complicated. Some useful inventions in games would actually be horrific nightmares in real life. We've put together a few of these games here.
Note: We're avoiding generally dystopian or post-apocalyptic games in this list, since it's pretty clear having anything from those games come true would be pretty awful. We're aiming for concepts that have at least a slim probability of happening in the real world.
Back when we saw the first entry to this series in 2007, gamers all had one collective thought: "it would be so cool to have one of those portal guns."
The series certainly doesn't shy away from showing us everything it can do: fall into one to gain speed, shoot lasers through it, launch cubes wherever you want them to go...
Yet, we need only look to Google Image Search to see why people probably couldn't handle a portal gun. Cue the endless stunts posted to YouTube, the dangerous and depraved pranks, and people getting half-stuck in walls.
Not to mention how horrific Portal 2's orange, blue, and white gels would be as well - the resulting mayhem would be orders of magnitude worse. We can't all share Cave Johnson's high level of regard for safety!
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely...and in the BioShock franchise, we see a world where people have given themselves extraordinary power through medicines known as "plasmids" ("vigors" in BioShock Infinite).
Modification becomes a central part of the tragic story that is Rapture: extreme self-interest and total freedom lead to people losing their minds. Eventually they turn on one another, hoping to survive on the remaining ADAM that powers these weird abilities.
Future technology won't allow you to attack enemies with live crows, but electric bolts, flaming projectiles, and a sonic boom? Better left to the imagination.
The power to rewind time and undo mistakes seems like a useful tool for every aspect of one's life. Max Caulfield, the main character in Life is Strange, uses her ability to navigate both teenage drama and deadly situations.
What struck me as I played Life is Strange was that the ability to make and remake life-altering choices tugged at my perfectionist tendencies. I second guessed myself at every turn, always asking, "but what if I did this...?"
It's exactly the problem that would plague anyone who had this power: we'd anguish over every small decision, wonder if our choice was the right one or if there's still time to go back and try again. Imperfection in our lives becomes unacceptable the moment it becomes optional. We would drive ourselves crazy with the infinite possibilities of our actions.
Suddenly imperfections don't look all that bad.
The sadistic, mind-bending title that introduced a whole gaming generation to the concept of gas-lighting, The Stanley Parable shows us that you don't need a gun to inflict damage upon a person. No, all you need is a pervasive, all-seeing narrator and a lot of patience.
Not only does the main character Stanley suffer from the narration of his every move, he hears the prediction of what he will do next: which room he will enter, which button he will press, what emotion he will feel. The narrator does this in part to illuminate how Stanley's life is small and routine, and therefore predictable.
Anyone who played enough of The Stanley Parable probably felt their sense of reality coming undone just the slightest bit. Having one's existence narrated would have the same effect.
Fortunately, we don't have a constant narration of our life's events going on in our heads just yet. Unfortunately, soul-sucking office work is still a thing.
Have any suggestions for other games that would lead to untold horror in the real world? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!