When you reach a point in your life where you’ve played so many games that you begin using Half-Life 2 crossbow tactics in a snowball fight, you’re going to come up against a bunch of awful side effects, including regretting virtual actions. I know what you’re thinking: “that’s pretty stupid, it’s just a game, hahaha”, but hear me out before you dismiss me as mentally retarded or damaged. Games have approached a level where they should arguably be considered an art form; don’t pretend that BioShock didn’t impress you as much as, say, Donnie Darko. With players so much integrated with the character, surely you can develop a mental attachment so certain characters or objects (just ask Weighted Companion Cube fanatics). Here are a list of the five things I truly regret doing in those alternate realities.
1. I killed the little sisters.
Scary little girls creep me out. I don’t like seeing them in games and film, and when they do happen to crop up, they really ought to leave ASAP. Unfortunately for me (and them), there were an awful lot in BioShock, with the temptation of killing and harvesting them always on my mind. I don’t believe I’m a bad person; they just scared me and I wanted their damn ADAM. I regret it now, after experiencing the “bad” ending and realising saving the Little Sisters would have resulted in a better outcome.
2. I blew up Megaton
I’m a gamer, and like many other gamers, I love explosions. Especially huge nuclear explosions. Fallout 3 tempted us gamers by giving us two options: defuse the nuke lying in the middle of the post-apocalyptic town, or detonate it and wipe the entire settlement off the face of an already barren planet. Since I’m writing this now, you should be able to guess which I chose.
3. I drowned Guest 273
Rollercoaster Tycoon is a lot more intense than people give it credit for. Theme parks are a dangerous place, and not everything’s fun and games… unless you particularly enjoying picking up guests and dipping them in your artificial lake like some kind of sadistic god. Those tiny pixelated eyes of the anonymous theme park goer were surely contorted with sadness when I accidentally left him in the lake too long. That little red notification of “Guest 273 has drowned” will stay with me for the rest of my life.
4. I kicked Ned Flanders and ran from the law
The Simpsons: Hit & Run is like the bastard child of Matt Groening’s brainchild and adult-only video game Grand Theft Auto. Sending popular Simpsons characters on dubious jobs involving minors driving cars and collecting illegal Chinese fireworks, Hit & Run had an interesting feature: kicking people. Yep, if crushing them with your vehicle isn’t enough, you can disembark and kick them over. They won’t die, so you can just wait until they get back up and kick them again. Unfortunately the police don’t like this, and too many public beatings could mean a car chase. Blowing up the police cars sounds like a good solution to this trouble, and that’s exactly what I managed to do. Yeah, I’m a virtual fugitive. I kicked Ned Flanders and then I ran from the law.
5. I didn’t resuscitate my girlfriend in time
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is definitely one of the best DS games available in terms of narrative, graphic style, and innovation. Unfortunately I’m not the most open-minded person in the world and I failed to resuscitate Mila in a particularly tense sequence. Sure, I quickly hit the power button and redid things better, but I can’t help feeling that in one virtual Hotel Dusk dimension, Kyle Hyde left alone, and I’m responsible for that.
Now that I’ve shared five of my grievances, feel free to do the same. What have you done in a video game that you regretted either immediately or in the long run? Anecdotes from non-linear games are preferred; “killing GlaDOS” or “euthanising my only friend” aren’t great examples because everybody was forced to do them to complete the game (in this case, Portal). Be original. What did you consciously decide to do and why did you regret it?