Alright, you spurtmonkeys, it’s time to settle yourselves and sit your butts down. My name is the Ominous Voice, short for Ominous Voice the 7th. I come from a long line of Ominous Voices. My great-grandfather, Ominous Voice the 4th, invented a ham radio that actually was made with ham. Unfortunately, it spoiled rather quickly and also gummed up the transistors, making it rather unusable after a while! But he stood behind his invention until the very end, when he was jabbed in the vortex by an angry hog farmer’s e-pitchfork. And let’s not forget Ominous Voice the 3rd, the very first spirit to ever jump Niagara Falls in a test tube! Yes, we Voices are proud of our milestonean heritage!
Eh? What does this have to do with my monthly column? Nothin’, I’m just chattin’ it up. You got a problem with that? Tell it to my boss, Mr. Jedze… Mr. Jerzedscaz… Mr. Jezcakatak… Errr, just email somebody. But let’s get back on track, okay? We’re here to talk about all the ridiculous nonsense that appears in video games. Oh, you may think everything is all peaches and cream, but it’s not! Ohhhhh no, indeed, it is not! Something’s always peculiar!
Today, we’re gonna take a journey. No, don’t worry—you don’t need to bring your snow pants. We can go to pretty much any video game world you like, because they all suffer from the same oddity. Let’s travel to that iconic first level in Super Mario Bros. You know, the one with the two lines of bricks and a Goomba that comes at you…and your parents would try and play and the Goomba would kill them immediately and they’d say that video games are a waste of time and you’d be forced to go outside and possibly get a job because that university education of yours is keeping you stuck in the basement all day grinding to get that level 73 elf mage instead of actually earning a living and helping to pay for all the electricity you are using and all the food you are gobbling down instead of feeding yourself off a good paycheque because you never even look for a job because video games are just so damn demanding? You know the one I’m talking about.
(Coins, mushrooms, and turkey dinners…howditgetthar?)
Immediately, you notice that there are four question blocks there. Three have coins inside, and the fourth one has a weird mushroom growing in it. I’m sure we’re all more than happy to bump those blocks from underneath to release the ecstasy inside, but Mario never stops to ask who in their right mind put this stuff here. Why would anyone leave currency and/or perishables in blocks floating in mid-air? If my bank did that, I swear I’d be tearin’ ’em a new money order! Further along, there are fire flowers and invincibility stars in similar blocks. I ponder why anyone would think that a brick is an ideal place to cultivate foliage or to store radioactive phosphorescent matter. Plus, Mario has easy access to them; not only did they leave them out in the open for anyone to grab, but there’s not even a locking mechanism on these things! What gives?
Super Mario Bros. isn’t the only culprit of this—in fact, so many games just have random items littering the world that you wonder if there is even such a concept as possession in the video game universe. Think of the Castlevania series and how most useful items are hidden within candlesticks (which is frickin’ ridiculous—wouldn’t the heat affect them?). Think of any classic RPG, and recall the vast number of chests that somehow nestled their way into the scenery, just waiting for you to open them and take the treasures from within. Think of first-person games like Wolfenstein 3D, and consider the potential reasons why there are so many boxes of ammunition, bowls of dog food, and slowly spoiling turkey dinners laying about. Think of the Adventure Island series and wonder why fruit just randomly pops up as you move along; I can’t even fathom how THAT mechanic works. Even in Katamari Damacy, even though your goal is to pick up tons of stuff, you have to stop and wonder why someone left a whole bunch of watermelons in a circle. Feng shui my Aunt Priscilla!
And I know what you’re thinking. How do I know? It’s because you post all your thoughts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You’re thinking, “Hey, Ominous Voice, if we didn’t have items scattered around, games would be really hard.” And to that I say, “Hey, dude, wouldn’t the developer just make games easier?” To which you reply, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” And I’d say, “Yeah, I’m right. Now get outta my office!” But the question still remains unanswered: who put these items here, and why? Perhaps there is indeed a video game deity sprinkling useful things all over the place to make your digital life just a tad easier.
And with that, I’m gonna tell you right now to get outta my office! Go on, take your bucket of hot wings with you. I have no time to clean up all your discarded napkins.