Feature: The Weird World of Video Games
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Weirdness makes the World go 'round
Sometimes it feels like this video gaming hobby of ours can be a dreadfully serious business. We worry about the direction of brands we love — in many of our cases, of course, Nintendo — or perhaps we get hot and bothered about what games are coming, those that aren't, or a myriad of other things. There are also issues that have undeniable importance that come to the fore, whether it's tackling sexism, excessive violence or unscrupulous business practices.
That's all fine, and we wouldn't be enthusiasts if we weren't passionate about gaming, and we shouldn't shy away from tackling contentious issues. But we've had a lot of them recently. GTA V has been prominent, and not just for its mere presence, but it arguably pushes the boundaries of acceptability with an increasingly notorious torture scene. We've also had review score shenanigans once again, with both the new GTA and, in our case, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, as some gave it a perfect score and others had the audacity — including us — of awarding a score as scandalously low as 9. It brings sweat to our brows.
And again, that's fine — well, obsessing over scores arguably isn't, but we've been there in other articles — but maybe we should now take the chance to chill the heck out.
A while ago we introduced the 'Weirdness' tag, which is used for non-news that we like to share because it's funny, bizarre, or funny and bizarre. For some, including the writer of this article, it may even be their favourite tag — video game culture is delightfully weird, full of humour, self-awareness and just juicy humanity. It can be a bit like Trekkies or Star Wars addicts (Star Warsies?), and we often love such a wide range of things. In the Nintendo universe alone we may love Mario, Animal Crossing, Zelda (of course), Kirby, Kid Icarus, Yoshi without Mario, Luigi, Metroid and more; some produce incredible art, others videos, and all sorts of bizarre activities take place in the name of gaming.
And it's wonderful, it's the power of gaming and, in particular, Nintendo nostalgia. And sharing that culture should and is a part of our overall goal here at Nintendo Life. Games can be a serious business, but they're also meant to be a bit of a laugh, and gaming culture — the really good bits — remind us of that.
And so below is a selection of our favourite Weirdness stories so far. Forget GTA V, forget whether The Wind Waker HD should have got 10/10, just forget all of that for a few blissful minutes; you can click on the headings to see the original stories.
We do like a nice infographic here at Nintendo Life, and this one had a go at outlining key theories to how a Poké Ball actually works. Are the creatures really stored as digital data alone, are they shrunk down and crammed into the ball, or is it rather like Doctor Who's TARDIS and a lot "bigger on the inside", with the 'mon living in a lovely environment? PETA, as we pointed out, will no doubt vigorously campaign for the latter until they figure out that it's a video game.
While Sony and Microsoft spent E3 comparing processors and shouting about exciting new features, such as games on discs that can be shared and the ability to watch TV on your TV — to be fair, lots of games were also shown — Nintendo stepped back to deliver its own Nintendo Direct, avoiding an inevitable onslaught. Beyond that broadcast the company was out in force on the expo floor, and in typical style got up to some shenanigans that neatly summed up its approach to gaming; the picture above may be one of our favourites of all time, while Ninty emphasized fun over polygon counts.
The title and image say it all, really.
Here's a tip that we'll give for free — if your online poll gets hijacked by trolls, politely asking them to stop may only make things worse. Level-5 had the honourable idea of letting fans choose their favourite characters from its games, but unfortunately some decided to make the whole thing a bit of a mockery. To Level-5's immense credit it produced a wallpaper with the silly winner — above — regardless, to show that it could take a joke at its expense.
What if God was one of us, as some song lyric once asked? Well he might like a bit of Game Boy and Pokémon, that's what.
We didn't realise when sharing the video below that gamers would actually have to choose one of the original starters in the upcoming Pokémon X & Y, but it's a dilemma that many of us will have to face. Perhaps this video with help, then? Probably not.
What happens when you offer celebrities free alcohol and snacks, and maybe even cash, to show up and play your video games and be photographed in the process? This happens, and we just really like that picture, above.
"I couldn't even beat Glass f****** Joe" — the immortal words of Mike Tyson to a polite member of the paparazzi when asked about the iconic NES game that, for a time, had his name on the box and his likeness beating up on Little Mac. The former heavyweight would eventually take on his nemesis in the video below; it's intense stuff.
Hats off to whoever produced this spoof, as it's pretty impressive. The 2DS got teased by some after it was unveiled, mainly by people for whom the device isn't even intended, but whoever put together this mock 1DS website — copying the official Nintendo website to perfection — deserves a shiny penny. Playing a handheld on the TV, surely madness! Unless it's called the Vita TV of course, when it can be argued as game-changing, apparently.
So those are some of our favourite Weirdness stories to date, though we had to leave out some doozies to stick to 10. Let us know about some of your favourites in the comments below.