Relax. Not that thing. I have a few issues with his ‘pro-genocide’ stance myself.
No. Ze Führer did another thing. Something that would eclipse all of his previous atrocities. Something that would ensure he would once again patrol the bunkers beneath the Reichstag. Something that would ensure he would dominate the annals of history as not only a vicious dictator and diabolical genocidaire but as a cunning tactician and gatling gun-toting, sharpshooter extraordinaire.
Had he not had the good grace to condone such a pixelated arrangement, nobody except Hitler himself would have ever shot Hitler.
See, he wasn’t all bad? Pretty easy-going actually.
Who am I kidding? Hitler was the most abhorrent and downright dastardly man ever to stomp around in a mech suit. We’d all happily fire a gatling gun in his direction given the chance. But he’s not alone in deserving to be showered with hot lead. When the world has so many non-fictional fascist dictators and covetous billionaire tycoons that we’d all happily take a pitchfork to, why are we trying our damnedest to conceive designer antagonists to take their place?
The greatest minds in game development have designed some deliciously despicable deviants since 1992. The vicious and insidious superhuman, Albert Wesker; the cold and faithless Crown Prince of Lordaeron, Arthas Menethil; the crazed and destructive God of Magic, Kefka Palazzo; the cowardly and contrived electrical conduit, Kessler.
Each of these humanoid miscreants was conceived, composed and constructed in order to produce a living, breathing conduit of antagonism.
These fictional villains are imbued with the capabilities to perform atrocities. Many are responsible for the deaths of thousands of fictional civilians. But that’s the salient word here – fictional. Despite the many deaths caused as a direct result of Kefka, Kessler or Wesker’s actions, my animosity toward them will never be as strong as my animosity toward Mecha-Hitler, because my reasons for hating him are grounded in reality.
By creating a fictional protagonist that’s flawed, unique, and encompasses many of the heroic aspects of humanity that we all wish we encompassed, players are able to relate and genuinely care for who they’re controlling. By letting the player control said protagonist during an epic horse-mounted sword fight across the plains of Mongolia in which they duel none other than Genghis Khan himself, players are granted the opportunity to rid the world of one of the most colossal manslags and ruthless killers in history.
With the addition of genuine, real-life liars, cheats, legends and killers a game becomes much more emotional. We’re not short of genuinely menacing antagonists that could easily serve as appropriate end-level bosses. But before we go rendering 3D models of Robert Mugabe to place in Kirby’s Epic Yarn, we must first understand the contextual surroundings of our chosen villain.
Wolfenstein 3D is a first-person shooter set in Germany. Therefore it’s relevant that you’d run into an armour-clad Adolf. Developers must mirror this contextual placement in order to achieve maximum immersion in their games.
Topically speaking, there is one global villain that corresponds splendidly with a classic arcade game crying out for a HD, current generation makeover.
Released in 1984, Paperboy tasked players with delivering papers to subscribers for an entire week. Players gain points for each paper they deliver, with bonus points available for delivering the paper directly into subscribers’ mailboxes. Paperboy 2K11 would follow a similar theme, only with an advanced, 21st century narrative.
After several days of perfect newspaper delivery service, our hero rides to his favourite subscriber’s house to discover her sat weeping on her doorstep. A lengthy cutscene ensues, in which the player discovers that her phone has been hacked by The Daily Sun.
Our humble paperboy protagonist uncovers a serious phone hacking scandal. It transpires that The Daily Sun has hacked the phones of crime victims and celebrities in order to harvest and produce the stories contained within the very papers he’s delivering.
The Paperboy is outraged and embarks on an epic quest to find out who’s responsible, and restore order to the global media. His quest, leads him to News Corporation HQ.
Here players resume control of the Paperboy, as they guide him through the offices of the News Corp Headquarters, laying waste to the company employees with his signature weapon – the Millwall Brick.
During the early stages of the game, the player encounters only lowly secretaries, printers and runners, each of whom pose little danger. As the Paperboy gradually reveals more of the ever-thickening plot he begins to face more sinister adversaries, battling everyone from editors and private investigators to police and politicians.
After ridding a floor of all appropriate antagonists the player must board the elevator and ascend to the next floor of the building. But before the player can do so, the Paperboy is confronted by sub-boss of News Corp whom he must defeat in order to proceed.
Paul McMullen. Rebekah Brooks. Andy Coulsen. James Murdoch.
After defeating everyone employed by the News Corp empire, the Paperboy boards the lift one last time and finally reaches the top level of News Corporation HQ. The elevator doors slowly part, revealing to our hero his final challenge.
The Paperboy stands slack-jawed as he begins to realise exactly who is responsible for the corruption, the lies, the hypocrisy; the man responsible for erasing the very ethical standards he put in place; the mecha-man responsible for the rise and fall of the largest news conglomerate the world has ever seen. Before him stands a decaying, covetous billionaire tycoon, encased entirely in titanium. The main antagonist. The Emperor himself:
The stench of death fills the Paperboy’s lungs as you tentatively guide him into the room. Years of corruption have taken their toll on Murdoch. His face is weathered more than one would think possible. His ego eroded to little more than a faint flicker of bravado. His heart barely kept beating by his billion-dollar mech suit.
But just as sympathy begins to sink its seductive fangs deep into the Paperboy’s neck, in a blinding flash of inspiration he remembers the sorrow felt by the subscriber he so dearly loves, and in one swift movement the Paperboy lunges toward Murdoch and rips out the plug powering the last remnants of a once powerful empire, powering the mech suit, powering Murdoch’s heart.
The old man coughs and splutters slowly into non-existence. The empire crumbles leaving only the dust of a bygone era in its wake. The next day the Paperboy delivers a different paper with the headline – Paperboy Hero Brings Down Murdoch. As the credits roll he delivers the paper to his favourite subscriber, and seals it with a kiss. The End.
Rupert Murdoch is the perfect non-fictional antagonist, embodying all the aspects required to produce a climactic finale to any game franchise, particularly those in which you deliver papers. So News Corporation, if you’re reading, and why wouldn’t you be, I suggest you make this happen. The only way to recuperate all the losses you’ve suffered due to the hacking scandal is to follow the fine example set by Adolf Hitler.
Rupert Murdoch can claw back the respect of the public if he’ll only allow his likeness and presence to be used. But unless he does it soon, he’ll be doing it posthumously, because let’s face it, he ain’t got long.