At this point, I feel like an exotic animal inside a cage, being poked with sticks by the meanest kids in the neighborhood. It started when Paste editor Sean Edgar discovered I knew nothing about comics, and forced me to analyze five characters based from a picture that may as well have been an Egyptian rune to me. Then he did it again. And again. Just when I thought I had escaped the humiliation, and the pokey mean kids had found something else to occupy themselves, editor Jim Vorel discovered that I also knew nothing about wrestlers, and attacked me from a whole new angle. Twice.
Again, I hoped and prayed that it was over, but now a third editor, Garrett Martin, has sniffed out a weakness: Videogames. So here I am, back in the cage, cowering into a corner. Let’s see what characters Garrett has dug up for me, and what I can make of them. As usual, Garrett will respond with the real story after I’ve made my blundering guesses.
Initial thoughts: Well this is just an old-fashioned no-nonsense gruff-as-hell army man! He’s got a normal handgun, a normal mustache, and a normal futuristic high-tech eyepatch. Oh wait, that’s not totally normal, is it? I can’t tell if it’s some kind of accessory that all future warriors have to wear, or if he actually lost his eye and needs this patch for fighting purposes. The answer dictates how good I’ll feel about making fun of him, but since I won’t know until Garrett chimes in, I’m going to have to charge bravely ahead with my mockery. Actually, though, even if he’s down an eye, this guy seems like someone I don’t want to screw with. He’s got all kinds of kevlar-ish body armor, and he even took the time to color coordinate his headband. My one criticism, if I may, is that he’s leaving his head pretty exposed. From everything I’ve read, I understand that the head is an important part of the body in terms of survival. Also, for all the futuristic garb the dude is wearing, all he gets for a weapon is a pistol? Did the army budget poorly and run out of cash after buying the most expensive outfits they could find? “Hey, uh…good news bad news. Good news, it will take a nuclear warhead to pierce your torso with this sick kevlar. Bad news, you have to use this gun from the Spanish-American War. Other bad news, no helmets. Try to duck a lot.”
My guess at the character’s name: Bo “Patch” HammerHawk.
Videogame title: Duck! 7: War Games: Patch’s Revenge
The real story:
Why, that’s Old Snake, from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, of course. Although it’s kind of assholish to call him “Old Snake”—he’s only 42. He’s suffering from Werner syndrome, which I will assume is the same thing Robin Williams had in Jack, and which ages him prematurely. He’s the same guy from Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid, only older, only not as old as he looks, only he might be a clone or something, because these games make no sense at all. He’s also a mercenary, spy and occasional Smash Bro with an IQ of 180. Anyway, in Metal Gear Solid 4 he has to kill a guy named Liquid Ocelot, an amalgam of Revolver Ocelot and Liquid Snake. Liquid Snake is both Solid Snake’s twin brother AND the second clone of Big Boss, Solid Snake’s mortal enemy. Again: these games make no sense at all.—Garrett Martin
Initial thoughts: Well, this body armor makes Patch HammerHawk’s kevlar look like a sequin dress. I like the European cut, slim at the waist, broad at the shoulders. Very flattering. It appears that one arm has been transformed into a blaster, which makes sense, while the other leaves the soldier’s hand exposed. It’s a classic take on the old mythological tale—this guy has an Achilles Hand. Also, the right shoulder pad looks like the terrifying kind of prehistoric fish that only exists in the really deep parts of the ocean, where it’s black as night. The face here looks vaguely storm trooper-ish, which probably means George Lucas will write a shitty screenplay about it someday. I don’t know what else to say about this dude, except that like HammerHawk, he only seems to have one weapon. Maybe it’s a badass weapon, but I’m worried that our future military designers are taking a very defensive mindset and forgetting that we need to go on the attack sometimes.
My guess at the character’s name: Blasto the Fish Man
Videogame title: Warlord Justice 8: Blasto in Chains: The Deep Sea Prophecy
The real story: Samus Aran is the star of the Metroid games and the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. She’s also a woman and one of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters. She’s spent decades fighting against the Space Pirates, the frightening parasites known as Metroids, and the giant space dragon named Ridley, using that gun on her arm to fire a variety of laser beams and missiles. She can also turn into a tiny ball and drop bombs behind her like rabbit pellets, or somersault through the air in a deadly move known as the Screw Attack. Paste’s assistant games editor, Maddy Myers, recorded an EP about Samus and Metroid. The first time we met Samus, back in 1986, she blew up a giant, evil, female brain in a space jar known as Mother Brain, and then hung out in a bikini for a little bit.—GM
Initial thoughts: Well, I’m going to be honest with you: It seems like one of those worms where the ass and the face are the same. I’m not sure if that’s a real thing, but that’s the vibe I’m getting. I like the color scheme, as well as the mysterious heart in the background, but I shudder when I think about how this wormy creature could suffocate a person boa constrictor style while tinkling snow globe-y music plays in the background. The last two characters seemed to have obvious gameplay—you fight with them. Here, I don’t know. Eat the flowers and then shit them out? Is that even a game? Try to twist the worm into knots so it doesn’t terrorize small children in the country? Contemplate the horror of the idea that our world is nothing but a computer simulation, and this worm is our god?
My guess at the character’s name: Deus Wormica
Videogame title: Wormica 4: The Twistening: Apocalypse
The real story: BOY is the star of Noby Noby Boy. He stretches. When you’re done stretching BOY, you can report the total length of your stretching to the internet, where his counterpart GIRL has been stretching from Earth towards the edge of the solar system since Noby Noby Boy was released in 2009. GIRL’s distance is dictated by how much Noby Noby Boy players stretch BOY within the game. Whenever GIRL reaches a new planet, new environments are unlocked in the game. GIRL hit Neptune in March 2014 and is still headed towards Pluto. Nobody knows what happens when GIRL hits Pluto. This game was made in Japan.—GM
Initial thoughts: WHAT THE FUCK, GARRETT. I thought we were either doing basic war people or worms, bro? What the hell is this vision of terror? All the sudden I’m forced to reckon with a violent religious cult as conceived by Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch in the middle of a three-day acid bender. The way the dude has seemingly flayed the child by his side with the giant knife, along with the ridiculous metal mask, is going to give me nightmares for weeks. And is that a robe of human skin he’s wearing? Why is his victim wearing some kind of gimp hood? There’s some kind of awful ritualistic eroticism about this that disturbs me on every possible level. This is the worst thing that’s happened to me, and I now agree with every politician who says that videogames cause all our youth violence. Ban videogames! And Marilyn Manson!
My guess at the character’s name: Saint Lucius the Vile
Videogame title: Cutting Floors 12: The Robed Men: Butchery
The real story: Pyramid Head has a pyramid for a head. He lives in the Silent Hill games and has an unhealthy fixation with mannequins.—GM
Initial thoughts: Well, shit. This is somehow worse than the last picture. Why is there a man’s face on a fish? Why is a penis coming out of his head? Why does he look so grumpy, like a man who is disappointed with a comic book? Why is there a radiator under water? WHY ANYTHING?
My guess at the character’s name: Hell personified.
Videogame title: Aquarium 9: The Fishening: A Penis Evolution
The real story: Seaman from the game Seaman grows and learns how to speak English as you feed him, care for him and talk to him with the Dreamcast microphone. Eventually he can have conversations with you. If you don’t spend time with him, he dies. Also Leonard Nimoy shows up to kind of tell you what to do with your Seaman. When Stephen Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could bring about the end of humanity, he was talking about Seaman.—GM