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Five Ways Games Are Better (But Are Actually Worse) Than Real Life

Five Ways Games Are Better (But Are Actually Worse) Than Real Life

Filed inside: Editorial

2. Regenerating Health


I once had a bad fall on a trampoline that resulting in the simultaneous dislocation of both of my ankles. The result was me confined to a wheelchair for a few months, loads of discomfort, and lasting issues related to their overall integrity. While, in a technical sense, our health is mostly regenerative (you do heal cuts and the like in a fairly small time frame, after all), it’s nothing compared to the super soldiers of today’s modern gaming world.

These walking bullet sponges can be shot, fall several stories, be peppered with shrapnel, beaten, stabbed, and mauled by tigers in the span of a few minutes, but as long as they crouch behind a piece of wood more then two inches wide, they’ll be right as rain in the next six-to-eight seconds. Maybe if things get really heavy, you can pop a healing syringe or something of the kind, and skip the pesky “regeneration process” altogether, you know, if something that takes less time than checking your email is too slow for you.

There’s a problem, though.

Sure, these protagonists are the pinnacle of human resilience. Despite everything thrown at them, they persevere to the very end. And while it might be awesome for us random folks to be able to shrug off a grenade that explodes a few feet away, given a moment to catch our breath, what these games don’t really bring to light is just how absolutely and ridiculously painful it must be to live that way.


I mean, I know people who submit themselves to controlled injuries often enough, things like working out at the gym particularly hard for example, and they essentially become walking griping machines about how sore their muscles are and how they can’t sit down properly because of how intense the workout was. Now, I know that shock can kick in when serious injury occurs, so maybe you won’t feel these things as badly as you might if you let the injury set for a while, but I severely doubt your psychological state will remain completely intact when you spend several hours perpetually filled with bullet holes and stab wounds. At least health care costs would go way down, I suppose. And all those idiotic teenagers that hurt themselves doing stupid stuff won’t end up in the hospital, or, you know, dead.

Speaking of dying,

1. Respawning

Live forever!

Accidents happen. Terrible atrocities are committed. People do things that they’ll eventually regret, and these things involve the killing of others. No imagine that that can all go away. In the event of unfortunate (non-cutscene) death, fear not, the recently deceased will return in tip-top shape nearby within a minute, tops. Hell, imagine the ramifications for extreme sports. How extreme would they be if you could die with impunity during their execution?

It would open up avenues for crazy research on people, since subjects will simply resurrect shortly. Dangerous jobs are more of a hassle than, you know, dangerous when the hazards are only temporary setbacks. How awesome would reality TV and game shows be when people could die in the process? That’d be some good TV.

It would be the worst, though.

So, I’m no expert, but dying sounds really exhausting. Most games that feature a lot of deathmatching or similar activities don’t really explain why you can take a load of buckshot to the face, and then wake up several seconds later a few meters from where you just perished, right as rain (and with your pockets refilled with bullets). Dust 514 is the notable exception (you don’t play as you, you play as numerous clones of yourself essentially designed to die painfully) to the rule. I get the feeling that, after dying several times, you’re just not going to be in the best mental state ever (maybe you’ll get used to it eventually, I dunno).

Then there’s the problem of overcrowding. Let’s safely assume that the only deaths that count are ones of “natural” causes. Heart failure, naturally occurring diseases, that sort of thing. Suddenly, every car accident victim, everyone that drowns, or anyone that suffers from an accident in the workplace is still with us (awesome), but so is everyone that overdoses on drugs, every gang member that does something stupid and gets shot, or any one of the thousands and thousands of people that are removed from the gene pool due to their own ridiculous idiocy—say goodbye to the Darwin Awards.


Imagine how crowded prisons would be, we couldn’t execute them anymore (unless that counts as a cutscene? Hmm), so death row just isn’t a thing. Hell, you couldn’t even encase them in concrete or something, since they’d suffocate and respawn somewhere else that’s safe, that’s just how respawning works.

Then imagine every stupid-ass teenager that doesn’t do something because they’ll hurt themselves or die. Now they’ve essentially got free reign to drive their cars like idiots and drink themselves stupid and undoubtedly cause untold property damage because they’re dumb teenagers that are going to live forever now.

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Written by Ray Allaire -The Reasonable Gamer

Writer, game designer, and gaming analyst. Practitioner of all nerdy arts: Games, tabletop, TCG, and all. Twitter: @mateusrayje

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