Guest Post: Andy Robertson
Video games are often about playing the hero who saves the day. There’s nothing like scoring that winning goal in Rocket League or saving civilization from destruction in Call of Duty.
However, my kids seem to enjoy them for a different reason. They love playing the bad guy. It’s something we were talking about over dinner when I started to realize just how many games let you do this.
Then, as well as the games where you have a choice to be good or bad there are those designed with the sole intention of you making other people’s lives a living hell. By the end of the meal I had half a dozen of these games scribbled on an envelope, so I thought I’d share them for you here. If you want the full list I pulled it together on the Family Video Game Database I run.
Sneaky Sasquatch – is an adventure game where you sneak around campsites and try to find food from coolers and picnic baskets without getting caught. There’s an ever-increasing list of things you can do and most of them focus on causing havok. The game even has a day-night cycle so you can go on night raids. It’s brilliant.
Rain On Your Parade is an upcoming game for Switch and PC where you quite literally have to rain on people’s happy days. “You are a cloud jerk,” says the trailer and that pretty much sums it up. As you travel across the world you unlock more methods of causing bedlam. Use thunder and lightning to scare people out of hiding and set things alight, tornados to suck up everything that gets in its path, rain explosive material that you can blow up and even entire meteors and much more.
Untitled Goose Game is perhaps the most famous bad-guy-game of recent years. You make your way around a small village terrorizing the locals. But this isn’t about blowing them up, it’s something much worse. Hiding their keys, stealing their toys, and generally getting under their skin. It’s dastardly in a brilliant way.
Among Us is the game of the moment. You enter a ship with a bunch of online comrades and set about fixing it up. Only, a couple of the crew are tasked with sabotaging the ship without the others noticing. By sabotaging I really mean killing the other crew members. If you suspect someone you can call a meeting. If the other players agree you can eject the culprit. There’s nothing quite like getting innocent crew members tossed into space when you are the Impostor.
Donut County is a game about many things. There’s a complex narrative with lots of characters. But at bottom, it’s a game about wrecking people’s worlds. You control a hole that sucks in anything big enough to swallow. The more things you grab the bigger you get. By the end of most levels, you have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of anyone in your path.
Andy Robertson runs the Family Video Game Database (taminggaming.com) and has written the book Taming Gaming, out in January.
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