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Smacked Edition

Guess what? It's the Ominous Voice again, here to spread my Christmas cheer several months in advance, just to beat the rush. I'd like to take this opportunity to sit down in my comfy reclining armchair beside this crackling electric fireplace... errr, it shouldn't be crackling, really... and talk a little bit about "That's So Cliché". As you may very well know, I plop myself down in front of a glowing laptop and deliver powerful messages each and every month about what I consider to be noteworthy abnormalities and issues in what I take for granted in the videogaming universe. There are numerous phenomena in games, both of the past and the present, that we take for granted. I feel that my work has two purposes: to be an informative glance into the inner gears of videogaming as a whole, and to give pause so that we can take the time to think about how we are playing and how our play styles are deeply affected by oft-sophistic logic. To that end, I believe that I have succeeded.

But let me tell ya: I get about as much appreciation from the world as people give to gopher farts! The floods of positive pats on the back aren't rushing in like salmon running away from a boisterous sushi chef! You'd rather comment on something called a "Reddit"? What is wrong with you people?! Are you all hopped up on goofballs? And every day, I go to my mailbox, patiently and excitedly awaiting fan mail, only to receive bills (which can't be paid because GameCola has a strict no-wage policy in place) and mail for "Occupant". Obviously some low-level employee in shipping can't spell the word "Ominous". I'm going to take a stand and say that I don't start getting the love I deserve, I'll have to start replacing my videogame writing with... ornithological observations! Yes! If you don't care much for my gaming insight, I'll give you the lowdown on birds next month!

Alright, enough with the drivel. I don't want this to turn into a misty-eyed plea for love. If I wanted this column to be sappy, I'd have bunkered myself in a sugar shack, dang-blast-it! We're here to talk about videogames! And today... well, thanks to my endless ranting, I'm not even sure what I was going to talk about. I think it was something impressively profound. But since I was so sidetracked, I'm just going to complain about collision damage.


(Everything wants me dead. Especially Jon Hamm. Watch out for that guy.)

First of all, I get it. Players need to get hurt. It's a fact of life, like milk coming from udders. But why does damage in gaming have to be so rough? It makes me very sad! Take spikes, for example. That's right: the legendary spikes of lore! No matter why, spikes seem to cause serious damage. Mega Man is a testament to this: he ends up exploding if he comes within even a few pixels of a spike! But here's the irritating part: you get hurt no matter what part of the spike you touch. Say there's a spike hanging just like a stalactite. Whether you touch the pointy tip or the smooth, conic sides, you're still going to take damage. What's up with that? Are videogame heroes so fragile that even touching a cone surface results in injury? Perhaps we need a new IP, like "Styrofoam Girl", who won't suffer these ridiculous consequences.

But that's not even half as excruciating as casualties caused by merely touching something. If it's made of lava, then I get it. That stuff burns like spending the weekend at a burrito factory. But when merely touching an enemy is painful, we need to re-evaluate our programming here. So many games do this, and it's beyond acceptable. In Contra games, when you run into an enemy, you die. How is this even possible? It's not as though the enemy soldier was dashing so quickly that he literally pushes his way through your body! A bullet can kill you in Contra, but so can rubbing against the uniform of another soldier. That makes NO sense. Same goes for Super Mario Bros.! Simply touching a Goomba or Koopa Troopa will kill you (if you are Regular Mario; as Super Mario, you revert to your smaller form). The enemies aren't even DOING anything except walking! So to any exercise buffs out there, heed my warning: walking can KILL you. Let's not even think about Action 52, where everything hurts you all the time no matter which game it is.

And then there's Mega Man 3, a game notorious for being both awesome and ridiculous simultaneously. I'm talking about the Top Spin weapon. To put it bluntly, Mega Man does ballet to attack enemies. Weird, I know. But when you use the Top Spin ability, you're very likely to take some damage yourself! How did Capcom think this was a good idea? I hope they just ran out of development time, because, aside from looking imbecilic, an attack really shouldn't hurt you as much as it hurts them (although, tell that to any beat-'em-up developers that force you to sustain damage when performing a special move).

Ugh... I feel as though I've taken damage just by playing these games! I know they're supposed to be difficult, but developers make it so in the most unreasonable of ways! I need a light seltzer and a nap.


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