Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 Reasons Nintendo Are The Kings Of Obnoxious Game Characters

There's no denying that Nintendo have a lot of classic video game series and characters. Everyone knows Kirby and Zelda, and no matter how much you love Halo and Call of Duty if you have a heart there's got to be a place in it for the Mario brothers. Let's face it. Nintendo are the kings of gaming, no matter how much Microsoft and Sony may hate it.

Nintendo might also be the bridge-dwelling trolls of gaming, though, because all of their best games also include at least one extremely obnoxious character that seemingly exists only to piss you off. These are the five worst.

5. Navi, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Following in the footsteps of the massively popular Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time helped to popularize the 3-D action/adventure game genre. Even standing on its own, however, it's no exaggeration to say that Ocarina is one of, if not the best game in the Zelda franchise. The story and gameplay still hold up well even today, and the game also cemented main character Link's place as an icon of the homosexual community, for some reason.

This brings us to Navi, Link's fairy companion in the game. It was Navi's job to buzz around your head and help you out occasionally, whether by explaining things you might not have understood, or by pointing out items and characters that are far away or easy to miss. She also had the job of reminding you what storyline quest you were supposed to be doing, in case you forgot, and this is where her usefulness completely broke down.

If, like most people, you were content to spend your time scouring the world for heart containers, rupees, and collectables, you would be interrupted every half an hour or so by your fairy dive-bombing your head and screaming in a high-pitched, annoying baby voice: "Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen! Hey!"

Yes, Navi. We all know we're supposed to be going to fight the evil villain. We don't care. Shut the Hell up.

4. Tingle, Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask sent Link, as a child, to an alternate dimension to stop an evil mask and prevent the moon from crashing into the world. It also released Navi from her duty as Link's helper, but don't think that means the game was without an obnoxious character. Mask introduced us to Tingle, a creepy, effeminate goon who wants to be a fairy.

Tingle was a horrid abomination in form-fitting spandex made for someone 50 pounds lighter. He ended every conversation with his annoying catchphrase, "Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah!" You couldn't even ignore him because he was the only way to get the maps you needed to find your way around in the game. Even worse, unlike Navi he's still a recurring character in the series. Worse than all of the above, though, is that as a middle-aged man obsessed with fantasy and adventure, Tingle is the creepy, awkward guy all geeks are secretly terrified of becoming.

3. Baby Mario, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
If I have to explain to you why Yoshi's Island was awesome, then you obviously never played it. Go do that now. I'll wait. By which I mean I won't wait, but since this is text you can just go ahead and play it, then come back and finish reading later.

For those of you who were too lazy to play it when I told you to, this game takes place while the famous Mario is still a baby. His future arch-nemesis, Bowser (also a baby) kidnaps his brother, Luigi, in an attempt to stop a prophecy that they would ruin his future empire. You play as a series of multi-colored dinosaurs who carry baby Mario on a quest to defeat the baby Bowser, thus allowing baby Mario and baby Luigi to save the world in the future. Because Japan is weird like that.

Weirdness aside, Yoshi's Island is still the second best game in the Mario series, just above Super Mario World but just below Super Mario 64. The problem is baby Mario himself. Did you know that humans have a biological predisposition toward hating the sound of a baby screaming? Of course you did, and you now know why everyone who has played this game despises the little brat. Okay, so he only cries when you drop him (ie. when you get hit) and the annoying sound encourages you to get him back quickly, but that doesn't make it any better...especially when the bubble he floats in randomly decides to float just out of your reach, as it loves to do.

It gets to a point where your yoshi's death comes as a welcome release from the ungodly shrieking of the little vomitpile. If you've ever heard a hack comedian joke that babies are cute to prevent us from killing them, this is why.

2. Joey, Pokémon: Gold/Silver Versions and HeartGold/SoulSilver Versions
You know how the upcoming Pokémon: Black/White 2 is being heralded as the first direct sequel in the franchise? Well, punch anyone who says that in the nose, because it's not true. The first direct sequel was also the second regular series game: Gold/Silver. G/S is the perfect example of a sequel done right. It expands upon the original while still being its own thing. Also, spoiler alert: you get to fight your character from the first game and he is harder to defeat than God. (That's not a joke. In the Pokémon universe the supreme being and creator of the world is a pokémon named Arceus and yes, you can catch Him.)

G/S also introduced the Pokégear. It was a combination cell phone, map, radio, and clock - basically a smart phone from before anyone knew what a smart phone was. One of the cool things about the Pokégear was that you could store the phone numbers of certain NPCs you met along your journey and later if they had something good for you - sometimes an item, sometimes a rematch with high level pokémon - they would call you and let you know.

Unfortunately, while G/S might have predicted the smart phone they also predicted the obnoxious text messager. What I didn't mention was that the NPCs you stored in your phone would also message you just to talk sometimes, and never about anything worthwhile.

The worst offender of all was Youngster Joey. He was one of the first trainers you fought and the third phone number you got (after your mother and Professor Elm). He had only one pokémon, a purple vendor trash rat, and he would message you constantly to tell you how wonderful it was. Part of his annoyance was that you got his number so early, but even in the late game he was still the most common person to call you.

And that's how a random 7 year old boy inspired me to destroy the world. Don't worry, though. My Ho-oh only burns to death obnoxious text messagers. That doesn't describe you...DOES IT?!

1. The Dog That Mocks You, Duck Hunt
The infamous Duck Hunt Dog was the one that started it all and is still the quintessential annoying video game character. For those of you who are too young to remember the game, Duck Hunt was a light gun shooter game for the NES. It required the use of the Zapper, a pistol-shaped controller with a spring-loaded trigger that made a loud "SPANG!" sound whenever you pulled it, so that was pretty obnoxious.

Regardless, it was incredible for the time. Oh, sure, it's old technology now that we have the Wii and the Kinect and the PlayStationMove. And sure, light gun technology had already been around for about 50 years from the first light gun toy (Seeburg's Ray-O-Lite machine) in 1936 to Duck Hunt's release in 1984. Oh, and yes, it's also true that Duck Hunt wasn't even the first NES game to use the Zapper. That honor belongs to the more obscure Wild Gunman. The point is, shut up. It was considered awesome and groundbreaking for the time, no matter how stupid that is.

Anyway, when you started the game your trusty hunting dog would jump into the bushes to scare out the ducks, which would then fly around the screen for a while before fleeing. You had to shoot them before they got away, at which point you scored some points and your dog would appear to hold up the ducks you caught.

...unless you didn't manage to shoot any. If that happened then your dog would instead pop up sporting a shit-eating grin and laugh at you. It was the ultimate insult. You failed at your goal and you're already feeling bad about that, then your only ally in the game betrays you and humiliates you even further.

It's not even like it happened because you suck. As the game goes on the ducks get faster until there's no way you could hit them. Couple that with the inaccuracy of those stupid light gun controllers and you end up with a game that forces you to fail and then humiliates you for it.

Why? Because Nintendo are dicks, that's why.

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