Video games allow us to embody everyone fromluminary knights, to superheroes, warriors, monarchs, and thousands more, but for everygood deed committed, we can’t help but notice the.
questionable acts that accompany them.
Can we still use the excuse, “for the greatergood?” When does a battle become criminal? Warfare become torture or murder? Let’s shine the light on these supposed“heroes” to see what shadows they cast.
The Geneva Convention and arms treaties existIRL to prevent inhumane warfare, but can we judge our beloved protagonists by the samestandards? So, in the immortal words of Dick Marcinkofrom Rogue Warrior, the most questionable depiction of “honourable warfare” in history, “Check the bodies” and “hold your balls*, ” because I’m Ben from TripleJump, and hereare 10 Gaming “Heroes” Who Should Be Done For War Crimes.
Link – Legend of Zelda series Ah, Link.
Always the plucky hero, fighting for the forcesof light in the face of unrelenting darkness, saving the kingdom in the name of the belovedprincess Zelda, remarkable choice in tights.
and absolute thieving scoundrel.
Throughout the series, Link nabs anythinghe can get his hands on, usually for his own benefit.
His crimes vary from shoplifting, to burglaryand looting, the latter of which is a legitimate war crime.
And if the crime can include some generalvandalism, all the better.
In Link’s Awakening, for instance, our herocan steal a bow from Mabe Village, which results in every other NPC, including the Wind Fishitself, branding him as a thief.
As for the looting and pillaging, the gameplayrewards players for seizing spoils from defeated enemies or unsuspecting townsfolk.
Throughout the multiple timelines the sneakylad amasses a veritable trove of goodies, ranging from simple bones and horns, to valuablegemstones, rare jewellery, and mighty weapons.
Although this is a mild start to our list, we at least believe Link would make a solid addition to The Dark Brotherhood thanks tohis wily reputation.
Mario – Super Mario series “Seriously violating the principles of proportionality”Yes, the Mushroom Kingdom is filled with bombastic colours, quirky characters, and jolly adventures, but beneath the colourful facade resides a torrent of deception and violence.
How many millions of blocks has Mario smashedinto oblivion? Not only is this literal vandalism, but thiswanton destruction hides a horrific truth.
Look closely at the power-up-containing brickblocks.
These are actually Mushroom People, innocentdenizens of the Kingdom, magically transformed by Bowser himself.
This was even confirmed in the manual forSuper Mario Bros, leading us to wonder.
Destroy the block.
destroy the helplesscaptive within? As well as the potential murder of innocents, Mario partakes in just as much pillaging and looting as Link, continuously pilfering coinsfrom dead enemies during his rampage.
Furthermore, take a look at Super Mario Worldfor the SNES, wherein the vandal breaks into the Koopaling’s lairs, murders their underlings, plunders their treasures, and beats them without remorse.
Cue even more war crimes as Mario breachesthe restrictions of honourable warfare by “giving no quarter” and “seriously violatingthe principles of proportionality” by blowing up the Koopalings’ castles after deliveringa humiliating defeat, decimating their land and leaving no survivors.
Move over, Dick Marcinko.
GuybrushThreepwood – Monkey Island series Not only is Guybrush a bad pirate, but he’salso a bad pirate.
He bumbles and makes mistakes, but also carriesout decisions that are universally considered bad or evil.
In Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge andThe Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush’s youthful, simple demeanour crumbles away, revealingsomething far more sly, spiteful, and generally nastier.
In fact, he regularly commits crimes thatare both vicious and egotistical.
He is clearly more than capable of being rude, crafty and vindictive.
He often resorts to pillaging – a ratherconsistent hobby amongst heroes in this list so far – destroying civilian property, andeven framing innocent people for his own crimes.
Granted, in later instalments, he becomesmore compassionate and rarely resorts to the cruel nature of his past, but he should havebeen arrested and tried for his crimes far before this change of heart actually occurred.
In spite of all this however, he’s stilla well-loved character, being described by IGN as “delightfully amusing”, and deemedby GamesRadar as both an “unlikely pirate [and] also an unlikely hero.
” Maybe his appeal is similar to that of JackSparrow, with far less eyeliner admittedly, but still possessing that similar lovable, bumbling nature that always seems to get him into trouble as well as out of it.
Commander Shepard – Mass Effect Trilogy The Mass Effect series consists of THREE excellentgames, that definitely did not suffer from a rushed ending or an even worse fourth additionto the franchise.
And they were great.
And also, Thane didn’t die at the handsof Kai Leng! He just didn’t, ok?! The beauty of these games relies on theirability to construct a vast epic narrative that the player directly influences via amultitude of tough moral choices, like “should I seduce this blue alien? Or should I seduce the purple alien?” Shepard can become a shining paragon of hopeand heroism, or they can instead opt to transform into a villainous renegade who doesn’t hesitateto cooperate with terrorists, destroy entire colonies and species, commit murder, and – ofcourse – loot anything they can get their omni-blade gauntlets on.
Renegade Shepard often displays either directcontempt or absolute indifference, choosing to be needlessly insulting and patronizingto their allies.
And damn it I WILL NOT stand for anyone treatingTali with anything but the utmost care and kindness! She’s fragile.
This version of Shepard is homicidal and bloodthirsty, with violent and brutal tendencies that cause their very form to be torn asunder under theweight of such evil.
Lara Croft – Tomb Raider We all saw how Lara transformed from naiveyoungling to hardened murderer within mere minutes in the Tomb Raider reboot.
She’s able to dissociate in alarming fashion, almost like.
a serial killer might.
In fact, she shows many worrying tendenciesthat support this theory.
Approximately 70% of serial killers have sufferedat least one traumatic head injury, and Tomb Raider: Return of Bodily Trauma inflicts Larawith all manner of nasty trips and slips.
Likely, this could scar the frontal cortex, which can damage the ability to process emotional and social connections.
She also grew up isolated and exudes prominentanti-social behaviour.
Add arson, a high IQ, low resting heart rateunder pressure, violence to animals, and bog-standard murder to the mix, and we’ve got one seriouslyconcerning character.
Even before the reboot, she was essentiallystill a grave robber and murderer.
Most archaeologists follow the ethical codethat demands preservation and respect for archaeological remains and sites, but CrazyCroft must have skipped that part of the induction.
She desecrates human remains, pillages, vandalises, and slaughters locals, which is probably why she hasn’t been invited back to AntiquesRoad Show.
Mei – Overwatch Mei-Ling Zhou, Chinese climatologist and adventurer, is the loveable and nerdy scientist of hero shooter Overwatch.
She is resoundingly determined and quite inspiring, with many players commending her design as a strong female scientist who aims to protectthe global ecology.
In fact, her earnest quote of, “Our worldis worth fighting for!” is enough to melt the hearts of any stoic players.
Oh, and – most charmingly – she’s amerciless killer in possession of a weapon that’s a serious breach of both weaponryprotocols and The Geneva convention, in particular, the tiny part that – pfft– discouragesthe use of “Cruel and exceptional torture that inflicts unnecessary suffering.
” Spoil sports.
Dangerously low temperatures can have disastrouseffects on the human body, ranging from mental confusion in mild cases, to cardiac arrestunder more severe circumstances.
Under the onslaught of Mei’s EndothermicBlaster the other heroes can expect to suffer decreased respiratory functions, reduced bloodpressure, inflamed skin, hallucinations, pulmonary edema, or even PARADOXICAL UNDRESSING! Hmm, actually, Mei.
would you mind pointingthat gun at Soldier Sixty-Niiii- I mean, Seventy-Six? Ok, ok, maybe historically, freezing has beenused alongside the likes of burning and live burial to torture criminals, but.
Yeah, maybe keep an eye on her.
Nathan Drake – Uncharted Series One glance at my bedroom will reveal (amongother things; please don’t ask questions) a life-size poster of Drake residing in itsplace of honour alongside the shrine to Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly.
Both of them, bold, heroic, dashing rogueswho deserve none of your slander, thank you very much! Hmm.
What’s that? Drake has a kill count of approximately 3000people? Pfft.
I’m sure they were all evil men who DEFINITELYwere not just trying to earn money to feed their families.
I bet they kicked puppies, or something.
Ok, I suppose Drake has left behind what somewould call “ a bloodbath.
” On the surface, like many other characterson this list, he’s charming and likable, but beneath this facade resides a cunningand ruthless mind.
Of those thousands of kills, most are fairlyhorrific.
For those pulled down from atop high ledges, their instant death is quite unlikely.
Perhaps they lay crumpled at the base of thestructure, broken legs akimbo, spine shattered, internal bleeding flooding the body, agonyrippling through every attempt to cry for help.
and that’s just one cursory example.
He’s killed so many people and pillagedso many sites of historical significance that it’s actually quite surprising he’s notbeen flagged by Interpol or the FBI.
Ultimately, he kills anyone who gets in hisway but still offers a smile and quip while doing so, which is all the more disturbing.
The Vault Hunters – Borderlands Borderlands is the pinnacle of the “shootand loot” genre.
It’s a fast-paced adrenaline rush that barelygives the player a second’s thought between choosing which new explosive gun to equip, and which to sell.
Actually, scrap that; the new one has a scopeon it.
But have you ever listened to Handsome Jack’sclaims? I mean, really listened and actually thoughtabout them.
No, not the part about Butt Stallion.
I mean the part where he declares that he’sthe hero, and you’re the villain.
He might have a point.
After all, you are a vault hunter.
Murdering, stealing, murdering, looting, moremurdering.
it’s all in your job description.
See, right there.
It’s not in the fine print or anything.
In Hamerlock’s Big Game Hunt DLC, you evenhunt many rare local species to near extinction without nary a second thought.
But what really elevates your actions to thelevel of war crimes, is the actual weaponry.
Arms control treaties have banned the useof weapons that are designed to choke, maim, and otherwise kill in an inhumane fashion.
Essentially, all Borderlands weapons.
Incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons, Expanding ordinance, poisoned bullets, cluster bombs, and biological weapons all breach thistreaty, and, unsurprisingly, are the bread and butter of the in-universe arms companieslike Torgue and Hyperion.
Turns out, Handsome Jack may have been right.
But don’t tell him that.
His ego is big enough.
That and he’s, you know, dead.
Spartans – Halo series Master Chief is undoubtedly the poster-boyfor the Spartans: the biologically enhanced super-soldiers of the Halo universe.
This legendary unit is the most elite infantryforce used by the UNSC and employs cybernetically enhanced badasses as their primary offensiveforce.
These towering super soldiers are iconic, both in game and in real life, depicting an unwavering battalion of proud warriors thatnever fail to impress at any self-respecting Comic Con.
Unfortunately, this heroic group scores sohighly on this list for one reason: using child soldiers.
Yeah, it’s difficult to put an excuse orpositive spin on this one.
This is indisputably a legitimate war crime, and one which casts the Spartans in a rather uncomfortable light.
Yes, they ultimately became the saviours ofhumanity, but they were originally created to fight rebels of the Insurrection – otherhumans.
Dr Halsey, the mind behind the programme, violated numerous laws and ethical boundaries to establish the insurmountable Spartan forceby abducting 75 six-year-old children.
Moreover, only 33 survived thanks to the torturoustraining process and implementation of physical augmentations.
It is a criminal act, there is no doubt ofthis.
The scientists claim that the ends justifythe means.
but we ask, at what cost? 1.
Martin Walker – Spec Ops: The Line At a simple glance, this title appears littlemore than yet another over-the-shoulder, pew-pew, shootyshooty, warfare game.
So far, so generic.
We didn’t expect much.
John Carmack, founder of ID Software was oncequoted saying “stories in video games are like stories in porn films – they’re expectedto be there, but they’re not that important.
” Spec Ops: The Line then stood up and declared, “Hold my explosive war crime beer.
” In a now infamous scene, protagonist MartinWalker uses white phosphorous on both US army personnel and civilians, in direct breachof the Convention on Chemical Weapons and, unsurprisingly, our good ol’ friend theGeneva Convention.
Following this incident, and unbeknownst tothe player, Walker’s sanity unravels, culminating in a dramatic and tense finale during whichseveral endings can be attained.
This narrative was masterful and completelyunexpected by players and critics alike.
At first, we may overlook the initial, brutalattack due to our desensitized nature.
We may even expect such a display, consideringthat unrelenting destruction is featured in anything from platformers to hero shooters.
The whole purpose of the narrative is to explorethe moral ethics of war crimes and the resulting demand for justice.
It attempts something a lot of other gamesnever bother with: it makes us think about the consequences of our actions.
And there we have it! These so-called heroes have a lot to answerfor.
With a TripleJump jury demanding justice, and judge Billy Ray Walrus holding the gavel firmly in his flippers, who would you callto the stand? Bring down the hammer of justice in the commentsbelow! You can follow myself and TripleJump on Twitterhere, and while you’re at it, why not support the things you enjoy by having a look at ourpatreon.
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I’m Ben from TripleJump, and thanks forwatching.