February 15, 2012

Top 5 Worst Video Game Jobs

We’ve all had shitty jobs in our employment history.  Maybe not as bad as an elephant excrement catcher, but we all worked at the really low paying pizza delivery gig, or we had to rewind video tapes at the movie rental store on the overnight shift.  Hell, I’m betting some of you out there are reading this in that shitty job right now - as in at this very second.  You know what I’m talking about.
Video games on the other hand are the release we so desperately need from those shit-tastic jobs.  Sadly, a few of those crappy jobs have been put into those video games.  You might not have seen them while you were playing, but they were there, secretly behind the scenes (or I just made them up because it would be fun).  Read on for the full list.

1.  Fish and Game Warden – Alan Wake

This one came pretty easy to me having just played Alan Wake (it’s still fresh on my mind).  Just the thought of being a Fish and Game warden in that creepy Northwestern State Park is bad enough, but you throw in the complete isolation, the treacherous terrain, and the overall lack of normal human contact - you’ve got a really shitty job.  Not to mention that you have to deal with uppity city folk like Alan Wake constantly bothering you with hunting and fishing licenses and the job gets pretty stressful too.  Oh, but don’t worry about filling out all the paperwork and writing up a citation for old man Jenkin’s expired fishing license, you’re too fucking busy running for your life from those crazy demon vapors known as the Taken.  This isn’t exactly in the OSHA handbook as a normal work hazard to deal with on the job.  I wonder if you can put that Taken experience shit on the Monster.com job resume application.  Oh, and we can’t forget about the bear traps. Oh the bear traps; the hundreds of lazily placed bear traps all over the forest floor. Damn, it would make me want a desk job.
2.  Evil Henchmen – Batman: Arkham Asylum

I know you guys are probably having doubts right about now about this list, but hear me out.  Henchmen do in fact have jobs.  It’s their job to try to beat up, mangle and kill anyone who is on his way to do harm to their boss (or whoever pays the most).  You don’t really get paid monetary-wise (so it’s hard to quantify it as a job), but once you go into the occupation of being a henchmen, there really isn’t a way out.  Just try and climb your way up the henchmen corporate ladder.  More than likely this venture is a dead-end job for you.  That sucks.  Your currency is getting protection from the cops and a safe environment to do bad things.  Mostly it’s just little perks like trinkets of leftovers from the boss and stolen goods on the side.  Trouble is – and I mention Arkham Asylum baddies here – they usually get beat up a lot.  Like, A LOT.  Getting a glide kick to the face from a shadowy figure while you’re trying to read a book is not my idea of a fun or rewarding job.  You’re also likely to see your co-workers slowly picked off one by one by a masked shadowy figure, hanging from a gargoyle.  Where’s OSHA when you need them!

3.  Motorcycle Stunt Specialist – Trials HD

“Oh man! Hey honey, you’ll never guess what just happened!  I was racin’ Scooter down at the dirt track and some weird guys just showed up and hired me to go on some motorcycle test track at a factory makin’ butt-loads of money!  They said I can start as soon as I go through the physical trails and tests, sign about 400 pages of legal documents, and then sign over my body to them if I happen to die.  Isn’t that great honey?  We’ll finally be able to get that above ground pool and basketball goal!  They also asked if I wanted to sign a life insurance policy but I told them “nah” I won’t need one.  I’m a great rider.  How dangerous could driving a motorcycle in a factory be?”

These are the last words to be uttered by the Trials HD motorcycle rider.  His job is simple.  Ride as long as you can, then die in a flaming fireball of death.  End of story.  He’s literally a pet you want to see die over and over again in new and exciting ways.  Exploding barrels? Check.  Fire?  Check.  Rocket bikes?  Check. Spikey objects?  Go get ‘em tiger!

4.  Black Jack Dealer – Red Dead Redemption

This one also came easy for me.

I sat there with a small window of time to play some video games last night.  I popped in Red Dead and played some Liar’s Dice for a few minutes and then tried my hand – no, I’m not talking about trying my hand at Five Finger Fillet – on Blackjack.  I sat there getting dealt cards for the better part of an hour and a half, the Mexican dealer never taking a bathroom break.  He never faltered, never wavered in his systematic dealing of the cards. Things might be different down in Mexico or the times have changed over the past 200 years, but it seems like if I were to go to Vegas, Shreveport, Atlantic City or any other casino these dealer guys take breaks every 5 fucking minutes.  Just as soon as you get into a rhythm of making money and getting a bond with them they do that weird clap thing to show their hands and that they don’t have any chips or money and swap out for the next guy.

Also, they’re standing for an hour or more on a badly constructed hardwood floor (in Red Dead time, so orthopedic shoes weren’t invented yet) and then they’re getting shot up every time a disgruntled gambler gets up after losing all their money! Yeah, I would be saying let the players win.  The house can suck it.

5.  Prostitutes/Whores – Grand Theft Auto

I could have gone a lot of different ways to include GTA in this list (we’ll just say the latest release GTA IV).  The hot dog vendors all over the city getting run over and their carts destroyed, to motorists constantly getting shot up and their car stolen (not really a job per se), it’s still almost too easy to include something from Liberty City.  I have to go into the seedy underbelly of the city to include the whores and prostitutes of GTA. 
These ladies are always on the front lines (or doing lines) getting fucked by some random hoodlum in the back of a car, but not knowing if that hoodlum – or “John” – is going to rob them for money and kill them later.  There’s also the hazardous work environment of walking along the street at night trying to get “tricks” after you leave the pub after playing darts with a buddy, only to get run over by a random Russian dude.
Technically you could turn any non-playable character (that’s NPC in the biz) into some sort of horrible video game job.  Our medium is filled with them.  These I felt were the best for me to make a spin on them, and turn them into something more than just listing five characters, their occupations, and moving on.  It’s better to have a story to go behind them.  To look behind the curtains and see what these characters would deal with on a regular basis.  If you know of more, and want to share their shitty job, please be sure to leave it in the comments.