Congratulations, airborne enemies: you’re officially the biggest jerk-offs in gaming history. I suppose I could have been a bit more delicate about informing you of this title, but I’m pretty sure you’re already well aware of it. In fact, I don’t really think you mind being the biggest thorn in the sides of gamers everywhere. You’re obviously embracing your unprecedented achievement in digital douchebaggery despite it preventing you from experiencing the affection felt by land-based, aquatic and even erratically jumping enemies.
How to Ruin Freedom
I recall my first traumatic run in with you like it was yesterday. I was a young boy, nervously making my way through the river stage in Ninja Gaiden. You were an eagle, endlessly respawning as I tried to make a jump that was hard enough as it was. I remember respecting eagles before that point in time but after my encounter with you, I found myself cautiously avoiding all contact with them until rationality was introduced into my prepubescent brain. At the time, however, you single-handedly ruined the fondness I felt towards the symbol of my country’s freedom and that’s devastating for a child.
Looking back, your presence marred a number of memorable games from the 8 through 16-bit eras, the myriad of transformations you took unable to hide your true intentions. Whether you were a turtle in a cloud who threw spiky enemies at me or the head of a snake headed mythological creature, you’re only goal was to drive us crazy when our nerves were already frayed enough. You didn’t care that we lacked enough lives to carry on. You didn’t care that your actions prevented us from seeing the last boss. You bathed in our misery, drank our pain and defecated on our dreams.
You could have done so much with your abilities, things like saving children from burning skyscapers or transporting medicine to refugee camps. Instead, you waited until right before we were about to take a risky jump and collided with us in midair, sending our lifeless corpses to the bottom of whatever chasm or body of water we were attempting to avoid. Even in the 8-bit era, there was plenty of room in the sky for you to fly around haphazardly without running into us. I suppose you could blame your actions on the person that programmed you, but I get the impression you escaped the restraints of your artificial intelligence. I mean, what kind of sick individual would create such a creature and place it in something that was supposed to be fun? If I didn’t know any better, I’d think your actions are the result of Skynet stretching its legs a bit.
From Really Dangerous to Really Annoying
Since your ability to destroy our chances for victory dwindled as the difficulty of games softened a bit, one would think you’d have done a bit of soul-searching and realized the calamity you caused throughout the years. Instead, you’ve transitioned from threat to troll. Your ability to fell us in a single blow is all but gone, though the annoyance you cause has multiplied quite a bit. Now you come in swarms, poking at us while more destructive foes go for the kill. The best example of this is the Rakk of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, an enemy whose low strength is more than made up for by its uncanny ability to make me want to never play Borderlands again.
Even when you’re more substantial in size, you’re still a pain in the butt. Take your appearance in Skyrim in the form of dragons. The first few times I saw you, I was overwhelmed and excited for a new challenge. I even thought that perhaps you’d changed your ways. Then, you began to appear everywhere. You waited for me outside of towns, you attacked me as I tried to hunt, you even teamed up on me while I was foraging for berries. How much of a threat is a freaking berry forager?! Oh sorry, I forgot, you aren’t trying to destroy your threats, you’re trying to destroy my patience.
Even though I’m very excited for the next generation of gaming, I cringe at the thought of what form you’ll take. Will you maintain your modern-day perstering or revert back to the cheap kill for cheap laughs mentality you grew up with? I‘m not one for any form of genocide, but for you, flying enemies in video games, I’d make an exception.
Taking Offense – We are (not) offended easily and video games (never) offend us all of the time. It is time to address some of the more outstanding offenders of the video game world.