Earlier today, I was setting resolutions I want to make as a gamer next year. In the process, I confronted the biggest bullies I've ever met. No, not my former sleazeball agent (I have receipts if I ever have to deal with him again). I'm talking about video game villains: bosses, rivals, and foes that have inspired many rage quits.
Now that I'm facing these digital demons head-on, I have some thoughts. After all, we're heading into a new year. And even villains merit criticism. So, here are some resolutions I'd like to recommend to the following game villains.
5/5 Ursula: Be Nicer To Merpeople (Specifically, Me)
Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Ursula, The Sea Witch Queen of Atlantica. (And if your hand is down, shame on you, dirty liar!)
For Christmas of 2020, I revisited the Kingdom Hearts series for the first time in almost 20. My first experience was an hour of the first Kingdom Hearts. A couple of years later, I invested heavily in Kingdom Heart 2. Still, I never progressed far enough to complete either game. However, when Kingdom Hearts 3 launched along with the "Story So Far" bundle on PS4, I knew I had to give the series another go.
I decided to start from the beginning of the series before approaching KH3, so I gave the first game a proper playthrough. For a whole week, I couldn't put my controller down. This PS2 classic features a gorgeous art style, straightforward combat, and compelling characters. From gracing The Queen Of Hearts in Wonderland to surfing vines with Tarzan, I savored every moment.
And then I went to Atlantica, and everything changed.
Atlantica is a significant grind. I was constantly pestered by Heartless jellyfish while lost in caverns and coves. But the worst part was battling Ursula not once but twice. The first battle is a confusing cauldron-hitting hoopla. Then, there is the big showdown when Ursula becomes an "Attack On Titan"-sized force and sucks you into her range.
Although I struggled to navigate around Ursula's screen-engulfing polygons, I was close to defeating her. And then she pulled a move that I can only describe as the cheapest bullshit ever, thus killing me! After all the work it took to get to that battle, I felt exhausted and cynical. I put my controller down and said, "nope."
If I return to Atlantica next year, I'm asking for Ursula to have some compassion for her fellow citizens of the sea. Or just let me win so I can make it to Kingdom Hearts 3 and summon a Main Street Electrical Parade float. That's all I want.
4/5 Adam The Clown: Tone It Down A Little
There aren't many game villains that leave a mark like Adam, the unwell chainsaw-wielding clown in Dead Rising. I watched my brother and our cousin play this game, and this dude spooked me more than the zombies. Still, after hearing Adam's griping, I have some notes.
When Frank encounters Adam, the tragic jester begrudges his life of ridicule from strangers. But now that the zombies have taken over Willamette Park View Mall, he can let loose and stop playing a punchline in the people's eyes. (Ummmm. Who's gonna tell Adam he's a clown?) Yet he gives this soliloquy in a put-on falsetto voice while juggling chainsaws and laughing maniacally.
Yeah, that reading is not doing Adam any favors. That's like if I walked into an audition room and recited Edmund's "bastard" speech from King Lear while doing the "I'm a little teapot" dance and speaking baby talk. It's safe to say I wouldn't book.
So, next year, Adam needs to focus on simplifying his performance. He needs to do rather than show. If you truly feel like a human punching bag, simply tell us that. An ounce of genuine intention will do more than a thousand hand gestures ever could.
And I swear, Adam, if I see those chainsaws again, I'm calling SAG-AFTRA!
3/5 M. Bison: Redesign The Shadaloo Uniform
It's been over 30 years since Street Fighter 2. As a civilization, fashion endured corset tops, wide-leg pants, and crocs. Yet, in all that time, I have seen nary a change in the Shadaloo uniform! Even in Street Fighter 5, the dolls all sport a variation on the dark blue turtleneck leotard, and M Bison wears the same red military outfit and red beret. So, it's time for this dictator wannabe to hire a stylist.
M. Bison, next year I want to see new Shadaloo uniforms. I don't care what you have to do. Kidnap Donatella Versace, blackmail Calvin Klein, or walk the Savage X Fenty show with Johnny Depp. Whatever! But make those connections and get those designs. Ask for some advice from Anna Wintour. Even a google search will help. Do you know Cobalt Blue is next year's color? I do because I Googled it!
It's the 2020s. Despots can wear whatever they want. Just don't consult Trump; he can't dress for shit.
2/5 Bowser: Learn The Concept Of Consent
In the age of #MeToo, I do not comprehend how Bowser cannot bother listening when someone says "no." Even in 2017's Super Mario Odyssey, he kidnapped Princess Peach (yes, again) and forced her into marriage. (For you miscreants who say she likes getting kidnapped, stop with the victim-blaming you monsters!)
But Princess Peach is not Bowser's only victim. If you land on a Bowser space in Mario Party Superstars, he will coerce you into buying an item you do not need at a price you cannot afford. And the item will likely break a moment later! Seriously! I want a refund for that Bowser Tube, you miserable mutant turtle!
So, if I can recommend one resolution for Bowser to focus on next year, it's to learn and adhere to the concept of consent. No means no. Always. Stop trying to change people's minds, stop pretending their "no" means "yes," and start listening. Then donate those coins you stole to RAINN. It's the least you could do.
1/5 Lady Dimitrescu: Honey, Don't Change A Thing!
Countess Alcina Dimitrescu, I have no notes! You keep slaying the house-down boots with that big-ass hat, cougar claws, and bodacious vampiric booty! She ain't serving fish, boys. She's serving full-bodied Bio-Mutant dragon! Give Ethan Winters that aristocratic jazz chanteuse realness, hunty! YASSSSSSSSSS!
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