Before they did Grand Theft Auto, the people at DMA Design, later to become Rockstar North, made a game called Lemmings. They were small, had green hair, little blue bodies and they liked to die. They liked to die in a lot of ways. Sometimes they died by building their own roads to nowhere and then walking off them. Sometimes they died in tribes, sometimes they died via paintball and occasionally they would die in 3D. They died on the Amiga, they died on the ZX Spectrum, and they died on the Philips CD-i (and quite happily too). They died on Nintendo consoles, Sega consoles, PlayStation consoles and various handheld consoles. And why? Because some video games characters just like to die…

…and it seems that the Lemmings are not the only video games characters who like to die.  The fact that there are very few video games where characters have just one life shows that death and suicide are rife in the virtual world of video games. There are some video games characters who just don’t want to live – like Goombas, from pretty much every Mario game.

As they take a leisurely sideways shuffle through the Mushroom Kingdom, the wind blowing through their bushy eyebrows and sun beaming down on their shiny brown heads, life is quite pleasant for the humble Goomba.

Suddenly everything becomes still, the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining and a large dark shadow starts to cover the land. The Goomba looks up. A large rotund man is running towards him. There is only one thing left for it to do now…

The Goomba decides to walks of the edge of a cliff… this is why Goombas like to die. They would rather commit suicide and walk themselves off the edge of a platform into oblivion, than be crushed by a large boot to the head by a fat git in some dungarees shouting “lets-a go!”. Either that, or all the pits are filled with Goombas just hiding from Mario, and building up in numbers so they have the power to kill him when he does fall into the pits. Except for a few select pits that Mario falls down which look exactly like the pit stage from Mortal Kombat 2.

Maybe they’re just being kind to Mario and trying not to hurt him.  He does seem deadly allergic to mushrooms… all he has to do is touch a certain type and he dies, he eats another and he doubles in size in some sort of monstrous allergic reaction. It just seems unfortunate that he landed in the Mushroom kingdom – it’s like a kid with a nut allergy being transported to the kingdom of Peanut Butter – where his only weapon against the enemy is anaphylactic shock.

Tails in Sonic 2… bless him, he’s only trying to help out his best pal Sonic, but to be honest, he is pretty useless at it. There are a few theories on why Tails likes to kill himself, one being that he just likes to show off and secondly because he’s an idiot. It doesn’t matter if he drowns, takes a bullet to the head or gets a few spikes up the backside, he will always come back from the grave, (not in some Zombie style mess, but he will just causally fly back onto the level as if nothing ever happened). Poor Sonic gets three lives, maybe more when you collect enough rings. But once they run out there’s no going back except to the start of the game. Thank god for the Xbox 360 version with the ability to save the game.

Although, with all the times that Tails dies, he does seem to be taking the piss out of Sonic a little: ‘You may get the title of the game, but I’m immortal, bitch!”

As all budding Pokémon trainers know, your main mission in life is to ‘try and catch them all’… which becomes more difficult if they keep killing themselves. You need to train your Pokémon by picking fights with other trainers and wild Pokémon and then kick the crap out of them…

As you slowly walk through the long grass near Kanto Route 10, you hear a rustle coming from behind you. To your surprise, out jumps a Voltorb. You quickly throw out your best Pokémon and the Voltorb responds by using the Self-destruct move… Boom, he’s now dead (or fainted – but that’s just what we tell the kids). Wild Pokémon who know the self-destruct move don’t even put up a fight. It’s as if they just take one look at you and your Pokémon, and choose to die! Either that, or they think the sweet embrace of oblivion would be better than being trained by you.

Some Pokémon have their excuses. For instance, Koffing and Weezing want to end it all because they have probably been in horrific pain since birth. It can’t be very healthy being full of toxic gases and poison. These poor guys can’t even sunbathe without their internal gases expanding causing them to over-inflate and then go kabooooom!

Then there’s bomb guys in Serious Sam – there is a big mystery surrounding these freaks… with no eyes how do they see Sam, with no nose how could they smell Sam, and with no mouth how the hell do they scream so bloody loud at Sam? They probably had their nose and mouth surgically implanted elsewhere, and if the procedure was carried out by the same scientist who brought you The Human Centipede: First Sequence, they probably want to die. If you woke up with no head and bombs for hands you’d probably want to die too, not that you’d have much choice in the long run, as the whole point of being you is basically to explode.

There are many other game characters who like to die. Any Merc who would sign up to be Super Contra who doesn’t know the ‘Up Down, Up Down, Left Right Left Right A B A B’ cheat code; the little ship you play as in Every Extend Extra; Baldur from Too Human, Alan Partridge would compare his death to a Renault Megane; Sir Arthur from super Ghouls and Ghosts after doing a double jump over a large hole and then not being able to control where he lands (okay, I’m just crap at Ghouls and Ghosts…) and Frogger (just what is on the other side of that road that’s worth dying for?). Or maybe he’s just continually avoiding a French chef. Or how about Mega Man, who doesn’t die when he lands on spikes, but whose automatic reaction is to hurl himself backwards into a pit. So as much as we might like to visit the world of video games… you probably wouldn’t want to live there.  The odds are that you wouldn’t want to last for long.







7 responses to “Continue…?”

  1. Mark P avatar

    Any character that goes toe-to-toe with Lu Bu in Dynasty Warriors wants to die. That guy is evil.

  2. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Lara taught me that if you are going to visit and explore a game world then you should bring some save crystals.

  3. Dean avatar

    Sir Arthur in ghouls and ghosts has the funniest death: losing his armor and being striped down to his undies it’s almost worth plowing into the next skeleton from the shame of it all.

  4. Ninja avatar

    “You may get the title of the game, but I’m immortal, bitch!” 😀

    I have abused the save function in Sonic 360 and feel (practically) no shame. Man, I must’ve had skills back in the day!

    Nice touch with the Lemmings bookmarking the blog btw 🙂

    Oh, Asteroids/Geometry Wars haunts my dreams in a monochrome/colourful death sort of way 🙁 Back off you square bastards!

  5. Ninja avatar

    *Or even “bookending the blog”. I R idiot…

  6. Simon avatar

    “…….all he has to do is touch a certain type and he dies, he eats another and he doubles in size in some sort of monstrous allergic reaction”


  7. Hampshire Paintballing avatar

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