Things have been a little serious the last two Wednesdays, so I’ve decided to lighten the mid-week mood here a little with a look at some of the most ridiculous things people have done in video games. Everyone knows it’s more fun to colour outside the lines, so check out these stories of people playing games in ways they were never intended to be played.
If you enjoy spending hours and hours achieving very little, Minecraft is right where you want to be. Markus Persson’s massive online world that allowed you to create almost anything became a global phenomenon, attracting gamers who wanted to push the envelope on what was possible in a self-created world limited only by your imagination.
Two gamers took this ambition to the next level, creating a massive replica of an original Gameboy, complete with stop-motion game footage that “plays” on the screen. Unsurprisingly, one of the gamers is a carpenter – and even more unsurprisingly, the other one is unemployed.
The team used 18 million blocks of in-game dyed wool to create these videos. Basically, they made an image of Super Mario Land on their GameBoy screen, using about 24,000 blocks, and then took an aerial screenshot before shifting all the blocks again. The Super Mario Land video used 800 of these screenshots, which are then combined to form a playing video. These guys had to painstakingly shift every block around, 800 times.
How much time did this all take? About four weeks, working six to seven hours a day, seven days a week. This might seem like a waste of time that could be spent making money, but that’s before you hear about all the endorsement deals and advertising offers, and Michael Bay approaching them for a movie deal. Actually none of that is true, and they’re probably still unemployed.
Check out 190 hours of work condensed into 140 seconds:
The WoW Epidemic
The WoW Epidemic is actually a term generally used to describe the 11 million people who spend a greater part of their lives skinning pigs and tediously flying a dragon across mountain ranges for no discernible gain. World of Warcraft is essentially a marathon episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? – everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.
There was however another epidemic, a meta-demic, if you will (and I would), that happened in the game itself. Known as The Corrupted Blood plague, it was the most deadly biological attack ever staged in a video game and that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d write.
Developer Blizzard introduced a new dungeon for high level players (those immortal beings who have taken the lives of thousands of boar), where the end-boss infected them with the virus which spread to any nearby player. It was quickly realised that by teleporting out of there you could take the virus with you, and the whole thing kind of snowballed from there.
The result was an in-game panic, as any lower level player would die almost immediately when coming into contact with the virus. Even the NPCs who give you the skin 12 boars missions were infected – this meant that between them and the high-level guys, there were a host of carriers strolling around who didn’t die, but could infect you anyway.
As Blizzard struggled to contain the virus with quarantines and server resets, a group of players actively tried to keep it going by violating the quarantines and infecting their spirit animals or whatever you call those things they fly around on. Check out all these dead people, and one optimist who wants to organise a bear race:
Blizzard eventually had to do a hard server reset, a pretty drastic move that put an abrupt end to the whole thing. Today, scientists actually use it as a case study in how people would react in a similar, real-life situation (there would presumably be less bear racing).
EVE Online player scams thousands of dollars
EVE Online is kind of an insane game. Just a couple of weeks ago we spoke about a massive war between two of the game’s biggest factions, resulting in tens of thousands of actual dollars in damage.
The game has a complex economy, it has corporations that have actual paid employees, it has factions and clans – it’s pretty complicated, and sounds kind of like the least fun ever.
Due to these unique conditions, one player had an awesome idea – why not start a bank? This online entrepreneur spent several months operating the EVE Intergalactic Bank, or EIB. He would offer loans to players forming new corporations or those wanting to buy fancy new ships or tools for mining, making his money through repayment plans (with interest, of course).
However, if playing Monopoly has taught us anything, it’s never trust the frikken banker. The dude logged in one day and just made off with the lot of it – about $170,000 in real money.
He wasn’t content to just take the money and run, however. Instead, he spent an enormous amount of it buying an insanely powerful ship and placing a huge bounty on himself. Oh, and then he made a 15 minute video telling everyone how clever he is.
Blind man masters games using only sound
Let’s step away from all this pointless time-wasting and frivolous douchebaggery and look at an honest-to-goodness heartwarming story.
Terry Garret is a 23-year old mechanical engineering student, who loves playing video games – except he’s completely blind. Despite this, he has managed to use the sound of games alone to not just play games – but to complete them, alone.
His favourite game is Abe’s Exodus, due to the game’s descriptive sound design, which allows him to figure out where he is and what he should be doing. The interview with Terry below shows him playing through the game, and pretty damn well at that.
The ten year game of Civilization II
This one is kind of creepy; I’m not sure it’s much of an achievement in that almost anyone can recreate it, but you have to put in a lot of time – 10 years in fact.
Civilization II was a groundbreaking strategy game that spans hundreds of in-game years, where you have to manage a tribe of people and nurture them into a thriving empire. The game officially “ends” in year 2020 where a winner is decided, but you are given the option to keep playing – as Redditor Lycerius did for ten straight years.
At the time Lycerius posted his extended game, it was the year 3998, and the world had gone to hell. Most of the area was a toxic swamp due to rampant pollution, 90 percent of the population had died of famine or been killed in the nuclear wars that had been ongoing between the remaining three nations – a war that had lasted 1700 years (and was still going).
The creepiness is that Lycerius didn’t intentionally try to create what, in his words is, “hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation,” that’s just what happened naturally. Sid Meier, the creator, actually responded saying, “There’s no way we could have tested for ten years.”