Ok, yes, I have found a way to blog more about Marvel Heroes. It’s not a problem, I can stop any time that I want to.
I just don’t want to.
So, I’ve done a little team playing with people, mostly by virtue that the game sometimes links you up with people if you’re all going into the same mission at the same time, and I freely admit, I found this annoying at first. But eventually, I adapted, and started actively sticking with my partners, and it is kind of awesome that way. I begin to see the appeal of guilds, excuse me, “Super Groups” in Marvel. And a friend of mine I haven’t talked to in years found me online, and we teamed up for a bit and blew the shit out of some bad guys. Yay!
Now, I am a Diablo alumnus. I played Diablo and Diablo II (with expansion pack, Yay, Assassins!) for YEARS. I fucking loved that game. I do, in fact, have Diablo III sitting in its box on my desk, because at the time I got it, I knew I would lose my entire life to it. Yes, I sublimate unhappiness in video/computer gaming. Don’t judge me. And, well, since the Geek Husband What Rules has been working graveyards on weekends, which means neither of us can go out since he’s working and has the only car, and my ass is NOT getting out of bed at 4 AM to go pick him up, there has been nothing for me to do at night, but play Marvel Heroes until my eyes bleed.
But, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about, my computer gaming addiction. I wanted to talk about the very real pathos that the game designers have created with one particular section of the game. Two chapters, “Under Seige” and “Striking Back.”
Maybe it’s because God Loves, Man Kills was such a formative part of my comics nerd-dom, but those two chapters, I just keep going back to beat the shit out of Purifiers, because it’s satisfying. It’s satisfying as fuck. Probably in the way that mowing down Nazis is satisfying in war games.
After you finish Chapter four, culminating in beating the Kingpin (and Bullseye and Electra again), Maria Hill sends you to the Xavier Institute to help them out. Chapters five and six deal with characters and situations that originated in God Loves, Man Kills. Reverend Stryker’s Purifiers are running riot in “Mutant Town,” a section of Manhattan where the mutants have congregated, and are killing mutants and any police who try to stand up to them.
Ok, I’m just going to warn you, if you haven’t made it through Chapters Five and Six, and you don’t want to be spoiled, skip the next several paragraphs.
There’s a mission inside the first section of Chapter Five, where a group of Purifiers have cornered a group of mutants and cops in a playground, and you and the other heroes have to keep them from being burned alive, beaten to death, and torn apart by Predator X Drones.
You can not save all the mutants by yourself.
And as Purifiers get through, you see the mutants beaten to the ground, or on fire, or being savaged by the drones. It isn’t graphic, the entire game is pretty bloodless, but still.
It was honest to gods traumatic to me to be fighting as hard as I could, and not be able to hold back all the Purifiers on my own. I didn’t cry, but I had to get up and walk away for a bit, take some deep breaths.
If there are at least two of you, you can save most of the them. Three or more and you’re gold.
Later, after you’ve fought your way through two Purifier infested neighborhoods, and the Purifier infested sewers, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across the former Morlocks camp, complete with dead Morlocks lying on the ground, you get to the “Church of Purification” in the old trainyard, where, after fighting through hordes of Purifiers, you battle Juggernaut who has signed on with them.
Well, technically he isn’t a mutant, and he hates his brother, so OK.
THEN, in Chapter Six, you get to go to the Purifiers’ training camp and compound in upstate New York. Which, is where you find out that they hunt captured mutants for sport, brag about killing mutants, and are, in general, complete shitheads. They also keep coming no matter how many you take out.
I spend a lot of time there.
During Chapter Six, you get to rescue young mutants who are being hunted, as mini missions. And while it IS possible to save them by yourself, it’s a challenge, and easier if there are more of you. You also get to blow up Sentinels, which seem for the most part to be made of balsa wood and crepe paper, but that’s another post.
After you fight your way through the hordes of maddened Purifiers, who say things as they die like, “I’ve been led astray!” deathbed confession, great, or “I must suffer for my cause!” (Good), you get to the final part. WHERE YOU HAVE TO FUCKING RESCUE REVEREND STRYKER FROM MAGNETO!
I was so angry I yelled, and scared the fuck out of several cats, and at least two room-mates.
I did it, but I wasn’t happy about it.
I think I muttered under my breath the entire time. It also doesn’t help that Magneto is really fucking hard to beat. Cue more muttering.
I’m not kidding, you guys. I was legitimately pissed. Because you cannot advance in the game until you rescue that bigoted piece of shit from Magneto.
Resentment. I haz it.
Ok, spoilers over.
I think I know why this really resonates with me, as you can see from the fact that I am still ‘all caps’ mad about that last part. The first is, I know that those people really exist out there. Bigoted shitheads forming militias, WANTING to shoot people they don’t like? That isn’t fiction. We have those. In the really real world. And a lot of my friends, and in some ways myself, are the people that they would like to hunt, maim, torture and kill, because we look different or think different.
I have had friends who, once their parents found out they were gay, kicked them out of the house. Or on a couple of occasions, beat them. Bloody. In one case, a neighbor had to run my friend’s own father off so that his Dad didn’t kill him. His own fucking son. The neighbor guarded my friend until the ambulance came for him, and once he was healed enough to leave the hospital, he hitch-hiked to Seattle and never looked back.
In the case of queer girls and women, Google “corrective rape.” I’ll wait.
People of Color get jumped, beaten, raped and murdered for being PoC, a lot.
Trans people, particularly trans women, are attacked, beaten, raped and killed, and frequently go to prison if they fight back and kill their attackers. This happens with disturbing frequency.
This shit really god damned happens, in America, in this day and age, and for the most part these assholes get away with it. Either they’re never caught, people are afraid to testify, or, unless the Federal Government steps in, they serve the minimum IF they face jail time at all. *cough* Trayvon Martin’s murder *cough*
On the one hand, I applaud the Marvel Heroes team for not flinching when it comes to the bigotry and hatred. And for letting me lazer the fuck out of bigoted assholes.
On the other, damn it, guys, a little warning would have been nice, so that I didn’t spend five minutes staring at my computer screen in open mouthed horror when I realized that no matter how fast I hit the buttons, I could not save those kids by myself.
I think this is the most swearing I’ve had in a post in a long time.
So, yes, I think they’ve achieved pathos or something akin to it. (Thankfully the mutant kids don’t scream or cry out when you’re failing, or I probably would have been a mess. It’s hard enough with the comments Nightcrawler makes if he takes too much damage. “Oh! The pain! Must I suffer so for my sins!”)
If you like the blog or the podcast, or want to pledge to help fund the therapy this game is going to engender, please, please, please donate to keep us going. Donations go to pay for the podcast hosting and website domain, primarily.
Oh, and Honey Badger’s first two songs are available for download here, for free or pay what you want. We’re also part of a larger compilation to benefit a local venue, with a song written by yours truly. Check it out (we’re track 16). The next Honey Badger show is May 2nd at the Kraken, in celebration of the Geek Husband What Rules’s and my 20th anniversary.