I’m playing through Sleeping Dogs on PC. It’s a basically “Grand Theft Auto but in Hong Kong and you’re an undercover cop but don’t worry you still do awful crimes all the time.”
Here I am beating the shit out of some monks to steal flowers for a gang mamber’s future wife’s wedding.
AAAAAH HOLY SHIT THIS IS JUST LIKE BORDERLANDS 1 BUT EVERYTHING IS BETTER
- More gun variety
- Funnier writing
- Quick warping is unlocked earlier so you’re not running every-goddamned-where as much
- It’s incredibly easy to find your friends and play with them
- I’m playing as a robot ninja
- They used the word “bonerfart”
Remember how the naming of individual thugs freaked me out? How I wasn’t sure if murdering Punchin’ Steve would get me in trouble? Well, I’ve discovered yet another aspect of individually named thugs that freaks me out: Their dead bodies never go away.
As in, if they have a name, then something about them is noteworthy enough to keep them around forever. So, when I first made my way to the Thieves Guild, I killed a couple of thugs who attacked me. Now, roughly 40 hours later, their dead bodies are still there. Months have passed in-game. Every time I walk through The Ratway, there they are, just as I left them, and I kind of feel like a jerk.
To deal with that guilt, I’ve arranged their bodies so it looks like they’re cuddling (see above). Just two dead bandits, cuddling by a fire in a deserted alley. I’ve gone from thinking, “I’m a terrible monster” to ” Awww, those two dead guys are in love.” All because this alley I rarely go through has two dead guys in it and they won’t go away.
Skyrim begins with you riding into town as a prisoner sentenced to death. The other prisoners riding in that wagon make small talk, then you all get out, and you create your character during prisoner roll call. Sounds boring, right?
BUT THEN A DUDE’S HEAD GETS CHOPPED OFF. WELCOME TO SKYRIM, MOTHERFUCKER.
It’s a cheap narrative trick, but holy crap does that raise the stakes. Yeah, yeah, you’re a prisoner and your name is whatever and you’re with some other dudes you don’t know and there’s a war or something. BUT THEN ONE DUDE GETS DECAPITATED. WHO’S BORED NOW? Not you, new guy! Shit just got real.
I left a cave and emerged at this lake and thought, “Hey, this water’s pretty. Let’s make a gif.”
And so I did.
This is Thonnir.
Thonnir is the worst.
I was forced to drag him along with me after he decided that the two of us were going to kill a master vampire. Thonnir wanted to kill that master vampire because he helped turn most of Thonnir’s village into vampires. Thonnir’s dumb wife got bitten by a vampire then burned down a house and killed another dude’s wife and kid. Then his dumb wife tried to kill me, and since you can’t stop and talk things out with a vampire, I bonked her over the head with my mace and killed her. Then I took all her stuff, ‘cause hey, this dead vampire’s got stuff on her! Thanks for the new robe, ya vampire!
Anyway, Thonnir insisted we travel together, so my normal companion, Lydia, went home to wherever the hell she goes, and I quickly found out that Thonnir is the shittiest companion to ever exist. We went into that master vampire’s lair and I kept getting my ass kicked, and Thonnir could only take a few hits before he got on one knee and started crying like a little baby, so I ran away to try other quests and get stronger.
I figured when I fled the vampire’s lair that Thonnir would just stay outside it and wait for me to come back, right? I could go and get Lydia back, level up, then come back later and kill that vampire with stupid Thonnir. Only he didn’t stay at that lair. Thonnir was my new travel buddy, and there was no way to tell him to go away forever. And it got worse.
Here’s how a normal companion behaves:
- Your companion can carry your extra stuff.
- You can issue instructions to your companion (e.g. “Wait here,” “Attack that person,” etc.).
- You can hurt your companion and they won’t attack you back.
- Your companion will only die if you deliver the killing blow.
- Your companion will always find you eventually, even if you lose them.
Turns out, Thonnir’s not a full companion. His partnership with you follows a similar format, but he’s more of a throwaway character, so I’m assuming the game developers just didn’t give him the same rules.
Here’s how Thonnir the Stupid Asshole behaved:
- Thonnir wouldn’t carry my extra stuff.
- Thonnir would start attacking me if I accidentally hit him.
- Accidentally attacking Thonnir would also put a bounty on my head, so the next time I went to his hometown, I’d be chased by guards.
- Thonnir could never die. If he attacked me and I attacked him until his health hit zero, he’d fall to one knee until his health came back, then he’d start attacking me again.
- Once Thonnir decided he wanted to kill me, the only way to get him to stop was to ditch him. He’d come back eventually just like other companions would, and when he returned his aggression would be gone. Maybe it’s because he’d had time to think about how stupid he is.
- Thonnir would never go away. I could injure him and leave him for dead, but he’d just come right back.
Over the next few quests, we’d be okay for a while, but then I’d hit an enemy with a fireball and he’d be close enough to take a little splash damage, then suddenly that big doofus would start swinging at me instead of the bad guys and I’d have to take him down. Then I’d move on without him while his health recharged, then a few seconds later he’d come right back and try to kill me. He was the the Robin to my Batman, if Robin was an immortal, aggressive moron with an axe and Batman hated him.
Most NPCs (non-player characters, to those of you non-nerds) tend to say a few pre-set things every once in a while. “How ‘bout this war we’re having?” “I like/dislike my village.” “I am a farmer.” And so on. It’s a way to keep the most minor characters at least somewhat lifelike. It makes sense. If you’re designing an expansive virtual world, you don’t want to fill it with a bunch of mute laborers.
So, being a minor NPC himself, Thonnir had a few canned phrases he’d repeat at random intervals. You know what his favorite topic for idle chitchat was? His dead wife. Specifically, how hard it was going to be to raise his son without her. What a fun guy! We’d be sneaking through a fortress of bandits together, and I’d be watching for enemies or traps when he’d blurt out, “MY WIFE IS DEAD.”
To make matters worse, I killed his wife, which just makes him a passive-aggressive jerk. I get it, dude! You don’t have a wife anymore! Maybe she ran away and became a vampire because you’re whiny and you suck at fighting? You’re the worst.
Eventually we went back to that vampire’s lair and finished the job that bound us. We killed that jerk vampire at his own dinner table, actually. It was awkward. And why’d he have a dinner table? Doesn’t he eat blood to survive? Why’d he have so much cheese? I hope he was actually a vampire and not just a pale guy in a bathrobe.
Anyway, after we killed the master vampire (and/or possible computer programmer) Thonnir thanked me and went home. I reunited with Lydia, my non-shitty companion from before. I haven’t seen Thonnir since, but one time I was in his town for whatever reason and I walked past his house. I was tempted to steal everything he had and then fill his house with brooms and other garbage. He’d just be this stupid video game character with a house filled with brooms, and I’d hate him.
My favorite part of this glitch is how calm he looks.
To non-Skyrim players: That eyeball on the dude means I am sneaking and that he can see me. Because duh, of course he can, but let’s say I snuck behind him. Then I could take his stuff more easily! He’d probably have coins and potions but not boots because where are his legs???
Skyrim does an excellent job putting a narrative out there and letting you figure it out at your own pace. In one quest, I was sneaking my way through a wizard’s fortress when I found the above closet full of boots. Just a closet, in an otherwise mundane room, containing a bunch of boots arranged in neat pairs. Oh and also there’s a ton of blood splattered on the wall behind them.
That little scene tells me plenty about this wizard. What I imagined to be a generic wizard bad guy now appears to be a meticulous serial killer. He likes to steal shoes form his victims and then arrange them. And then I guess one time he cut his finger on something and bled all over this special boot closet? Maybe he’s anemic?
I have no idea why there’d be that much blood in a storage area. It’s grim, yeah, it doesn’t look like anyone was actually fighting near the boots. Dude’s probably just got an iron deficiency and he bled near his boot collection. Sure.
So now I know there’s some sickly wizard roaming the hall of this big castle, stealing shoes and bleeding uncontrollably due to a medical condition. And he’s lazy! Why didn’t he wipe up that blood? Just because he can control the elements with his mind doesn’t mean he can’t wipe up his mess, or cast a housekeeping spell. Or hire a dang maid. He could find an evil maid he could pay in human bones or something!
Anyway, I really liked this little detail. I’m glad I noticed the bloody boot closet. Skyrim hides little scenes to be investigated all over its game world, and getting rewarded for having an attention to detail is immensely satisfying.
Also, can I mention that I cast a lighting spell to make this bloody boot closet easier to see in the screenshot? I felt like a crazy person, equipping Magelight and planting my ball of light in just the right spot so the closet was well lit. All the while I kept thinking to myself, “This is a valid hobby. This is a valid hobby. Just light this wizard’s closet a little better so you can take a screenshot and blog about it.”
I’ve joined the Thieves Guild in Skyrim. Before I became a full member, a representative told me, “Come see me to get your initiation test. We’re down that dark alley everyone’s always talking about. Good luck finding us." Which is a really shitty thing for your future boss to say. That’s like the manager at some potential new job saying, "You sound like a promising candidate. Let’s sit down for an interview as soon as you’re available. Our company’s in an office building downtown. Fuck off.”
Anyway, I went down this dark alleyway (“The Ratway”) and looked for the Thieves Guild. I found a few thugs down there and they tried to kill me, but I set them on fire and bludgeoned them to death with an enchanted mace. Business as usual, really. But as I picked over their lifeless bodies, I noticed something that actually disturbed me: they had names.
Normally bad guys have generic job titles that give you an idea of how they attack and how dangerous they are. “Master Assassin.” “Bandit Thug.” One guy had some equipment on him that improved his unarmed combat abilities, and he had an actual name. (I forgot what it was, so let’s just call him “Punchin’ Steve.”)
So, maybe Punchin’ Steve was only called Punchin’ Steve because he had special punchin’ equipment on him. Or maybe - and this is what I feared most - he was one of “the gang” and I’d just murdered him. Maybe the Thieves Guild boss put him in that alleyway to prank me on my way to meet everybody, and instead of getting pantsed by Punchin’ Steve when I turned a corner, I got into a real fight with him and beat him to death.
I was afraid I’d walk into the Thieves Guild and all the thieves would say, “Surprise!” and there’d be streamers and someone would be holding a cake and then the boss would say, “Did you meet Punchin’ Steve on your way here? He’s a real cut-up!” And then I’d tell them that I’d just killed Punchin’ Steve and picked his special punchin’ gloves from his corpse, and then Punchin’ Steve’s wife would burst into tears and someone else would throw the cake and all the plastic flatware in the garbage.
"This is the thieves guild, not the murderers guild,” the boss would say as he kicked me out of their special thieves clubhouse forever. “You shouldn’t have killed him,” he’d say, shaking his head. “He had a name, you dick.”
Last night in Skyrim, I’d just gotten done selling some junk to the shopkeeper in Riverwood when a frost dragon attacked. I love the random dragon attacks; I think they promote a general sense of uneasiness in the world while giving you an exciting chance to take home some sweet loot. An otherwise boring day in Skyrim becomes an unscripted, thrilling event
Anyway, this frost dragon swopped in and lands on the roof of a building, and the guards got out their bows and and start yelling about the dragon the way they always do. I shot some fire at it, and eventually it got weak enough to where it landed on the ground and I could club it to death with my mace.
Only, the thing is, the dragon landed in front of the town inn. There were multiple guards nearby, all of whom began attacking the dragon with swords, and I think that’s usually where a chicken and a dog hang out. It was a crowded fight.
The dragon’s health was low, so I went in there with my mace and started swinging it as fast as possible to take out that dragon, but I guess in the big mess of people and animals around the dragon, I killed a townsperson’s cow. Immediately, everyone in town turned on me, and by the time I landed the finishing blow on that dragon seconds later, the guards had stabbed me to death.
Nobody kills a cow in Riverwood, apparently. Not even the guy saving everyone from the big scary dragon. Assholes.
The magical world of Skyrim tends to give shopkeepers and other idle workers brooms so they can hold something while going about their daily business.
However, sometimes they don’t put those brooms away before they start doing other things, so you get a lady stirring a stew but then also holding a broom, or a shop assistant crossing her arms and talking to you with a big ol’ broom by her head.
Broom glitches are the best.