It’s the end of December, and that means the greatest time of the year is upon us. No, not Christmas. The annual Steam Holiday Sale! You waited all year to get those $60 games for $15 or less, and your patience has been rewarded.
In my first novel, Angel Falls, I reimagine Hell as a fairly progressive place, devoid of fire & brimstone and run by a lazy Satan who just wants to drink and eat pancakes. But what if he started taking his job seriously? Sure, an eternity of bamboo shoots under the fingernails and wading in a chin-deep urine pool might have scared people a few hundred years ago, but we’re the generation that made Saw and A Serbian Film. Send a kid to Hell now and she’s apt to spend her days taking selfies in front of the eternally tormented. No, we need something more diabolical.
Video games. Specifically, simulators.
Here’s a list of 5 of the most diabolical games out there. Best of all, you don’t have to wait until you arrive in Hell to experience them.
Here we go, worst to first:
5. Train Simulator 2014
I mean… I kind of feel like I don’t need to say anything after that title, right? That this game exists in the age of the internet is a testimony that there really is a shoe for every foot. Hunt aliens? Topple an empire? Win the Super Bowl? NO! I want to drive a train! And don’t give me that old-gen single train option. I demand excitement. One day, I’ll be a subway engineer, and the next a freight hauler! Hold on, the room is spinning from all the excitement.
I imagine if Satan wanted to drive you batty, this would be it. A fake train. All day. Every day. Also, the fact that this title has a year attached to it means they intend to keep this…ahem…train a-rollin’. Oh, what? This game is too good for a pun?
4. Farming Simulator 14
Look at that face. The thousand-yard stare of a man forced into a pair of overalls and chained to a tractor until he has Stockholm Syndrome. I have no idea if this is made from the same geniuses over in train land, but… damn. This is literally a game where you watch grass grow. Unless they add a zombie mod where you can mow them down with your combine and then hole up in your barn with only a shotgun and a trusty cow, this one looks like sheer torture.
It’s been called the greatest five minute game ever made. Some call it the perfection of minimalism. I call it an 8-bit horror show. You’re a little block man. You have to walk to the right. You see some things along the way. You come to the end of your journey. You die. It’s a life simulator, distilled to pixels. NOTHING HAPPENS. YOU DIE. It’s horrible because it’s true, and I have a feeling when you get to Hell, you’ll be forced o relive your life in this same 8-bit terrorshow, only without the alcohol and masturbation to ease the journey.
2. Team Fortress 2
(when playing against an army of slack-jawed prepubescent morons)
TF2 is my favorite game. It is, without a doubt, the greatest war-themed hat simulator of all time. (See? I don’t hate every simulator game.) The design aesthetic of the game is incredible. The subtle (and not-so-subtle) humor is excellent. There are few things more enjoyable than firing up The Spy’s invisibility watch and backstabbing a line of your enemies, or planting explosives as the one-eyed Demoman and showering in the debris and guts of the enemy.
ON THE OTHER HAND…
It’s a multiplayer only game. You have to join a server and you have to play with other people. We all know that if you looked in the dictionary under “Other People,” the definition would be “Hell.” It would if you had a dictionary that defined pairs of words. Anyway, sometimes you get lucky and everyone focuses on the job at hand, killin’ and ‘splodin’. Most of the time, you’ll be forced to deal with a thirteen year old who treats it like an open mic session, who thinks that N-Bombs and homophobic taunts are the pinnacle of comedy. Admittedly, finding and targeting these people repeatedly until they rage quit brings a smug sense of satisfaction. But in Hell, you’ll be forced to work with them forever, unable to escape their horrible, mumbling, acne-filled voices. Yeah, even their voices have acne.
If you play TF2 and want to help me root out this scourge, I’m on there as Spacemonkey1.
- The Stanley Parable
Oh, this list was never intended to be topped by a bad game, no. I wouldn’t do that to you. If you haven’t experienced The Stanley Parable yet, well… I don’t know what to tell you. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever played. And it is Hellish in all of the best ways. You begin as a cubicle dweller, doomed to an eternity at your keyboard, until the day something unusual happens. You have a narrator helping to guide you along the way, telling you everything you’re doing and everything you’re going to do. The fun begins when you decide to stop listening to him, which you can do at any moment in the game to change the outcome. There’s still time to pick this up before Christmas! GO!
That’s what I think Hell will look like for gamers. Got anything to say about it? Find me on Twitter @monkeywright to tell me how wrong I am, or click recommend to share this little slice of hell.
Thanks for reading! What are you still doing here? There’s a SALE happening!
Angel Falls is published by Perfect Edge books. It’s available in print and ebook and nook and stuff.