by David Christopher Bell
Sure, Quidditch looks like a whole bunch of fun until you take into account the fact that you’re probably not very good at it. Not to mention how exhausting it must be. There’s a reason you barely see anyone over 20 on a broom in those films.
So what’s a lazy person to do in these fictional universes? Luckily there are options, some of which are arguably cooler than trying to balance on some stupid piece of custodial equipment.
8. Wizard Chess In Harry Potter
It’s the perfect combination of strategy, patience, and violence. Wizard Chess is a lot like regular chess only without the pesky burden of having to move your arms. Instead, all you have to do is say where you want your piece to move and the board does the work for you. Then there is the added bonus of getting to see the ensuing fatality when your piece takes an opponent’s, making the victory even more sweet.
I wonder what kind of killing blows you can have your little dudes do – maybe it’s even customizable. If that were the case, personally I would make it piledrivers all around for my little knights and pawns. Nothing would class up chess more than watching a little red bishop deliver The People’s Elbow as the winning move.
7. Dejarik In Star Wars
Dejarik is that little hologram game that R2-D2 and Chewbacca were playing on the Falcon in A New Hope. Frankly – it seems like a rather stupid game. You have like 20 spaces on a tiny circular board with very little options for strategy, not to mention that your pieces appear to be clunky-looking monsters. There’s just nothing elegant about it, and it can’t possibly take a while to play. It’s like chess for drunk people… which I guess is checkers. It’s the checkers of space.
Of course, like all things Star Wars you can find an overly detailed explanation on the internet of how the game supposedly works. Go right ahead and try reading that without feeling an intense sense of emptiness inside by the time you reach the end. That all being said – it still looks pretty fun to play, if only as something to idly do while traveling through the galaxy. Hell it’s either that or look out the window – and space probably gets really boring after a while.
6. Virtual Sex In Demolition Man
Whenever someone makes a list like this they seem to completely forget this one. While technically never presented in the film with a name or even as a game per se – you bet your ass people use it like one. I don’t care how happy-go-lucky this future world is; if there was a device that let you have consequence-free sex with anyone without ever having to touch them, it would be the best party game ever invented. I know, I know – it’s not as great as the real thing – but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. It’s not a replacement for sex, just a great way to pass the time when you’re tired from all the real sex.
The best part is the visuals – if Ron Jeremy had a seizure, that’s what would play in his head. Seriously, are they having sex at a rave in the 80s? If so, judging by the music someone is also getting it on atop a synth board somewhere in the background. That’s really what makes this device awesome – it’s not just a sex simulator; it’s a really freaky sex simulator. Like you’re doing it in a David Lynch film or something.
5. Game Pods in eXistenZ
Freaking Cronenberg. Technically it’s called tranCendenZ in the movie, since eXistenZ is actually just a fake game within a real game that might also be a fake game that might be made up by the eXistenZ game. Really when you think about it, it’s all pretty shitty game-wise. At no point does it seem like the players are having a lick of fun, which makes you wonder what the appeal is in the first place. “Hey! You gotta check out this new game system I bought! There’s weird organic guns that you hardly get to use and it makes you completely question your reality to the point of insanity!” Seriously – it would be one thing if you were having car chases and gun fights every other minute but mostly they just sit around at a garage or some ski lodge. What kind of game is that?
Not to mention that out of the 20 or so people revealed to be plugged into the game, only two of them are even present for the whole thing – everyone else were just side characters! Imagine buying a game just to be a waiter for five minutes before dying – it would be like if Call Of Duty was named cAll oF duTy and respawn lasted six hours. I know this was supposed to be a list of awesome games, but screw that shit.
4. The Running Man Home Version
There is literally no mention in this film about how this game works, and it’s that mystery that makes this so damn awesome. Clearly no matter what’s in that ridiculously generic-looking box it has to be the coolest game ever when it exists in a future where prisoners are shot down an alpine slide to be hunted by opera-singing Lite-brite/human hybrids and sumo Hockey players. You just can’t go wrong.
My guess is that a couple players get to be the runners while the rest are the stalkers on some ridiculous Fireball Island type of board. Remember that game? Freaking fireballs and bridges and stuff – that’s how The Running Man Home Version must look – only you get to actually hunt down and kill your friends. With any luck there’s even some kind of electronic announcement device like in Mall Madness, which was hands down the most badass game of the late 80s/early 90s.
Speaking of the 90s… Edward Furlong and a mullet-hawked character called The Trickster is pretty much as 90s as you can get. The film follows a horror movie geek who gets a new computer game that simulates murdering someone in their own home – basically what every churchgoing mother assumes video games are like. Turns out that in this game the murders actually happen in real life – and our hero must keep moving up the levels killing random people around town in order to win or something.
What makes it all so wonderful is the movie’s twist, which reveals that the entire time our main character has been reluctantly killing people is all still the game – meaning that this game managed to freaking invade this kid’s mind and basically make him think that he was killing people for real under the pressure of a weird punk rock apparition. That’s an awesome freaking game. That’s what games should be. The whole experience of believing that you’ve committed actual murders, followed by being murdered yourself, followed by waking up finding out that you’re going to be okay is enough to give Furlong the courage to ask out a crush of his – it literally makes him a better person.
2. The Sparring Program In The Matrix
Neo is the laziest film hero ever; he spends most of this movie just sitting there in that cushy neck-spike chair.
What’s great about the Matrix’s sparring and training programs is that it’s basically GameShark for real life, only better. There’s no need to punch in elaborate codes or anything like that – you just… know stuff. Wanna play poker better? Wanna learn how to ride a unicycle? How about beating people up while riding a unicycle? Just ask and some operator will import that mumbo jumbo right in your freaking brain! There’s a whole room just for elaborate guns too! And the best part is that in the training programs you don’t have to die!
When Neo jumps to his death the road just goes all bouncy – how cool is that? I’d be jumping off buildings for hours just for the hell of it! Imagine having a firefight with your friends on the tops of buildings! Hell – get creative – firefights with friends on tops of buildings, only with the gravity turned down way low. Perhaps you could all dress like clowns and set everything to look like 1930s New York. The possibilities are endless and they spend all their time learning smelly kung fu and hotwiring motorcycles. What a waste.
1. Robot Boxing In Real Steel
Giant robots win every time.
So this isn’t exclusively a “sit down game” considering that you can set to your robot to shadow’mode where it will literally copy every movement you make, however some of the robots actually have features where you can see what they see and control them remotely from the comfort of a chair. This is where the opportunity for abuse arises, because while these robots are clearly designed for combat they probably are also really good at things like moving boxes and going out to get beer. Just imagine the last time you had to bring a couch up a flight of stairs… now imagine that with a giant robot – much better, right?
Suddenly grocery shopping is not only a cinch, but actually fun as you send your robot bounding down the isles of Stop & Shop to get hot sauce and ramen noodles. Lord knows walking isn’t an issue anymore because you can just have the big guy carry you around the house. Frankly the people in this film are really underutilizing these robots; fighting is great and all, but it’s actually the least productive thing you can do with these things. That being said – Robot Olympics would be an awesome watch.