Last time, you decided that programmable party members are better than optional grinding. I can respect that. Yeah, it’s sometimes fun to turn your brain off and grind out a bit, but there’s a lot to say for doing the work up front to get your party and builds running correctly then just watch them go. This week, I ask you to choose between one thing which speaks to my inner teenager, and one thing which speaks to my inner child. What’s better: big engines rising from the bonnet, or knocking folks over edges?
Big engines rising from the bonnet
As you might guess from the fact that I used the term “big engines rising from the bonnet,” I do not know a lot about automobiles. I believe I mean the air intake for a supercharger? Possibly, if it’s really chunky, with the body of the supercharger rising up from a hole in the bonnet (the hood, if you must) too? What I mean is: the big impressive lump of shiny machinery rising from the front of cool modded-out muscle cars and rat rods, the holes and cylinders and maybe fanbelt. It’s quite good, isn’t it.
Given the option, I will usually pick a car with this chrome building rising from the bonnet. This is not really a functional part because the car is not real, but I like the typical characteristics of cars which have these: raw untamed tamed power which will rocket me along and, probably, spin me out. I like riding that edge of risk. I like the loud, dirty noises which I would loathe from a real car. And I think this machinery reflects a quality I adore in games: the body is not enough to contain its ambition, so it must awkwardly and crudely ram through the bonnet and expose moving metal. The automotive embodiment of Eurojank.
It also think they’re cool to look at. Look at that shiny metal. Look at that whirring fanbelt. Look at those greedy intakes gulping air. Look, you might think it ostentatious, think it excessive, but frankly I think that of all car customisation beyond buying one that’s painted a colour. If you’re going to get colourful floor mats, custom hubcaps, or even a mere bumper sticker, you might as well also ram a supercharger air intake through the bonnet, it’s basically the same thing.
Knocking folks over edges
My inner child will never not laugh when I knock someone over an edge in a video game. It’s the most slapstick form of murder, the most likely to make it onto You’ve Been Framed. A quick quip from Harry Hill and cut away before we see the body hit the ground.
Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic has swords and daggers and fireballs, but I’d much rather kick someone off a precarious walkway. Knocking giant bugs into water and down holes is a foundational move of Into The Breach, and a tactical problem when certain enemies are too big or too hover-y to get knocked down. I feel a huge Into The Breach influence in Marvel’s Midnight Suns too, and how it encourages you to shove baddies down pits and over edges (although I find it far less fun for introducing odds to the equation). And it might be a niche Dark Souls strategy to kick people over edges (or cause them to bounce off your shield and tumble down) but it’s certainly a funny one.
I adore how childish a murder it is, how subversive it often feels. Games have these big magic spells or complex mechanical murder machines, and here I am just shoving someone down a hole. Bye, enjoy your trip.
But which is better?
The teenager in me wants the gleaming, grunting chrome. The child wants the slapstick. The child wins. But which way do you lean (carefully, from behind the safety of a railing, I hope)?
Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We’ll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.