X Problems In Games That Could Have Been Solved With A Simple Conversation

Why do so many video game stories hinge upon either poor communication on the cast's part or no communication at all? Greek tragedies did it to death literal millennia ago, and it's back with a vengeance in video games (and 1990s romantic comedy movies). Too many times, a little chitter-chatter would have gone a long, long way toward resolving a situation before things got out of hand.

Instead, the inhabitants of these fictional gaming worlds must deal with unnecessary consequences. You, as the player, must endure a gauntlet of convenience because the narrative pieces fell just so. It's unfair. It's outrageous. And, my friends, it is time for someone to do something about it. There will be spoilers.

By the power invested in me, here is a comprehensive list of highly unfortunate video game conversational misfires. Yes, I do this for a living.

10 Pokemon Black & White: N's Behavior is Problematic

In Pokemon Black & White, N is a troubled adolescent with a tragic backstory who serves as Team Plasma's iconic pseudo-savior and tours Unova grimly during his off-hours. Most folks in the world of Pokemon are either happy or some reasonable approximation therein. N, who will evidently stroll up to just about anybody to inform them that the world is a cruel and unjust place, sticks out like a green bean in a sweet potato casserole.

This guy even rides a Ferris wheel all on his lonesome. You can't tell me the ride operator doesn't see N staring off into the stars all broken-hearted like a teen heartthrob actor whose terrible show on The CW just got canceled for the 2011-12 television season. Nurse Joy and her Chansey should have detected something's amiss with N from a mile away. Officer Jenny could have intervened. N would be forced to fess up about Ghetsis' plans. Crisis averted.

9 Mass Effect: Saren is a Bad Dude

Saren is a bad dude, but mostly because he was corrupted by the Reaper called Sovereign and indoctrinated into doing its bidding. He's kind of a bad dude, to a point, even before that. But mostly, it's Sovereign's fault. Ish. By maximizing Mass Effect's Paragon/Renegade conversation system, Shepard can eventually get Saren to admit he's being used to further the Reapers' aims. Unfortunately, it can only occur at the tail end of the game, when an invasion is already in progress.

Shepard attempts to call Saren out on his bad dude behavior much earlier, but he lacks the evidence to convince the Council. All Shepard really needed, let's be honest here, is a massive injection of Paragon or Renegade points. Saren would then waggle his claws all over his face, scratch himself profusely, and admit his sins roughly 73 minutes into the game. The end.

8 Sonic 3 & Knuckles: Robotnik is Not Your Friend

At the beginning of video game historical epic Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic arrives at Angel Island with all the Chaos Emeralds stuffed up his we're-not-sure-actually only for Knuckles to smash into him, scattering the Emeralds. Idris Elba's future Oscar-worthy character then scoops them all up, laughs directly at the camera, and leaves.

This is, of course, terribly mean. But the thing is, Knuckles is convinced Robotnik is good and Sonic is, well, not. One would think a simple glance at Robotnik would convince him otherwise, but he's a red echidna, give him a break. Anyway, if Sonic opened his mouth for, like, three seconds? "Hey, actually I'm good and Robotnik is bad." Eight words, hedgehog. Eight simple words.

7 Tetris: Me Telling the CPU to Stop Being Good

I am terrible at Tetris. I wish I was good at Tetris. If I could maybe get the CPU's WhatsApp or something, slide into its DMs, and beg it to go easy on me, this most imperative of video game problems would be resolved forever. Plus, it would be proof that humans and machines can coexist, and that pretty much solves a hundred other video game plots simultaneously. You're welcome.

6 Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Cloud and Aerith, Also Aerith and Cloud

In hit Japanese role-playing game sensation Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it becomes increasingly clear as the story continues that Aerith Gainsborough knows a lot more about what is happening than she's willing to let on, even to Cloud Strife. And it just so happens that, on several occasions, it is crystal clear that Cloud knows stuff he won't share with anyone, either, not even to Aerith.

Cloud, stop letting Aerith's sentences trail off just when she's about to tell us what in blazes is going on with Remake's plot changes. Aerith, don't accept Cloud's noncommittal grunts for an answer. Both of you, for the love of Cosmo Canyon Cocktails, have an actual conversation.

5 Super Mario Bros: Secret Service

It's old hat, I realize. "Why do they keep letting Peach get kidnapped?" Look, I'm going to do it. I'm going to make this her problem, not his. It's not so much in defense of the terrible lizard king as an indictment of the most conversationally conservative princess in video game canon.

All Peach needs to do is suck it up, buttercup, and formally request a Secret Service unit comprised of no fewer than 20 black-clad Toads with pistols hidden in their hats ready for any dastardly incident Bowser ever hopes to cause. Yes, I said caps. Did you know Toad's head is a hat? Nintendo literally insists otherwise, but if Nintendo asked you to jump off a bridge, what would you do, you know?

4 Final Fantasy 6: Don't Suplex Me, Bro

This isn't so much a problem the player must face as an issue that has plagued Phantom Train ever since 1994. Phantom Train, to be clear, is a boss battle fairly early in Square Enix's sensational Final Fantasy 6. It's really cool! It ferries the souls of the dead to their final destination! That's cool. That's the sort of hip, awesome thing that warrants respect and probably at least one iffy screamo album in its honor.

Instead, the whole world knows Phantom Train as a meme because it's possible to have Sabin, a brawly party member, literally suplex it to death. Sabin suplexes the entire train. It's unreal. And frankly, it's not cool. It's not hip, nor awesome. It completely destroys Phantom Train's rad reputation. What needed to happen here? Phantom Train could have — nay, should have — kindly explained that no matter what happens when they come into conflict, it would prefer not to be suplexed, thus transforming into a global JRPG joke for the ages.

3 The Elder Scrolls Blades: So Uh, Is It Always Like This?

The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a free-to-play mobile spinoff of Bethesda's jaw-droppingly popular series about talking dragons and strangely smart ill-fated emperors. Players are tasked with doing a bunch of stuff in service of rebuilding their ruined town. But the stuff gets increasingly tedious, the temptation toward purchasing microtransactions to speed things up is ever-looming, and frankly, I'm not convinced the town is worth all the fuss.

If the player character could contact Todd Howard, host some sort of free-to-play mobile spinoff luncheon, and get Howard to admit the grind only increases with time, the character could then decide to leave what's left of their town to the vultures and go do something else entirely.

2 Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire: Team Magma and Team Aqua

In Ruby & Sapphire, as well as their enhanced version Emerald and eventual sixth-generation remakes, a pair of evil teams inhabit Hoenn. Team Magma's ultimate goal is to add more land to the planet at the expense of ocean. Team Aqua, on the other hand, wants to add more ocean by destroying some land.

A literal, actual elementary school student could have told them why their plans were dumb. Goodness' sake.

1 Metal Gear Solid 5: That Scene

Dear god, would one of you please say something already.

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