Unspoken Hells Of Living In Open-World Video Games

As hard as open-world video games try to emulate real life, creating a game engine that perfectly replicates the exact limits and limitlessness of the real world is virtually impossible. Instead, we get a hellish, lopsided approximation of life. What would you do if you found yourself Captain N'ed into an open-world game? Aside from the ever-present perils of grues and malevolent overlords, the challenge of basic survival looms. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Here are some of the worst parts of living a virtual life.

Murder for the money

In most cases, heroes and townsfolk don't earn money from performing mundane, job-like tasks, unless you get stuck in Farmville or Paperwork Simulator. In the virtual open world, your wealth comes from two main sources: you either rob conveniently-placed treasure chests, or you kill things. While there's some terrible reality to clobbering someone with a schoolbus and stealing their wallet, it makes slightly less sense that you'd slay a boar and it would drop gold pieces and gems ... but sometimes that's your only choice. Murdering innocent animals for whatever pocket change they have matted into their fur is the only way you can afford that sweet wooden shield. You can repent later.

Everyone needs something

Generally, you can only advance through the virtual world by talking to filthy strangers, which is a nightmare for anyone with social anxiety. If you strike up a conversation with someone, chances are they'll want you to perform some ridiculous task, whether it's just bringing them an onion from a shop across the village, or rescuing their sister from a corrupt foreign government. The typical open world is a collection of helpless, needy idiots, but there's no way around it. Once in a while, a local bumpkin will offer up some esoteric information that will lead you towards your real goal, but the rest can go jump into a fire, for all you care.

An unending housing crisis

These games might have more inns, hotels, and camps than you can count, but unless you find yourself in a large city, those local towns sure have a population crisis. There aren't nearly enough rustic shacks to contain the locals. It's possible that they don't actually need homes, since they never actually need to sleep at any point during their 24-hour aimless wandering cycle. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to find yourself in a game with a day/night cycle, but even then, do you really feel tired? Is video-game-you now a terminal, restless insomniac? Is that why only a few people seem to have houses in this godforsaken forest village that never sleeps?

The glass ceiling

For most people, employment is a means to an end, but in an open world game, it is the end. There's no retirement or advancement, and there are no weekends. You don't suddenly find yourself in the position of Potion Shop Owner, even after 30 years of loyal service to the Head Magician in Charge. He's tireless and immortal, just like all of the local royalty, farmers, and even the chickens. What are your other choices, anyhow? Someone else has already taken the role of local hero, and it's better than being a wandering, purposeless idiot. Get back to mixing those potions, and try not to think about poisoning your boss.

Death comes only for you

Unless your acquaintances are scripted to die — and they're usually not — you're the only non-evil being in this entire universe who can die. Death has one assignment, and it's named You. Should one of your vital companions die, their whole world will reset like nothing ever happened. They'll never have to remember the cold hand of the Grim Reaper closing around their windpipe ... but you will. You remember their every death, and every time you've died as well. It haunts you at night, and you are the only person in the universe with this terrible feeling. You're going to have to kill a whole lot of oxen to pay for that therapy bill, if you can even find a psychiatrist, and not yet another innkeep, pirate, arms dealer, or bartender.

Dietary restrictions

Your open world will never have the rich dietary options that the real world has. On the one hand, you'll never get fat. On the other, you might get stuck with three options: chicken leg, red potion, and blue potion. It's possible that you've become stuck in a Japanese game — in which case, your food options may be pretty amazing — but generally, programmers are more focused on polygons than your palate. Whether or not you can actually taste these foods is up for debate, but we know that eating food will cure just about any injury. Had all of your skin ripped off in an explosion? Doctor Video Games prescribes one dogburger. So much better than six months of intense physical therapy.

The jerk parade

Depending on the kind of open world you find yourself in, you may be subject to The Voices. Representing all ages and genders, the voices criticize every action that you take, tell you what to do, and more often than one would like, shout violent epithets about your mother. Once you're inside the game, it's unlikely that you'll actually be able to turn off teamspeak, so your best option is to invest in a good set of earplugs, at the cost of five hundred warthog hides. Or one dead pedestrian.

Your universe ends for budgetary reasons

All said, your open world has a much shorter shelf life than the real world. It's hard enough to struggle against the existential toll of the real world, knowing that you'll be dead at any moment and how, at the very best, you probably have like sixty short years left. In the open world, your server may be shut off at any time, and not because of anything you've done. When the real world runs out of money, you're toast. You simply cease to exist because there aren't enough people interested in your world anymore, and a new world is scheduled to take your place. Not even slaying the Black Dragon of the North Hills can stop that.