It’s theme week at SB Nation, and this time we’re headed for the virtual world: video games. Over the course of the week, Pats Pulpit and the other blogs in the network are devoted to the best and the bizarre when it comes to gaming. We’ll continue today by taking a look at how some real elite bad guys are better at their jobs than Roger Goodell, who is somehow both evil and could f*ck up toast at the same time.
Ever since he came on the scene, Roger Goodell isn’t quite a boss; the Commish tends to pop up more like a miniboss that attacks out of nowhere time and time again when you think you’re in the clear and makes you waste your hard-earned health packs and ammo before he scurries off again, not to be seen until the next boss fight.
So in other words, the Nemesis in Resident Evil 3.
It’s certainly not for lack of trying, though. He’s done his worst to make life absolutely miserable for the New England Patriots and obliterate the dynasty to smoldering rubble. Goodell’s just not very good at it.
“It” meaning being an evil mastermind, that is. You either got that gene or you don’t. And for as many times as our friend Roger has tried to hatch his evil plans and unleash his minions against Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the most successful football team of this century, the Patriots have always bounced back from the league’s ham-fisted schemes, and most of the time, they’re arguably better for it.
Well, maybe those stolen picks would’ve come in handy, but at the end of the day, there’s more Lombardis in the Hall now than there were earlier this decade, so, we play the game to beat the game, right?
In that spirit, let’s check out a few of the most evil bad guys in the history of gaming that could really show Roger how being a maniacal, diabolical mastermind is done.
WARNING: heavy spoilers for all these games follow, but fortunately for you, reader, your button-mashing author is Julian Edelman’s age and therefore these are all old enough that you could’ve played the original versions and most of the remasters already.
Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat II/III)
If you can’t beat ‘em, go double or nothing, right?
To get an actual chance at beating the Earthrealm fighters like Raiden and Liu Kang and take over their world, Shao Kahn goes for the classic approach of “if you win, you get to keep what you have, and if I win, I get what you have” while simultaneously stacking the deck by making the Earthrealm gang travel to the away-stadium of the Outworld, where Shao Kahn has a razor-sharp (literally, in many cases) home-field advantage. Oh, and if team Earthrealm pulls off the upset victory? Congratulations, then Kahn makes you fight him anyway. And then in MKIII when Kahn’s tired of taking L’s, he ends up taking over Earth anyway and trying to kill everyone that beat him already.
Key word being “trying”.
The Government/the G-Man (Half-Life)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a perfectly innocent situation goes completely haywire, the government scrambles to cover it up at all costs and assassinate anyone that could prove they were a part of it all, and then somehow everything gets even worse when it comes out someone’s pulling their strings?
That’s where Gordon Freeman finds himself after an inter-dimensional physics experiment blows up in his face and unleashes massive swarms of horrifying alien monsters into his science facility, and after he fights through that, then he finds out the Marines are here! One minor detail: they’re out to kill the aliens AND Gordon, cause, you know, can’t have any Fox Mulder types running around telling everyone what they know about aliens.
And then just when Freeman thinks he’s finally closed the portal, it turns out....the G-Man’s been watching him through all this mess the whole time, like it’s your personal, extremely-messed-up Scouting Combine, while colluding with the aliens, and has a not-so-tantalizing offer: join us or die.
Now that’s a born villain.
There are two types of people in this world: the people that remember having to pick their jaw up off the floor after the twist in the original Bioshock, and people that prefer their video game plots to be “the hedgehog has a fox friend this time”.
For the whole first two-thirds of the game, Atlas is the man on your radio guiding you through the monster-riddled underwater city you somehow crashed into in the first scene of the game; he’s giving you advice and explaining WTF is going on, all the while egging you towards killing the guy that made Rapture this nightmare dystopia. And then.....turns out this Atlas guy that’s had your back the whole time is actually one and the same as the guy that created both you and the city AND engineered this whole situation you’re in, all the while using you to fight his own battles along the way.
And then of course, he can’t help but cheat one last time, downing a big gulp’s worth of the superpower potion that gives everyone in Rapture insane powers to try and take you down. The boss fight isn’t even really that hard, but the satisfaction of putting this treacherous, lying, triple-crossing inhuman scumsucking weasel in the ground? Priceless.
Ganondorf (Zelda series)
Tell me this part didn’t make a much-younger you go “Well.....f*ck”.
What do G and ol’ Roger have in common, though? The lust for power, whether it’s the Tri-Force or, you know, Article 46, whichever floats your boat.
Conquering Hyrule is always the game plan, and dude does not give a single rip what he has to do to do it. Kidnapping Zelda? Posing as someone else while everyone thought you were trapped in the Dark World? Making a literal beast of yourself to win at all costs? Spider guardians and all sorts of other gnarly monsters? All in a day’s work.
All that’s no match for a good Master Sword at your side though, kid.
Calypso (Twisted Metal)
“I am Calypso, and I thank you for playing Twisted Metal!”
Win the Twisted Metal tournament, get any wish your brain can conjure up, compliments of Calypso. It’s that simple.
Except when you’re dealing with Calypso, and then it’s just an invitation to battle through the entire thing and then get double-crossed anyway. That wish you had? You’d get it. Just in some terrifyingly backwards way that’d usually end up in your demise anyways. Lose the tournament and you die, win the tournament and you.....die in a more creative and ironic fashion. Gotta love the 90s.
Gary (Pokemon Red/Blue)
Actually, this may be the most dead-on comparison for Roger Goodell ever: a pretentious douche that has the deck perpetually stacked in his favor from Day 1, right when he gets the Pokemon that’s naturally stronger than yours, and then at the end of the day, still comes up with loss after loss against you when it counts. Even when Gary’s finally the best trainer in the champion’s round with an absolutely loaded roster, he still goes down to you, the underdog, the people’s champ.
Enjoy your weekend and stay defending that wall, everyone.