Just about everything in real life is better when it’s translated to video games. The people, places, and events within their digital realms are far more interesting than just about anything going on around you at any given moment.
Hell, even disease is more interesting. While no one but you cares to hear about that weird rash you got last Friday night out, we’re all riveted to see how disease affects our favorite games and how to deal with it (a heavy dose of bullets usually cures it right up). So without further ado, here are the most interesting game diseases of all.
Addiction — Fallout 3
To paraphrase late comedian Mitch Hedberg, addiction is the only disease that you can be yelled at for having. “Dammit, Otto, you’re an alcoholic! … Dammit, Otto, you have lupus!”
Alcoholism and several other chemical addictions are all threats if you’re not careful in the Fallout series. So why choose Fallout 3? For starters, Fallout 3 was the first game in the franchise to grace consoles … and also the first Fallout I’d ever played.
More importantly, though, addictions in Fallout 3 were much harder to shake than in previous installments. Rather than wait a few in-game days to kick whatever habit as in its PC-only predecessors, Fallout 3 made you wait 30 hours before you were cured. Not 1.25 in-game days, but real-time hours. To put that in perspective, that’s only a little less than half of the entire time I spent playing Fallout 3. The only way to speed up the detox process was to either visit a doctor or use the My First Laboratory addition at your home either in Megaton or Tenpenny Tower. Otherwise, you’re looking at some serious stat-robbing withdrawals.
FOXDIE — Metal Gear Solid series
Like so many things in the MGS saga, FOXDIE is fairly convoluted. It plays a pivotal part in MGS1, 2, and 4 in one way or another, but let’s see if we can simplify it a bit.
At the beginning of MGS1, Solid Snake is given a mission briefing by Roy Campbell and Naomi Hunter (in his skivvies, no less). During this briefing Hunter injects Snake with what he is told are nanomachines that will help him on his mission. Unbeknownst to Snake, the FOXDIE virus was also injected into him. It was an airborne pathogen that was programmed to kill the Sons of Big Boss and Kenneth Baker as Snake came into contact with them. As a twist within the twist, Hunter had reprogrammed the virus to kill Snake at a random time as well, as revenge for the death of Frank Jaeger, her “brother”. However, because of his clone-y nature, FOXDIE couldn’t kill Snake.
In MGS2, FOXDIE isn’t a biological threat, but rather a digital stand-in for the virus spread at Shadow Moses. You see, the entire Big Shell Incident, in which you play as Raiden, was to be a mirror image of the Shadow Moses Incident a few years prior. The terrorist group, the deaths of two prominent figures, Metal Gear, chatty girl in your ear that … “Snake” was even Raiden’s code name at the beginning of the mission. It was all a giant ploy to run a simulation that would improve the Patriots’ AIs. In the end, FOXDIE ended up in the GW AI, but the Patriots altered the virus so that it would erase their identities. Or something.
When MGS4 rolls around, Snake has aged rapidly. This affects the FOXDIE virus residing within him, mutating it to stop targeting specific people. Being an airborne virus, Snake is potentially becoming a giant biohazard. Conveniently enough, arms dealer Drebin manages to inject him with a newer form of the virus to counter the potentially disastrous mutation along the way. Of course, this was programmed to kill a new set of people — Patriots Big Mama, Liquid Ocelot, and Big Boss — and ultimately succeeds at doing so.
So there you go. A precision biological weapon caught within a ridiculous web of deceit. And a computer. My head hurts.
Uroboros — Resident Evil 5
When I think of the Resident Evil series, I think of the T-Virus that swept through the first couple of games. Remember, this is the virus that launched an entire genre of video games. But over the years, those games have become quite dated, and the slow, shuffling zombies of the PS1 era have lost some of their impact.
Or what about RE4’s Las Plagas? Again, I’ll have to pass, if only because, really, what’s left to write about RE4? Instead, let’s go with the co-op-bolstered HD carbon copy. Much like Las Plagas, the Uroboros in RE5 didn’t turn people into zombies, instead opting for giant mobs of murderous psychopaths whose heads turned into giant worms when you shot them.
Best of all, though, was that some of the death sequences in the game were damned entertaining to watch.
Necromorphin’ — Dead Space
As far as I know, there isn’t an exact name for the horrific transformation of people into slicey-dicey abominations in Dead Space, so I’m going with Necromorphin’. Just be glad I couldn’t think of a way to squeeze in a Power Rangers reference.
Anyway, where Resident Evil has steered away from true survival horror over the last couple of installments, Dead Space has come in and filled the void admirably (Get it? Void? Eh? Eh.)