Above all other forms of media, video games are the best when it comes to escapism. For a short time, they let you trade your crappy apartment and boring job for an ass-kicking, princess-saving lifestyle. But what about those whose actual profession is ass-kicking and princess-saving? Don’t they deserve some escapism? Thankfully, for this mostly imaginary group of people I just made up for the sake of this article, there are a few select games that forgo excitement and adventure for the humdrum. The top 5 most boring activities in games are:
5) Hide & Seek
The earliest game to desecrate this cherished childhood institution is Vidtec’s Sneak’n Peek, for the Atari 2600. Despite sounding like a perverted peeping tom simulator, Sneak’n Peek allowed friendless children to play Hide & Seek against a completely nonjudgemental computer controlled playmate in four different rooms with a staggering total of 20 different hiding spots. If you’ve ever wondered how to gift wrap years of baggage and therapy, just toss a bow on this gem, put it under the Christmas tree, and wait for the tears.
If you prefer a creepier version of Hide & Seek, check out Realtime Associates’ cleverly titled Barney’s Hide & Seek Game for the Sega Genesis. Players control the presumptuous dinosaur as they blow kisses and hug children to which they profess their love. Ironically, even though the game is literally impossible to lose, the feeling one gets after playing it is clearly the opposite of “winner”.
Sick of being a well rested, carefree individual with too much leisure time? Why not get away from it all with the simulated back-breaking, life-shortening stress that comes with farm life? Now, even city-folk can gleefully work their fingers to the bone only to have their entire life’s work ruined by global warming.
Most likely because of their addictive resource management structures, the Farming Simulator series for PC has a amassed a fanbase rabidly devoted to virtual manual labor. Personally, just the thought of someone neglecting their real life responsibilities to instead perform hours of video games chores makes me smile.
Probably the most the popular of this genre would have to be Nintendo’s Cooking Mama series. Since 2006, Mama and her eerily dead eyes have been delightfully deceiving both children and adults into thinking they can slice, shred and deep fry with a simple waggle. Just be careful when bringing one of Mama’s pupils into your kitchen as most butcher knives don’t come equipped with wrist straps.
Seizing the chance to display both their video game ignorance and inability to understand effective advertising, PETA made their own cooking game in 2008. Thinly veiled under the guise of protesting animal cruelty, Cooking Momma, The Unauthorized PETA Edition: Momma Kills Animals is literally just a torture simulator, rewarding players based on how sadistically brutal they can be while preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Did you stir those ingredients “meaner than Mama”? You win, you heartless bastard.
Konami’s Walk It Out! (yes, there is an actual exclamation point in the title) for the Nintendo Wii manages to somehow recreate the adrenaline-fueled insanity that comes with a casual mosey. After building their own town, players can use the Wii Remote, Wii Balance Board, or DDR Controller, to do nothing more than gently saunter through their creation. The struggle Nintendo’s PR went through to describe the game as anything more than a yawnfest is apparent in their multiple uses of the phrase “groovin’ your way to a healthier you” in the game’s description on nintendo.com.
For those who hate walking without occasionally picking up poop, there’s Virtual Dog Walking. Available only in Japanese Arcades, the game has players to walk on a treadmill while holding a leash. As dull as it sounds, players have reported that the game is actually quite difficult. If players fail to maintain a specific walking pace or unsuccessfully avoid bully dogs and seemingly drunk motorists, Fido bites the big one!
1) Mowing the Lawn
Anyone who grew up in an even slightly suburban area probably spent a good percentage of their childhood slaving away under the hellishly brutal summer sun while mowing. Warthog Games unsuccessfully attempted to inject some Tony Hawk style attitude into this seasonal tradition of child labor with Mamma Can I Mow the Lawn, which let players zip around neighborhoods on a crazy riding mower, earning money and avoiding from lawn gnomes. Initially designed for the PlayStation 2 and moved to the Gizmondo handheld system, the game never saw the light of day as the developer was purchased by Tiger shortly before it declared bankruptcy in 2006.
One landscaping game that did somehow make it to completion was the DSi Ware title, 1950s Lawn Mower Kids, in which players used the stylus to guide three different children as they mowed various obstacle filled lawns for their boss, Mr. Mowman. It’s apparent that even the developers at Zordix lacked confidence in the game as shortly after playfully hinting at some era-appropriate light-hearted child abuse, the trailer sheepishly declares it to be only “one of the craziest 1950s themed lawn mowing games to date”. Are there other current 1950s themed lawn mowing games crazier than this one? If not, one will almost definitely come along soon, right?
Do you know of any other completely mundane activities that were made into video games? Is there any specific activity you’d love to see made into a game? Let us know in the comments.