The genesis of this post came from a wander around the British Library and the British Museum, getting my tourist on with a few Nerdfighter pals, and more specifically a recurring joke about our explorations being like a movie or adventure game – The Da Vinci Code and Uncharted were mentioned a lot. In the main atrium of the British Museum (which is something to behold, by the way!), we noticed an opening in the wall high up designed for people on that floor to take photos overlooking the entire area from high above. ‘I want to know how to get up there!’ remarked one pal, to which I replied ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to just grapple hook up there?’
As if my nerdy gamer credentials needed doubting, this is an actual conversation I had in public.
It also provided the inspiration for this piece. Because let’s be real, there’s plenty of things we do in games that we wish we could do IRL, right? For some, they might be violent things like falcon-punching coworkers out of windows or doing drive-bys on your obnoxious neighbours down the street, which you can’t do in the real world because of annoying things like the law and being a good person and stuff. But how about using in-game tools? Tools designed for serious combat or heavy-duty application but, if planted in everyday life, could be just as revolutionary as those JML adverts claim their latest everything-cleaner is. In fact, I’d quite like to see a QVC presenter getting their head around seeing the following items on the conveyor belt:
- Gravity Gun (Half-Life 2)
A weapon that yanks stuff into your grasp from across the room and can then fire it at maximum velocity at whatever you don’t like the look of? When combined with saw blades and explosive barrels, the Gravity Gun was the thinking person’s way of dealing with zombies and headcrabs in Ravenholm, and can be your solution to not being able to reach those books on the top shelf in the store, or not wanting to get off the sofa to retrieve the remote. It wouldn’t be that practical, nor cheap, but snatching phones out of people’s hands when they’re ignoring you in a restaurant will never stop being funny. And it will still be cheaper than US healthcare in a few years’ time.
- LaserKraftWerk (Wolfenstein: The New Order)
This is definitely in the same impractical category as the Gravity Gun – I mean look at it, it’s like wielding a fridge – but DIY just got a whole lot easier with the Brock Lesnar of laser cutting tools. If reinforced metal, armour plating and entire Nazi robots are no match for this beast, those old planks of wood in your shed will be transformed into shelving units in seconds. It’s even energy-efficient if you get the late-game Generator upgrade which recharges the batteries automatically.The fact it was invented by alternate universe Nazis who make Donald Trump look lovely and benevolent in comparison might be a hard sell, though – although the irony of melting Richard Spencer’s face off with it would be too much.
- Codec (Metal Gear Solid)
People joke that we’re too attached to our phones anyway, so what if said phone was physically attached to the small bones of your ear? You can’t tell me Apple haven’t already considered this, and not only do you get to look like a presidential security guard as you answer by tapping your ear with two fingers, privacy is guaranteed with no-one being able to overhear what your contact is saying – only you can. Pay more for the nanomachine variant, and you will literally be able to talk with your mind – all whilst still pretending to pay attention to your teacher or boss. We can’t see that feature being abused in any way, oh no. And you will literally be able to use the phrase ‘the voice in my head’ in conversation without irony.
- Jetpack (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
Forget autonomous cars, high-speed rail links or heelies – THIS is the transport revolution we’ve been waiting for. I’m going with the GTA: San Andreas variant in particular as it gets bonus practicality points for the very ergonomically friendly handles which make flying an absolute doddle; even enabling you to fly the pack with one hand and use your other hand for operating something else, like your phone. Or more commonly in-game, a Uzi. Either way, we think Which? magazine will score this one highly for practicality, and you never have to deal with SouthEastern trains ever again – a blessing for us all.
- Portal Gun (Portal)
The ultimate in home accessibility, transport and pratting around solutions. Need to clean the ceiling but can’t reach? Can’t get to the phone in time across the room? In danger of missing the bus and gotta utilise the ‘speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out’ principle? All possible with the ubiquitous Portal Gun. Spring boots are an optional extra, and probably required if you plan to fling yourself out of very high-placed portals – though what a way to turn up at a party. And remember, any appearance of danger is merely a device to enhance your testing experience.
These are only five of my favourites, and I’m sure more are coming to your mind as you read this – fans of Legend of Zelda or Just Cause will be shouting ‘HOOKSHOT!!’ at the screen right about now – so drop off your suggestions in the comments below. Meantime, I’m off to see if I can fling myself from my house to the pub on just two portals alone…wish me luck.