Not-So-Serious Question: Why Do Videogame Grunts Always Cop It The Worst?

So, you've joined up. Well, I've got to break it to you, soldier. It's a hard life in the videogame marines. A hard, tough life. Most of you won't survive past the opening cutscene, and those that do face a terrifying and very short existence.

Videogame soldiers are all about the bluff and bluster, almost religiously borrowing attitude — if not outright quotes — from Aliens, Terminator and just about any other 80s action movie you'd care to name.

These guys — they're nearly always guys — are the toughest of the tough.

The elite. The badasses. The creme-de-la-####ing creme. The best of the best of the best.

Sir.

But watch the opening cutscene of just about any action-oriented game, and it's the ordinary grunts who get blown apart, sliced in twain, chomped upon, drained of precious bodily fluids and put rather permanently in the brown trousers club… and that's if they're lucky! Any grunts that survive beyond the opening sequence are, most likely, delaying the inevitable.

They may as well sprinkle a little salt and sweet chili sauce on their shoulders, because when The Thing (depending on the franchise, the thing in question may vary) gets hold of them, they'll suffer even more than their not-even-briefly-lamented squadmates did back in the tutorial level.

All of this makes me wonder. Not just as to who is actually stating that these easily hewn chumps are in fact champs, but if there's a game that subverts this, and lets the common grunts live. I'm twisting my brain in knots trying to think of even one — anyone got any ideas?


Comments

    it's an easy way to establish the stakes, when supposed badasses get taken to pieces.

    Their bones are made from Death Magnets. The fact that they've even made it as far as adulthood is a small miracle.

      That's why they're so tough. Consistently escaping death that faces them nearly everyday -- only to join a military force.

    Well, Sargent Johnson was a grunt in the first Halo and capable of dying but then became a main character for the next two games. Not sure if that counts though.

      Totally. I've played a tonne of games where seemingly insignificant characters earned their stripes. Look at Hicks in Aliens. It's good, reliable story-telling.

    Not so serious question lol.

    Desensitization to disposability? People die? The grunts are the ones that are sent to death in real life? It's a reflection of our culture, the big man lives- the small man gets killed?

    I dunno you tell me.

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