Every time someone makes the argument that video games make people violent, I cringe. But at the back of my mind I remember. I remember that I have witnessed my friends partaking in some utterly insane acts of vioence because of video games. Really it's the frustration: the frustration of losing, the frustration of cheap tactics, the frustration of completely unfair mechanics punishing the player.
Seriously. Sometimes video games have the power to make us do some seriously stupid things.
The Time Skate 2 Made My Workmate Break A 360 Controller In Half
In an office I will not name, working on a video game magazine I will not name. A colleague I will not name once got a little angry.
He had good reason.
In that office we were all big fans of the video game Skate. Very big fans. Lunch breaks were spent trying to outdo one another on particular lines, trying to beat records. Skate was a real 'pass-the-controller' experience and it was perfect for quick 30 minute bursts of play with friends.
In the lead up to Skate 2's release we were excited. Being a print magazine with print deadlines, we were told we'd get an early copy of the game in order to make our review of the game timely. When we got word the game was en route to the office we started hyperventilating. As a cohesive mag-making unit, we were salivating in unison.
The game arrived. Complete chaos. A whole team of fully grown adult me literally sprinted to the office games room. We were giggling like children.
A little context. Back then most magazines had their own debug unit: a modified console that allowed journalists to play early, unfinished versions of video games. Updating these consoles was a proper pain-in-the-arse. It wasn't as simple as updating online, Microsoft or Sony had to manually courier a disk or a USB stick to your office with the update on it. A pretty firnickity process. Every now and then you would get a brand new video game and it would only run using a new version of the firmware your debug unit didn't have yet.
Skate 2 was one of those video games. It wouldn't work. It refused to work. We needed new firmware. We wouldn't be able to play the game for a couple of days if we were lucky.
The disappointment was tangible. Our giddy excitement deflated. Then: a long period of silence.
Slowly, deliberately, a colleague who will not be named picked up the 360 controller. A 360 controller that was supposed to be our portal to infinite joy but was now nothing but a cruel, lifeless joke in our hands. He picked up the controller and started literally beating it on a nearby table, over and over again with increasing intensity until the controller split. Then he beat it some more. Then -- incredibly -- he placed it in his hands and literally, actually snapped the controller in half. He broke the 360 controller in half with his bare hands.
It was one of the greatest feats of strength I have ever seen. To this day I have no idea how he did it.
The Time Street Fighter II Made My Friend Leave Bite Marks In My Controller
The Super Nintendo controller may as well have been built from steel: that's how solid those things were. If you were to crack one of those things over the head of your enemies, you'd probably kill them. The Super Nintendo controller should have been an item in Cluedo. It was Professor Plum with the SNES controller in the drawing room. Clearly.
Therefore: I always thought it was impossible to bite a Super Nintendo controller so hard that bite marks were left on the thing. I always imagined that would be a futile, potentially teeth destroying exercise in masochism.
Until that fateful day when I beat my friend at Street Fighter II so badly -- so comprehensively -- that he placed my controller in his mouth, clenched down his jaw and squeezed with the power of a thousand suns and left actual teeth marks on it.
I have no idea how he did it. For years I tried to replicate the same trick, but I would always punk out at the last second, when I could feel the pressure on my teeth get a little too close for comfort. My only explanation is this: my friend was so frustrated at his loss that he was able to push past all physical barriers, push past the pain, to momentarily forget the pressure he was placing on his gnashers and clamp down with an inhuman force.
I wasn't angry. I was never angry. I was impressed.
The Time Mario Kart Made My Brother Punch A Chandelier
To be fair, I remember a fair amount of alcohol being involved.
We were playing Mario Kart on the N64 at a friends house -- four-player if I remember correctly. My brother had been dead last. As happens in many a Mario Kart race, a nice little combination of items had taken my brother from dead last to second place. On the final bend of the last lap my brother managed to hit one of our friends with a red shell before cruising on home to a surprise victory. Incredible. What an underdog story.
Understandably my brother was rather excited. He was giddy to the point where he thought it was entirely reasonable to stand up and physically punch the chandelier hanging suspended above him on the living room ceiling. He punched it so hard that it exploded into a shower of glass fragments, which seemed to fall in slow motion, as it slowly dawned on my brother what a ridiculously stupid idea it was to try and punch a chandelier.
His fist was, of course, shredded. Blood was pouring everywhere. My brother clumsily wrapped his hand in some sort of makeshift bandage, climbed up the stairs and fell asleep in my friend's bathtub.
What's the craziest thing you've seen someone do whilst playing video games? Let us know in the comments below.