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It’s that time again; time for all the kids and high school graduates to get the most out of what’s left of their summers. With the beginning of the school year rapidly approaching, school supplies going on sale and sleep schedules being reestablished, back-to-schoolers are getting in the last of their gaming time in, unaware that their educations are worlds better than the ones their avatars had to go through!
Our first Top Ten (or Super-Sized Top Five if you prefer) is here: Stay-at-Home Gaming’s Top Ten Educations to Make You Love Yours!
10.) Ninja Academy
That knife in his mouth is for killing the next guy…
Yeah, technically it’s an anime series first, but the saturation of anime-based video games makes this a valid entry. Ninja Academy seems really cool when you think about it: learn some hand signs and concentration, and soon you’ll be breathing fire, creating clones of yourself and walking up walls! Just a minor issue: you have to dedicate your life to it. That means crappy missions like finding lost cats when you’re young and just starting out, to even crappier missions like waging a war against other ninja at higher levels. Graduating in status involves crappy tests that all have some trick to them. Oh, and they’re all raised knowing the best thing in the world is a death in service to their village! Nice, right?
9.) Next Generation Special Forces Training
Metal Gear Solid
For every season there’s a trained, genetically modified soldier!
Everyone knows military training is tough, but these guys were screwed from the beginning. After basic training in U.S. Army boot camp, these men proved capable enough to serve a higher purpose. Given gene therapy in the form of injections and modifications to better resemble the “Legendary Soldier” known as Big Boss and trained as a top-secret black ops unit and given extensive training in counter-terrorism with a focus on Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Many also took part in the developmental Force XXI Trials, utilizing VR training designed to make them see the world as a false reality, making them exceptional soldiers without any field experience at the expense of true survival instinct. As if that isn’t intensive enough, they were assigned as a reserve unit to the FOXHOUND Unit, and would shortly afterward become terrorists themselves and victims of a fatal, targeted virus called FOXDIE. Missing those back-to-school sales yet?
8.) Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp
Enjoy your brains…for now.
Sure, summer camps are usually fun times, but not when they’re secret government facilities. Children with the psychic gift are trained here to become international agents known as Psychonauts. As if training children isn’t harsh enough (please see the Ancient Spartan Agoge ritual for further reference), it seems that despite all the government support, background checks on certain staff members appear to be overlooked, and apparently student brains disappearing don’t amount to using every psychic resource being used or even trustworthy staff members of influence staying behind to watch the children. And everyone knows kids need brains. They let you think. And live.
7.) Desmond’s Animus Assassin Training
Assassin’s Creed II
At least the support staff is pretty.
Family reunions can be either a wonderful occasion or, more commonly, a nightmare of a time. The Animus is a device that makes family reunions look a little more tolerable, as it involves reliving the lives of ancesters. At least at a family reunion you can sometimes sneak away when it’s storytime with great-aunt Catherine. Desmond Miles learns all the tools of the Assassin trade through this incredible chair, though he has to do so through the eyes of a man whose father and brothers are hanged, murders pretty much an entire extended family and learns the end of the world is coming and will have to be stopped by him alone. Of course, the time he has to spend in the machine to do so creates a lovely phenomenon called the “Bleeding Effect” which causes the subject to hallucinate past memories from their genetic code, which eventually led to one man slipping in and out of past lives and losing all grip on reality. Ready for another session?
6.) N7 Interplanetary Combatives Training
Mass Effect Series
The Few. The Proud. The Survivors.
Also known as “N-School” or “The Villa,” Earth Systems Alliance Special Forces (who are given the ‘N’ military designation) are chosen from soldiers from the entire spectrum of professional soldiers. First, one has to be invited to the program. Then they have to harshly train for twenty-hour days. If a soldier passes, they only earn the N1 rating. N2-N6 involve even more grueling training in space, harsh worlds and even more painful training regimens in first aid, combat tactics and even linguistics. To truly be the best of the best and earn the prestigious N7 rating, one must survive N6-level actual combat missions in an “admirable and effective fashion.” In the entire Mass Effect series, only five N7 graduates are ever seen: two are allies, one is a traitorous enemy, one is only available in multiplayer and your avatar throughout the series. That’s strict as hell.
5.) Vault 101 Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test
The picture is funny. The test is life changing.
Life in a Vault is already tough enough: stuck with the same people your entire life, a claustrophobic environment and hopefully the social experiment Vault-Tec chose for your home doesn’t suck too much (Vault 21 was deliberately overcrowded and Vault 53’s equipment was designed to break every few months). Fortunately Vault 101 only had an all-powerful dictator in charge, but the common folk still needed a purpose. So after sixteen years, students who had been educated together their whole lives would take one test to see what their career would be the rest of their lives. Tattoo Artist and Laundry Cannon Operator seem ok, but Clinical Test Subject? Fry Cook? Pedicurist? Actually, that last one isn’t so bad considering you apparently use energy weapons everyday, but the point has been made.
4.) International Contract Agency Assassin Training
A very different Sin City for this guy.
Ah, the life of an assassin: going to foreign lands, meeting interesting people and using remote mines to destroy chandeliers that end up crushing those people…luxurious. Of course, it starts off much, much worse for Agent 47. He was named such at birth because the last 46 attempted DNA blending of five criminals failed. His training consisted of kickboxing, frequent injections, firearms and other military hardware, unarmed combat tactics, disguises and infiltration. His “Graduation” involved killing a guard at 30 years of age, stealing his uniform and escaping his “home,” all set up by the doctor who made him to test his abilities. I don’t know about anyone else, but thirty years of education doesn’t sound too appealing to me.
3.) Sith Clone Training
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2
Corporal Punishment doesn’t begin to describe Sith training methods.
Cloning Jedi is supposed to be impossible, and Darth Vader doesn’t get it right for a while. Right for Vader includes all of the ability with none of the emotional attachment, in case you were wondering. But that Sith Lord doesn’t give up. Not when it comes to bringing back Galen “Starkiller” Marek to the Dark Side. Months of disappointment and hundreds of failed clones didn’t stop him, and those clones may have been the lucky ones. The promising ones were viciously trained by an evil Sith using cruel Sith methods and if any clone showed any emotional attachment, a weakness to Vader, they were confined to a stasis pod or killed. Both options suck.
2.) Wish House Orphanage
Silent Hill 4
Doubtful even a paint job would brighten it up.
Orphanages already don’t get a good rep, but this one makes the one Little Orphan Annie went to look like the Burj-Al-Arab. Broken down, dirty and run by the local neighborhood cult, this one is pretty screwed up. Set up by the innocent sounding Silent Hill Smile Support Society, the secluded house in the middle of the woods was simply a way to indoctrinate young children into the cult. If they misbehaved, they were sent to an actual abandoned prison as punishment. They also allowed higher members of the Order to personally interact with the children, most damagingly allowing Dahlia Gillespie to teach a damaged young Walter Sullivan the 21 Sacraments ritual. Ten hearts ripped out and a suicide later, Walter was killing from beyond the grave. Not the best way to educate.
1.) Little Sister’s Orphanage
The worst education is the one you never get. If that saying is true, this is the worst educational opportunity ever. Advertised to the poor of Rapture as a remarkable opportunity, less fortunate parents expected their children to get incredible educations from a caring staff who would guarantee the young children would have prosperous lives. Of course none of that was true. In reality, a Sea Slug was surgically placed in the stomach of young girls from age five to eight. They were mentally conditioned to plunge giant needle into the dead and extract their ADAM. Their brain chemistry was altered so they would see a beautiful world all around them and giant killer diver suits as their protectors. People eventually caught on, but it just became easier. Kids were just taken from their families in public view. Need you hear more?
So why are you still complaining about your education? You already have it better than these ten examples. Enjoy it while it lasts and learn something while you’re at it! Enjoy your school year!
Anything we left out or placed incorrectly? Let us know in the Comment section below!