Um, This Isn't What I Signed Up For... - ADAMMWOOLLEY Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Um, This Isn't What I Signed Up For...

Have you ever taken a job only to later realize that the job description didn’t quite match the duties you were expected to do after being hired? Has your boss ever given you a task that was a little out of your realm of expertise? If so, you may have said (aloud or to yourself) “that’s not my job” or “this isn’t what I expected when I took this position.” Though that might not be the answer your employer wants to hear, sometimes it’s easy to feel as if you’re being unfairly burdened. And after all, it’s better to avoid doing a task you may not be capable of doing rather than proceed with the task with disastrous results, right?

 

This also happens in some videogames. When you look at the typical videogame hero, you will notice a common theme. From trained soldiers (current and former) to hardened mercenaries, ninjas to magic users, one thing is for sure; they have the proverbial skills to pay the bills. Our classic protagonists have an extensive well of training and abilities to draw from when it all hits the fan. But what about those that choose professions of a less hostile nature? How can we expect them to achieve the same heroics? Did they even know what they were getting into? How would those job announcements even look?

 

While most people scrutinize over the details of specific job requirements and responsibilities in the Want Ads, the argument can be made that the following four people gave them nothing more than a passing glance. Here is what said announcements (and enlarged the fine print) might actually look like posted Craigslist, and the poor saps that accepted the job on false pretenses.

Wanted: Plumber (MUST BE WILLING TO TRAVEL)     Location: Undisclosed      

Candidates should possess the following qualifications: experience in the field of kingdom/princess saving; proficient in use of various suits that grant unique abilities; possess knowledge of how to deal with large fire breathing turtle-dragon…things.

A plumber’s job isn’t glamorous. It’s pretty thankless, and it can get pretty ugly at any given time. This being said, most plumbers know what they’re getting into when they choose this trade. Not one has ever said “Hey, I’ll become a plumber, and then probably be expected to bail out a kingdom in some crazy alternate universe over and over again from the clutches of some turtle-dragon looking freak. Oh, and the inhabitants of this place will most likely be a bunch of walking fungus.” Not ever. So I’m sure when Mario and his brother Luigi decided to make this their profession, being transported to the Mushroom Kingdom must have been a bit of a shock.

 

What was this duo tasked with when they arrived? Not snaking out Peach’s drain (not a euphemism, minds out of the gutter people), fixing a leak in the castle, or even replacing bathroom fixtures. Nope, these plumbers were thrown to the fire (literally, Bowser breathes fire after all) and had the hopes of an entire kingdom placed squarely on their unproven shoulders. Where’s the Plumbers’ Union when you need it? Talk about a stressful twist of fate. Maybe that’s why they eat “magic mushrooms.”

 

Wanted: Archaeologist (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY)        Location: Island of Yamatai

Candidates should possess the following qualifications: proficient in the use of multiple long/close range weapons; ability to scale high rock faces using only a climbing axe; survival skills necessary to withstand being hunted by crazed cult; experience in dealing with the supernatural a plus.

Ok, maybe Indiana Jones has skewed the perception of what an archaeologist both does and is capable of. Typically, the most exciting thing that happens to an archeologist is the discovery of a new ancient artifact or old bones. Wow, please try to hold back your exhilaration. That’s not to say that archaeologists don’t make grueling trips to exotic locations, but the biggest dangers involved in these treks usually come from nature. Sun burn, heat stroke, frost bite, and battling hordes of disease carrying mosquitoes are some of the more common threats. One hardly completes rigorous military tactics and weapons training in preparation for these voyages.

 

When Laura Croft and crew ended up stranded on the island of Yamatai, they must have felt a tad unprepared as events unfolded. Seriously, imagine saying to any other archaeologist “Hey, would you be a dear and take care of these crazy, well armed cultists while making your way through the perils of this island full of unknown dangers? Oh, and try to foil any weird plots they might be cooking up as well. Thanks.” That’s pretty much what was expected of Laura, a young archaeology graduate (on her very first expedition, mind you) with no experience to draw from. Did she get her degree at West Point? After this, Laura better update her résumé because there won’t be a single archeologist that can outmatch it.

Wanted: Engineer (AN OPPORTUNITY TO DIE FOR)            Location: Aegis VII   

Candidates should possess the following qualifications: ability to dismantle and kill freakish mutants known as Necromorphs; must be able to use tools normally suited for other tasks as weapons; proficiency in upgrading suits and weapons; capability to uncover the meaning behind and destroying ancient relics called Markers is preferred. 

Ah, engineers. They sure are a scrutinized lot. I myself have a love/hate relationship with several of them. Engineers are praised for concepts that work, and demonized when their creations are worthless in the practical sense. Personal bias aside, they are a necessary evil (sorry, my bias can be hard to suppress) in society. However, I’ve never been in a life or death situation where I thought to myself “Gee, we could really use the expertise of an engineer right about now.” Designing a bunker or shelter that might come in handy is one thing, being able to make quick tactical decisions is another.

 

Then there’s Isaac Clarke, engineer extraordinaire. Sure, you expect him to be able to help fix an incapacitated space ship, but dismantling a multitude of bloodthirsty Necromorphs usually goes above and beyond said expectations. Yet that’s exactly the duty he ends up taking on. Where numerous soldiers have failed, Isaac manages to overcome his natural inclination to sit and think about what’s going on and spring into visceral (pun intended) action. On top of that, he has to find a way to destroy numerous Markers that mankind foolishly develops an obsession with. While it drives him to the brink of insanity (typical engineer), he fares much better than one would expect…from an engineer.

Wanted: Theoretical Physicist (OUT OF THIS WORLD CAREER)   Location: Black Mesa,NM 

Candidates should possess the following qualifications: ability to become an instant expert in a range of weapons (crowbar proficiency a plus); willingness to slay interdimensional alien forces; must rally groups against overwhelming odds; mute persons preferred.

The field of theoretical physics is actually quite interesting, but relatively passive as far as the physical demands go. In fact, most physicists feel more comfortable in a lab setting than engaging in any sort of armed combat. Thanks to The Big Bang Theory, most people would associate a theoretical physicist with the svelte (and slightly off his rocker) Dr. Cooper than the goatee sporting badass charged with saving the world we know and love. No, physicists won’t gain a reputation of being lab coat sporting Chuck Norris clones any time soon.

 

Those details don’t seem stop the esteemed Dr. Freeman from becoming a heroic crowbar wielding icon, though. Disregard the fact that the typical physics program at MIT doesn’t require any Arms Expert 101 classes for completion of a PhD. It’s not as though Dr. Freeman went into this field thinking “You know what, I just might have to be a rampaging, gun toting hero of the people one day.” And yet, here we are. No wonder the “G-man” is so impressed by him. Still, until we get a Half-Life3, his work will be considered incomplete. We’re waiting Dr. Freeman. Any day now.

 

When looking back at these overachievers, it's easy to wonder just how they managed to accomplish such extraordinary feats. While typical videogame heroes are commonly equipped with the right physical and mental training needed to get the job done, it would have been easy for the four individuals listed to just shrug and say “this isn’t what I signed up for.” Instead, their respective worlds can breathe a huge sigh of relief thanks to a can-do attitude. So the next time you are assigned a task that you feel you shouldn’t have to do, just remember it could be magnitudes worse. Suck it up and get to work.

 

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