Working Class Hero

Guess whose shares in Acme just went up? Not yours...

Everyone knows someone that they don’t like. No matter how amiable you might be, there will always be at least one person who grates on you; that one person you want to punch in the face every time they start to open their mouth. Maybe it’s something they do that annoys you, like biting their nails and spitting the clippings on the floor. Maybe it’s their voice, or maybe it’s their personality that just drives you crazy. For example, we all know someone who likes to one-up everyone else – the sort of person who thinks they’re god’s gift to society, despite society thinking they’re an arsehole. “Been to Spain for a holiday eh? I went to Alaska last month. I bumped into a pack of wild bears that welcomed me into their group and made me one of them.” No you didn’t. You went to Skegness, you liar. I saw the holiday photos on Facebook. Imagine if that person’s one-upmanship extended into the realms of super-villainy though.

“Oh you derailed a train did you? I blew up a school for dyslexic kittens and punched Batman in the dick”. No you didn’t, you startled some pigeons and then got arrested for public indecency. I saw Superman’s tweet about it. I like to think that, although it’s never shown in computer games or comics or films, there is always a bit of behind the scenes pettiness between some of the characters that leads to such monumental battles. Just because you’re a superhero or part demon doesn’t mean that some people’s personalities won’t grate on you. Even the battle between good and evil might well boil down to something simple like the villain thinking “Oh for fuck sake, every time I try to take over the world, that tight wearing idiot tries to stop me! What is up with that guy? I guess I have no other choice but to kill him.” Or the hero just not liking the villain’s choice of cape, and thus a new rivalry is formed.

Did you just spill my pint?

What if the contention we see in many of our favourite computer games all stemmed from some childish feud? Take Mario and Bowser for example: Bowser is constantly kidnapping Princess Peach, leaving Mario to rescue her, but where did it all start? Well I’ll tell you. Once upon a time in Mushroom Kingdom, young Peach and Mario were having a few drinks in their local pub. Mario had to go the toilet and in stepped Bowser who tried to buy Peach a drink, not knowing she was with our moustached hero. She said no but Bowser was too drunk to realise that no actually does mean no so kept trying his luck. Just as Bowser leaned to try and steal a kiss, Mario returned from the loo and told Bowser to back off, thus igniting their rivalry. Bowser, still drunk and determined to get a taste of that sweet Peach (sorry, the temptation to make such a crass joke was too much for me) kidnaps the portly plumber’s love interest.

You don’t have to be bitter enemies to dislike someone though, even friends sometimes have moments where they can’t stand each other. Even some of my best friends have moments when I want to smash their head in but, for the most part, we get on famously. Maybe it’s just me being a grumpy sod but it seems that in any good friendship, there’s still always something that makes the other tick. There also seems to be a similar feeling of one-upmanship in friends as there is in bitter rivals, particularly between two male friends. On their days off from zombie killing, I imagine Resident Evil’s Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield have the undead hunting equivalent of notches on their bedposts: “I killed 70 zombies today” Chris would say. “Yeah, but I discovered Las Plagas before you did” would be Kennedy’s reply. The two of them would constantly be pointing out how many treasures they found on their last mission, Chris would continually pretend that he’s banging Sheva when we all know he’s further in the closet than Narnia and Leon would go on and on about how he rescued the president’s daughter ad infinitum.

Guess who has bigger boat envy? Yep, he just heard that Redfield bought a speedboat.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that while games only show our heroes and villains at their most dastardly or delightful moments, I like to think what they would be like when their mission’s finished and they’re hanging out with friends. I imagine that when they’ve hung their cape up for the week they’re the same as us. They still get annoyed by little things, like their partner leaving the seat up, or that friend who always knows a guy who done the same thing as you but four months earlier. I imagine that after a hard day re-killing the undead, when they kicking back with a slice of pizza and a beer and suddenly hear an urgent news bulletin or get a phone call with four little words that ruin any hero’s plans, “We need you, now!” they let out a sigh, give a shrug and slam the door in huff on their way out to yet another job.

Last five articles by Iain



  1. Edward Edward says:

    Hilarious as ever, Iain! :D
    I love the idea that Bowser just did it all on a bit of a drunken binge, woke up and went “Ah, fuck it, I’ll just roll with it”

    Good job :)

  2. Samuel Samuel says:

    That’s as good an explanation of the Mario/Bowser thing I’ve ever heard, heh, so why not? I really like this, very funny as always Pix.

  3. Richie rich says:

    What an excellent article. Good work, man.

  4. Kat says:

    Loved it! :D

    Glad I’m not in that group of friends whose heads you want to smash in….

    Or am I :/


  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I can’t abide people who deliberately point out that whatever you’ve got is inferior to theirs, regardless of what it is. Lorna has someone like that in her family and, to be honest, the guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about but will continue to attempt to undermine with his ridiculous non-knowledge. Like how the Halo XBox 360 is better than the Elite because it has an HD DVD drive built in and has two HDMI ports…. which naturally makes it better than our Elite. The imbecilic idiocy just floors me but it’s rampant.

    I imagine super heroes are like that too though “Check out Spider-Man with his stupid onesy… bet there’s a gherkin shoved down his pants too!” while Batman snorts at Superman because of the curl. “Yeah, you may have an underground cave but you rely on toys to get you around… and I can FLY doooood!!”. At that point, Batman whips out his Kryptonite ring… oops.

    Loved this mate, loved the concept behind it and how you put it. Made me laugh and think at the same time… perfect combination. If only there was naked ass too!

  6. Michael Author says:

    Fantastic article dood!
    The Mario/Bowser made me lol… And I try not to do that very often.

  7. Lee says:

    Bowser spilling Marios pint lol.

    Wonder how the whole sonic / dr robotnik fight started?

  8. Samuel Samuel says:

    @Mark – But… I HAD a Halo 360, and it didn’t have an HD DVD drive. And only the one HDMI port. What the fuck is that guy on about???

  9. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Yeah I should probably have elaborated a bit more on that, sorry… we tried telling him that the Halo XBox 360 was the original XBox 360 and was prone to overheating, system failures and disc scratching. Didn’t matter… we were wrong. The Elites were crap compared to it and his main reasons were that it had HD DVD built in (which we explained it didn’t… he disagreed) and that it had two HDMI ports (don’t even think it’d have had any as it was pre Jasper chipset I believe). It’s the same guy that told me that his Nikon D40 was better than my D200 even though the D40 is a consumer unit (small, cheaper plastic body too) aimed towards the point and shoot users who fancied going to DSLR whereas the D200 is a semi pro unit (actually used a lot by genuine pros too) and has incredible manual control. I can’t remember who it was that said it, probably Lorna, that his mindset basically revolves around reading “What [BLAH]” magazine and jumping on whatever bandwagon is current, regardless of experience. If it gets a good review, it’s the best, basically.

  10. Samuel Samuel says:

    The Halo 360 was actually split between two different models, some the basic 360, and some the same inside as the Elite. The better one had one HDMI port, and the same board and power unit as the Falcon chipset Elites. You had to check the batch number and serial number to know which one it was. The one I had was one of the better ones, because I was armed with that knowledge and checked the numbers on the box before paying for it.

    That said, despite having the newer power block and chipset, all of the Halo models had a basic 20GB harddrive, so the Elite was still better in some ways. The main reason I got the Halo one (bearing in mind I didn’t even like Halo games before Reach) was the colour. Sad but true. I like green.

    But thinking it had HD DVD and two HDMI ports (and why the fuck would you even need two???) is just absurd.

  11. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    None of that matters though… his argument was that his was better than the Elite. It wasn’t. Whether it was the kick ass version of the Halo XBox or the standard version (I had no idea that there were different models anyway to be honest), it still wouldn’t have been better than our Elite with the better chipset because ours was the brand new model with the updated chipset. It was just a pissing contest. There’s no talking to some people though.

  12. Lorna Lorna says:

    What matters very much is that he was being obnoxious about a subject about which he knew nothing. I should elaborate further and say that he didn’t own an Xbox. Or a PS3, a Nintendo, or a DS. He has NEVER owned a console, never displayed an interest in one, and knows precisely nothing about them… and doesn’t even game as far as I am aware. Yet he actually told us we were wrong about something which represents a huge chunk of our hobby… not to mention that we had just moved and had been plugging and unplugging stuff for weeks so we had very good close up views of ports etc while wriggling under tables and behind units. And we owned an HDDVD drive for the 360, along with 2 Elites at the time.

    He would throw out his unqualified ‘fact’, we would dispute it, with an incredulous but polite: “actually, no, the HDDVD drives are seperate and cost a chunk of cash in themselves… the Elite actually has an HDMI port but none of them have two…” and he would pull a smug little face and say “don’t think it does.” Erm…ex-fucking-cuse me?! The guy was an arse but that was the least obnoxious that he was that day. Sadly it was my father’s fiftieth and I didn’t want to spoil it by losing my temper.

    @ Pix – Interesting article, as ever :D I like to think that all the other crime fighters and superheroes sit in their lair and roll their eyes over the morning news whenever Superman is on, with his corn-fed good looks and ‘cute’ curl of hair and mock his kitten saving ways and dodgy costume. As for Mario and Sonic, there was definitely some pint spillage in the early days I think…either that or a casual karting day out turned ugly when Bowser’s ride was dinged.

  13. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Who’s Bowser? :D

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