You can run, but you'll only die tired: Gaming's 'baddest' villains
Winner: Nazis (Castle Wolfenstein for the Apple II, Atari, Commodore 64)
As much as we love to personify the enemy, the award for most fearsome foe must go to the Nazis as a whole. Though they were most popularly demonized in 1992 by id's Wolfenstein 3-D game for Windows, it was the 1981 game for the Apple II that empowered them with their most intimidating quality.
I remember playing this game one Saturday morning, while everyone else was still asleep. I led my avatar quietly through the Nazi stronghold, knowing there was not a single comrade in this citadel of evil.
|Wolfenstein (Click image to see larger view.)|
I nervously counted down the 76 seconds it'd take to pick the lock on one of the many strongboxes I'd found, hoping this would be the one to contain the enemy plans. The bloody carcasses of fallen Nazis littered the floor, keeping me grim, silent company.
Everything was still ... until an SS soldier barged into the room, wearing a bulletproof vest and barking German threats. In sharp contrast to the quiet weekend morning, that harsh, guttural language was so sudden and so nerve-wracking, my instinctive response was to reach not for a grenade, but the computer's power switch.
By giving voice to once-mute stalkers, Castle Wolfenstein has ensured that Nazis will always terrify me the most.
Runner-up: Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2 for Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox)
|Pyramid Head (Click image to see larger view.)|
From the moment players step into the abandoned town of Silent Hill and hear the sound of rending flesh, they know to be afraid. And when emotionally unbalanced James Sunderland, hiding in a closet, watches this bloody goliath with a pyramid-shape helmet assault an equally unidentifiable monstrosity, players' fear is given form.
As gamers wander the ghost town, this masked abomination turns up in the most claustrophobic of places. When James is locked in an old prison, Pyramid Head's heavy breathing echoes through the concrete halls as he hunts his prey.
And when James tries to lead Maria to safety, fleeing from Pyramid Head down a long, narrow corridor, James makes it to the elevator -- just in time to see the doors close on a frantic Maria being skewered by Pyramid Head's vicious spear.
In the subconscious manifestations that plague visitors to Silent Hill, perhaps Pyramid Head represents James' anger and guilt. The red devil relentlessly pursues James and hurts those he loves. It's completely invulnerable to James' attacks. You can run -- but you'll only die tired.
The great and terrible quality of gaming guerillas is that they're never down for the count; a simple reboot will have them ready and rarin' to conquer the world again. Let's hear which virtual villains have you coming back for more!
Ken Gagne is Computerworld.com's associate editor of community content after having amassed 976 video games for 17 different consoles and handhelds writing a weekly gaming column titled Gamebits. He also runs the movie Web site Showbits.net and edits the vintage computing newsletter " Juiced.GS."
Read more about Networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.
- Capabilities You Need in an IP Address Management Solution A mismanaged IP space can cripple an otherwise healthy network. Take a moment to understand what you need in an enterprise-ready IPAM solution.
- IPv6 Fundamentals IPv6 is needed to sustain the growth of the Internet. The transition from IPv4 will require planning and likely some degree of support...
- Fixing Intermittent Performance Problems Intermittent performance problems are among the most frustrating and time-consuming issues IT administrators face. Read this white paper and learn how technology advances...
- 3G/4G Digital Signage Guide Today, the widespread availability of 3G and 4G cellular or wireless broadband networks enables digital signage to be deployed virtually anywhere.
- Live Webcast 5 Steps to Assuring Quality of Experience In order to align monitoring and management practices with the true demands of the business, IT professionals must expand beyond traditional comfort zones...
- Live Webcast Master the Changing SAP Landscape with Performance Management SAP landscapes are not getting simpler. Gradually, business processes that used to be contained on a single SAP system now involve a range...
- Navigating the New Wireless Landscape Thriving in the new wireless landscape View Now>>
- Deep Dive into Advanced Networking and Security with Hybrid Cloud Security and networking are among the top concerns when moving workloads to the cloud. VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ enables you to extend your... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!