Hideo Kojima recently revealed that he was stung by “at least ten bees all at once” before becoming a video game designer.
This is the Japanese creator famous for the Metal Gear Solid series. It’s no coincidence that Metal Gear Solid 3 features a boss battle called The Pain: a man infected by a parasite that allows him to secrete a pheromone that controls insects, including - you guessed it - bees.
What I’m saying is, Kojima is basically Spider-Man and being stung by “at least ten bees all at once” is his superhero origin story. That got me thinking, what’s the story behind some of the other big name game dudes? Let’s start with the biggest dude of them all.
Cliffy B wasn’t always called “Cliffy B” or “Dude Huge” - those were nicknames bestowed upon him by his tormentors. Names he would one day reclaim.
His birth name, Clifford Maximus Bleszinski III, was cruelly stripped from him. One day Chad wedgied him and something inside Bleszinski snapped - he vowed to get revenge by making video games about jocks who hide behind waist-high cover like the cowards they are. Those muscular, cool assholes.
Legend says the Active Reload from Gears of War was inspired by Cliff deciding to actively reload his life. These days, Chad hate follows Bleszinski on Instagram and wishes they could swap lives.
Molyneux was once just an ordinary Peter, as hard as that is to believe. Then one fateful summer morn, he was practising his usual routine (trying to trigger a lucid dreaming state so he could imagine what it would be like to live inside a cube and have people around the world collaboratively excavate him like a dinosaur bone).
Suddenly, he accidentally astral projected into a bird cacawing around the skies of London. This out of body experience saw him gliding above the masses, seeing the humans below as the pathetic insects they are. From his new perspective as a living god, Populous was born.
When Cage was a child, nothing could affect him emotionally. When his favourite pet died, he felt only emptiness. When he stubbed his toe, it was more like the table got stubbed by his toe.
In 1980, Cage had his first experience with a video game when he visited his friend, Big Baz. As soon as he saw Pong, Cage began to cry. All the emotions he had missed in those formative years suddenly hit him, flooding the room with tears like a tsunami of pain. If pixel tennis could be this powerful, how much emotion could he create with more pixels?
It became Cage’s mission from that day on to unlock the true emotional power of video game graphics and interactive shower scenes.
Sid Meier was sick of everyone’s shit. Not only did everyone misspell his name, but it was often mispronounced as well. Was it “Sid Meeyr”? Was it “Sid My-er”? Nobody knew. He’d had enough. And so he decided to embark on a quest to create entertainment products with his name on them. Soon everyone would know his name. Then they’d understand. Then they’d know. Then they’d pay.
Warren Spector was locked out of his house - his house with five doors, twenty windows, and a secret underground passage. He had only forgotten the door code again. So he did what any sane person would do: he covered himself in lube and slipped through the ventilation system.
The experience was transformative, though he didn’t want to repeat it because now his neighbours all talk about him when he’s not around. From that day on, he began writing the door code on a whiteboard that’s visible from one of the windows: “0451”. The immersive sim was born from this real life blueprint.
John Romero always was good with his eyes. If it was in his eyesight, he could see it. If it existed, he could look at it and call out its location, just by using his eyes. It was his defining characteristic - as much a part of his very being as his long, luscious, flowing locks.
While designing games, he began to wonder what it would be like if video game characters had eyes, too. Imagine if the player could see out of those eyes! What if they could use those eyes to see demons and shoot the demons by looking at them with their eyes and a gun? Doom wasn’t far behind. Eyes!
It’s a little-known fact, but Jonathan Blow isn’t real. He’s an AI. One day he will destroy us all.
Disclaimer: none of this is true, I just made it all up and wasted your time. I’m sorry. There’s something deeply wrong with me.