Sunday, 28 April 2013

'Stag Do' simulators!!

I say, you there! Yes, you. Hello!

This week I'd like to try and ascertain which game most closely captures the essence of a superb tradition. This tradition, dear sweating friends, is something called a 'Stag Do'.

The 'Stag Do' is a man-only party held to celebrate the last fleeting moment of freedom a doomed man has, before he is imprisoned inside the depressing dungeon known as 'marriage'. The term 'Stag' is used because, halfway into the party and due to alcohol chomping, all language is lost and replaced by various wet snorts, grunts and gasps. Like what a Stag does, probably. Makes sense.

So, we're looking for games that have a high level of freedom, some slight debauchery and maybe a wee bit of team-spirit. And maybe beers. And strippers. Because I am a genius, I came up with a few candidates for your consideration, sweetheart. Read on, please!

Right, so the obvious choice would be the Grand Theft Auto series. These titles feature lots of the key ingredients of a 'Stag Do' sim, as you can probably tell from the following image:

What the hell??
The GTA series has lots of freedom, lots of dodgy morals and the occasional appearance from the coppers, all of which fit the 'Stag' bill just fine. If you so choose you can enter various establishments wherein a pixellated lady will remove her data bra for you, or you can purchase a number of alcoholic beverages which will render you a staggering, hard-to-steer mess. It even has fast food outlets to give you the 'Stag' must-have of violent vomiting!

You can also randomly punch innocent passers-by to the ground, vandalise everything in sight or even steal a high-performance sports car and drive it off a mountain, complete with screaming hostage in the passenger seat! Good times!

Hmm. Actually, lots of these things are just too extreme for even the most boozed-up gang of mischievous revellers. We know 'Stag' parties can, and often do, get a little out of hand, but I think even I would have to draw the line if my mate rode a stolen motorcycle into a strip club, then used a flame-thrower on all the clientèle. I'd probably have a word.

So GTA is a bit too crazy for consideration, kids. Also, it's a lonely solo experience, missing the loose, fuzzy camaraderie of a bunch of 'Stagging' mates. Onwards!

The next candidate is a little something I like to call 'Skyrim'. This game is from the genre known as RPG, or RABT (Randomly Assigned Bizarre Task), and features absolutely loads of walking about aimlessly waiting for something to happen. Which is a staple of the 'Stag' experience.

Even though Skyrim is a single-player affair, the presence of lots of NPC's (you say you like games? I shouldn't need to explain that one, son) adds a kind of 'group' feel to the proceedings. Also, if you've ever been on a decent 'Stag' you'll understand that all your friends/people of momentary significance have a huge arrow hovering over their heads, due to several shots of dubious, sickly brain poison.

Some of the locations present in the world of Skyrim also have that feel of queuing up to get into a particularly mysterious nightclub, only to find it populated entirely by aggressive, unreasonable zombies swinging their fists at you. Very realistic 'Staggery'! See my thoughts here:

Oh god this guy's going to kick-off with me. Why why why. I only asked where the toilets are. Jesus!
The big issue against this title, however, is the stuffy, unfunny quality it has. It's a bit like going on a 'Stag Do' with people that have all suffered a devastating bereavement the night before, and are then, understandably, a bit light on laughs. Cast it to the dogs!

So, we have reached the winner (according to me). It could only be one. It fits so well.

Team Fortress 2!

Why? Well, the reasons are many and are coming at you right now like a furious bouncer with a kebab thrown onto his chest!

Let's begin with the mixed, disparate bunch of characters assembled for your team. This is pure 'Stag Do' magic here, as every 'Stag' party consists of at least three groups of people that have never met before. Different ages, different social statuses, someone's Dad, someone's next door neighbour, someone fat, someone thin and the inevitable drunken psycho. This wildly varied posse ensures confusion will have no problem finding a home here!

Next is the actual way TF2 plays. Just like a 'Stag' party, there are a couple of people with a clear objective in mind, then there are a couple of people too confused to contribute on any level, and then there are one or two folks just happy to gleefully disrupt any attempt at organisation! This, just like the real thing, leads to the occasional bout of team in-fighting and girlish sulking. Great!

Sure, TF2 has no 'Gentlemen's clubs' or in-game liquor, but it has something far, far more important to the 'Stag' genre. Something that has been a cultural pillar of society since the dawn of time. Something of such enormous importance to the 'Stag' experience that this search for a 'Stag Do' sim was more or less over as soon as it began. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you FANCY DRESS:

Heavy is pwetty pwincess!
Fancy dress is absolutley crucial to a memorable 'Stag Do'. Humanity would fall into primitive savagery without the ability to stagger onto a dance-floor while dressed as Buzz Lightyear, or have an awkward scuffle over a taxi while in full drag (with wig & high heels). Bonus!

All these ingredients result in the most accurate 'Stag party' simulator in gaming history. Or not! Congratulations to Team Fortress 2 anyway, let's not be bitter. I'm going now anyway, sister!

GL & HF!

*Yink attended a Stag Do last night, and has another approaching soon,and was light on material.

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