Pain Looks So Good When Worn By Others: Schadenfreude In Video Games


Suffering can be the funniest thing in the world when provided with the right context. The Germans call it schadenfreude, which is roughly “joy at the misery of others”. I gotta say, I indulge it it far more than I should, however I do go about the violence and misery in video games in a very detached way so I think I get away with it. Yes yes violence is evil and laughing at people in pain is wrong and so on and so forth. Really though it’s all situational, just look at the amount of people who laugh at old Tom & Jerry even at a mature age.

I believe that a level of schadenfreude exists in human beings at a very young age, I can easily entertain a very young child by pretending to run into a brick wall, it doesn’t get old even after the 20th time which I find is truly astounding. I’d segway this into a post about the existence of violence in human beings but that is for another time, don’t you worry. The joy at suffering might be through some form of relief, knowing that my day isn’t going like that and it is funny to watch others live a life of suffering.

I’ve always enjoyed a little pain and a little suffering to be something you can afflict on others in my video games, largely for revenge when they cheat at a higher level. You put me through all of this so now I’m gonna watch you tumble down some stairs and whine about the bones being outside or something. Other times I pick on an innocent bystander to bring on one of the worst days in their life, I roleplay as that guy who just makes peoples lives harder as I gallivant through the streets, pushing people over in Assassin’s Creed. Hey for all I know they deserved it, unlikely but still entertaining.

I think one of the greater appeals of the mischievous asshole is the payoff knowing that in a video game not many can even challenge what you do, they just moan and get on with it. I can play Dragons Dogma and smack people in the side of the head with a mace, making them drop their pot and ruin the rest of the day. Forget the power fantasies of unbeatable warriors, I want to be able to make everyone in a town miserable in one sweeping motion. Leave the spells and guns behind, lets put laxative in the towns water supply, it’ll be tons of fun. Shit tons of fun. Ha…… uncontrollable leakage.

One of my personal joys is the audial element of the actions, the sweet, delicious and every so satisfying *bonk* when a brick lands on a guys head and knocks him on the floor. The novelty of dropping guards on the rooftops onto other guards, not out of a desire to be creative but rather to hear them yell. I still go back to Spyro The Dragon on the PS1 for one reason above else: the enemy death sounds. The screaming tribesman going d’oh as I evade him and he runs careening off the stage, the little elf looking guys who scream daaaahh when you hit them off into the abyss of the pits.

For goodness sake I still think that the Spiderman 3 film is one of my favourites purely because of the ringing metallic *dong* a metal bar makes when Harry Osborne goes head first into it and flips round, crashing to the ground. It helps that he wasn’t exactly being a nice guy at the time but dammit I chuckle just thinking about it, damn that has got to hurt.

Another key element is when the ridiculous physics come into play, mostly ludicrous rag-dolling that turns what was supposed to be a simulation of a body into a tool for comedy. I have fond memories of going around in Red Faction Guerilla and smacking civilians on the head with your sledgehammer, watching them bounce and freak out. I wondered everytime if I should find so much delight in hitting at guy round the face through his windshield, of course  only wonder when I’m not giggling at his flailing after I wallop him in the chops.

In fact Red Faction Guerilla is a great game for roleplaying as an asshole, you can drive through pretty much any building in the game so of course there is a mountain of situations you can play up as you do so. A big favourite of mine was to constantly shout apologeticly, pretending to be flustered as I backed up into his wife and brought part of the roof with me as I drive away. It brought out the childish joy I needed in the game of seeing something and wanting to knock it down with as much force as you can muster. Come in like a freight train and watch the pieces scatter, it is an art form all by itself.

I really would like to see more attempts at making games where you are just a horrible person in the fun way, not kicking puppies but just making life hard for those who have already got it so. Hey poor guy begging on the street, nice hat…. now its on the floor. I’m not interested in being a monster or a douche-bag, just wanna be the reason some people drink is all.

What games do you delight in being a bit of a meanie? Do people ever look at you weird or such when you delight in causing strife in others lives? Would you go and buy a game where the entire concept is “ruin everyone’s time”? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.


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  1. #1 by leathehatless on May 21, 2015 - 10:10 am

    Then you need to play Lucious. (I think i didn’t misspelled the name…) It’s all about being a true devil. =)


    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on May 21, 2015 - 5:50 pm

      From what I found online it isn’t very good and is more along the lines of the psychological genre than anything funny. The concept has to be done with a sense of joy in it, Lucious is just dreary.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #3 by leathehatless on May 22, 2015 - 9:13 pm

      Ah, i see. Good luck finding other fun games.


  2. #4 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 21, 2015 - 1:24 am

    Just to tell you that I’m not viewing your posts on your site. It’s not because I don’t care, but I subscribed through e-mail so I read your new posts there instead. Don’t assume I only read the articles that I commented on.


    • #5 by Prof.mcstevie on May 21, 2015 - 1:25 am

      Whatever avenue suits you the most is fine by me, enjoy the reading.


    • #6 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 21, 2015 - 1:29 am

      How come barely anybody views my current site but my older archived site gets views all the time (nigganintendonerd)?


    • #7 by Prof.mcstevie on May 21, 2015 - 5:50 pm

      Perhaps it is how you tag and present your articles.


    • #8 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 21, 2015 - 10:32 pm

      But I didn’t tag any of my articles for the older site. Most people view the Pokemon card gallery, Metroid blog posts, and the Peach underwear post. Call me a pervert, but that is the most viewed post on my site. Now those viewers are perverted.


    • #9 by Prof.mcstevie on May 21, 2015 - 10:57 pm

      Clearly your audience is of a different variety than your current sites content then~


    • #10 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 21, 2015 - 11:04 pm

      I finally got one follower…but that’s because we knew each other from GameFAQS. 😦


    • #11 by Prof.mcstevie on May 21, 2015 - 11:26 pm

      Well your layout could be better, your writing could be more personally woven and your paragraphs tend to exceed the comfy area of 5-6 lines. Use that information as you will, if you wanna get started you gotta have solid content and you gotta go commenting on others stuff, making yourself known.


    • #12 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 22, 2015 - 12:34 am

      Yeah, I already knew that. For my third “season” of reviews, it will be seven lines maximum and four or five lines minimum for each paragraph.

      I do comment, but people usually ignore me as do I. Honestly, if I never checked every single commentor on that post made by Smash From The Shadows, I would have never known or followed your blog. I do advertise my site through signatures, such as on GameFAQS.


    • #13 by Prof.mcstevie on May 22, 2015 - 1:24 am

      Hey all I can say is by having a clean format, a tidy theme set-up, a good network by commenting on various things and a personal flavour to each post, I got 150 or so followers in my first real month of blogging.

      I don’t think signatures on stuff like GameFAQS would help much, the people who’d be interested would likely be on wordpress. Twitter is a good place to link up so each post gets tweeted, I’ve even got some branching out because of it. Lots of little things come together to get me where I am now.


    • #14 by Modern Reviewing Nerd on May 22, 2015 - 1:32 am

      And despite WordPress being so popular, it’s not as viral as say…Tumblr or Blogger, where more bloggers and casual web users visit more often.

      I decreased my current post paragraphs to what I said, though the reason why it exceeds your recommendation is because the text is naturally bigger for my theme than other themes. If I did it using other themes, it wouldn’t have been off by too much. I avoid social networks because of a stalking incident last year by somebody from my school, so I have no choice. I could post it there, but police do suggest to always ignore and break contact with the stalker, which is what I’m doing.

      The signatures help somewhat since I go there often, and I refer to it as my swamp (Shrek pun intended) which draw peoples’ attentions. Also, another reason why people don’t read or follow me often is because the posts I make are not unique. Everybody makes reviews all the time and searching up games I review on Google only yields results from sites like IGN and GameSpot. My older site, contained unique content, which were opinions, galleries, and rants about stuff that only I thought of; easy to find in search engines.

      Those are the reasons why I don’t get that much views and followers. Hey, I’m making a new blog site that’s the spiritual successor to my older site that got so much hits. It will be like the older site but improved with suggestions that you made and other stuff. I think it’ll be a success and you should check it out when it exists.


  3. #15 by Matt on May 20, 2015 - 11:07 pm

    I would definitely buy the game where you go around ruining people’s day! That needs to be made as soon as possible, and we need ridiculous physichs and amusing sound effects to make it all whimsical and hilarious so we don’t feel bad about it later.

    It will be an instant classic!


    • #16 by Prof.mcstevie on May 20, 2015 - 11:11 pm

      I’d love to see some developer diaries, seeing people debate on which sound is funnier for a brick smacking someone round the back of the head.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. #17 by The Every Gamer's Review on May 20, 2015 - 8:21 pm

    Make me play Saints Row: The Third, give me a purple dildo and just watch people get whacked in humiliation, it’s insanity and that’s why I don’t feel bad about it.


    • #18 by Prof.mcstevie on May 20, 2015 - 9:48 pm

      If you saw someone do it in real life you’d definitely find it weird but you’d also be giggling at it.


    • #19 by The Every Gamer's Review on May 20, 2015 - 10:03 pm

      If it ever did happen, someone would film it and post it on Facebook…because screw privacy.


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