Video games can do a lot of things, but one of the most common is to make the player feel powerful. These fantasies can come in many forms — winning a sports championship, defeating one’s enemies, completing difficult quests, and so on. But video games aren’t all about being Italian plumbers or sci-fi super soldiers. Here are five more unusual power fantasies you can live out through the magic of games.
1. Shapeshifting — Putty
Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to change their body into whatever they please? In the 1992 Amiga title Putty, the protagonist is capable of just that. As a little ball of putty, he can stretch himself in various directions, sink into the floor, blow himself up like a balloon, and imitate his foes. He can even create a cup of coffee out of his body to distract other creatures — the Mimics from Prey have nothing on him.
2. Being a Slime Monster — The Ooze
Plenty of games let us play as tough, muscle-bound protagonists. But The Ooze bucks the trend by instead putting the player in control of a sentient green puddle. As the titular liquid, you can shift in size and shape to solve puzzles and defeat your enemies, with the ultimate goal of reclaiming your original fleshy body. But why would you want to when being The Ooze is so fun?
3. Not Having Any Bones — Smart Ball
Don’t you have having bones? Not to mention muscles, tendons, organs, and so on. Wouldn’t life be easier if you were an amorphous blob of jelly with cartoon eyeballs that ambulated by bouncing around the world? Wouldn’t you feel more free? Smart Ball, known as Jerry Boy in Japan (not to be confused with Jelly Boy) answers that question with a resounding “yes.”
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4. Existing as a Ball of Living Tar — Gish
In Gish, the titular hero has to overcome all manner of treacherous traps and frightening foes using nothing but his goopy form. Gish can increase his density, climb up walls, and become frictionless in order to navigate his environment. Who needs guns, swords, arms, legs, a spine, hair, or a social security number? Not Gish! And not me, either.
5. Shedding Your Human Form and Returning to the Primordial Clay Which Formed All Things — Claymates
No eyes. No mouth. Only clay.