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The Grand Unifying Theory of Games: Adding More Depth

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 30 Dec 2014 16:00
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Halo Forerunners

It's the last column of 2014, and in keeping with the rules of my old middle school, this is the day we get to bring in games. You may remember a while back, I was frothing about a Grand Unifying Theory for game story crossover in a Wold-Newton family / League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vein, which I obsessed over for about two weeks before mysteriously losing interest. I think I grew embarrassed by my own enthusiasm. I was almost resolved to sit on my notes forever, but then I figured, hey, if the enthusiast press can't get weirdly enthusiastic about things once in a while, then who can?

So I'd like to share some more of those notes, and I'm justifying it by turning it into a fun exercise for the reader. The following text references the stories of 55 games (not counting repeats) by my count. If you can name them all, then you win, I dunno, bragging rights.

So to bring you back up to speed, the core of the Grand Unifying Theory, the common element that exists in all games, is 'Red', a substance found in most foods and all first aid kits that instantly heals living tissue. A fossil fuel deriving from the petrified bodies of magical beings from before recorded history. One of these was a race of empowered humanoids usually called 'Gods' but by more scientific minds as 'Forerunners' or 'Those Who Came Before'. Most of this race was wiped out by some kind of cataclysm, referenced in some sources as 'the Fall of Lavos', during which some kind of celestial body struck the Earth in the time of an unthinkably ancient civilization. The impact was so devastating that time itself splintered, creating a strange recurring time loop of the preceding three days, although some scholars attribute this strange effect to the so-called 'Black Marker' that modern archaeologists discovered in the impact crater.

The disaster was (appropriately enough) foreseen by some of the Forerunners, who escaped the Earth on a vast, circular ship called either the 'Halo' or the 'Sphere' (they may not have created it, but were hitching a ride with a sympathetic alien intelligence). A handful of Forerunners survived the cataclysm, and lasted into classical antiquity, at which point most of them were wiped out by a lone Spartan warrior who had unknowingly tapped into Red's effects by tattooing himself with it. The Forerunners left behind a great many supernatural minions, most of whom then fled to Europe, and ended up in ancient Britain by getting caught up in the retreat of Boudicca's army after the failed siege of Rome. The island would become a magical battleground for centuries, being renamed Britannia and Daventry at various times before settling on Albion.

Most of the Red sold commercially today comes from sub-oceanic seams, as we established last time, as well as that it was first refined into the perfect healing formula in the 1960's by a mercenary in the Gravel Wars. A German scientist and former Assassin who had previously researched under Wilhelm Strasse, and who was sent to America by his mentor. Ostensibly as a spy, but in truth, Strasse was exiling him, suspicious of his refusal to join the Nazi party.

Today, Red is recovered from the ocean floor with industrial rigs, such as the ones off the coast of Panau, and processed in facilities such as the Virility plant in Limbo City. But the almost universal use of Red in the modern age has not gone without criticism. Many have complained that the presence of the miracle substance has made the medical industry complacent, resulting in even untrained morons with a severe lack of manual dexterity being able to open surgical practices. Indeed, an investigation of the so-called 'elite' medical organization 'Caduceus' revealed that many staff members had irresponsibly small amounts of actual surgical experience.

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