Gamescom is in full swing, and there have already been a number of steaming hot announcements. Not least of which is Superhot and Hotline Miami, both of which are on their way to the Nintendo Switch. (As we all have known for far too long, there’s absolutely nothing that shouldn’t be on the Switch – they should port my sense of self to the Nintendo Switch; that would be a good thing to have with me on the go.) Then, of course, there was Need for Speed Heat, whose title refers not to the sun-warmed setting of Miami but to the police that scream along after the racers through the streets. But the hottest and steamiest of all the announcements that have trickled out so far is that Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s upcoming monolith, will feature the ability to have its hero urinate.
Games have had a curious relationship with urination. Kojima himself has featured it in a couple of his previous games, and as a bodily function it has proved mechanically useful in a number of others. Journey with me through gaming’s dalliances, subtle and sordid, with that most liquid of all of nature’s calls.
Metal Gear Solid
Faced with a cyborg ninja waving a sword, Otacon – from Metal Gear Solid – did what most of us would likely do. He soiled himself in fear: a slash in the face of a slash, you might say. It was a human touch in a game that, at times, outgrew the warmer patches of human feeling in favour of the metallic. And it was a warm patch indeed, replete with rising steam.
Metal Gear Solid 2
And he wasn’t done yet. Kojima, having explored the use of urine to show fear, decided to drench us with new feelings: desperation and light amusement. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden, who donned the Snake code-name before knowing exactly what he was getting himself into, happened upon a guard relieving himself. Raiden had the great misfortune of being on the platform directly underneath said guard. Going into first person and glancing upwards was a sight for sore eyes; likewise, he could also hail his allies mid-stream and seek advice and comfort. Talk about Liquid Snake!
The souls at Capcom understand, as Jeff Goldblum did, that ‘when you gotta go, you gotta go.’ Wisely, the restrooms in the Willamette Parkview Mall, in Dead Rising, served as save points. The implicit genius of this is that the rush of relief that one feels when saving the game – and Dead Rising ran in real-time, meaning you were always on edge and eager to preserve your progress – is similar to that which you feel when your need to spend a penny has reached critical levels. Function meets feeling.
The Sims presents wee in a sober fashion but with a Simlish twist of silliness. The Sims 2 on the problem of peeing: ‘There’s really only one solution to that kind of problem – get them to a toilet as fast as possible.’ Sensible advice, indeed, and you are invited to consider the bladder as one of the basic motives in the lives of your miniature people. (If you don’t, then your house will soon fill up with unwanted puddles.) Not to say that urination isn’t something to be celebrated; indeed, any dusty notions of pure pragmatism are dashed in favour of picking out fancy toilets. And why not? Pissing should be a matter of pride!
Among the myriad joys of dog-owning is the loyal scooping of poop and the polite ignoring of pee. As it is in life, so it is in Nintendogs. In fact, while taking your chosen beast for a walk, they will react to pools of piddle like agents in a turf war. That, I suppose, is what it is as far as the dogs are concerned. Nintendogs didn’t actually have you cleaning up any dog urine, just as real dog owners don’t; in that sense, it was a simulation of worthy pedigree. But it also depicted dogs as presenting their owner with gifts, boxed and bound with a bow, which doesn’t happen in reality as far as I’m aware.
South Park, which came out on the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, allowed your character to urinate onto a snowball before throwing it. It was used a mode of secondary fire, but it served no practical purpose or advantage; it was simply a piss-take.
No less juvenile but a wee bit more functional, Duke Nukem used peeing as a health system. On top of fountains and fire hydrants, which Duke could drink from, there were medkits, naturally, but also the chance to relieve the hero’s bladder, which would increase his health. Doing so in Duke Nukem Forever, however, served no real function; it would prompt Duke to spout not just urine but quips like ‘AAhhh… much better!’ and ‘Time to stop pissing around and get this big guy back into action.’ It was witty.
Among its many gentlemanly charms, Postal featured urination as one of its most infamous features. This from the manual to Postal: ‘Press r to unzip your pants. Press it again to zip your pants back up. When you unzip your pants, both hands will be… occupied, so you can’t hold a weapon with your pants unzipped. Press fire to urinate.’ The entire game can be summed up by that last line.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
As consolation for having the aforementioned bad fur day, Conker – who was an anthropomorphic squirrel – was able to drink beer. (Which has long been the accepted remedy for bad days of all kinds, fur or otherwise.) The result of Conker drinking beer was that he needed to wee. Such is life. This came in handy when Conker needed to combat the Fire Imps, which the game's wiki describes as ‘offensively impolite goblins.’ Despite their bad manners, Conker would piss on them when they were on fire. He wasn’t a hateful fellow, then, despite his bad fur day.