Cheat Characters Aren’t So Great
A Daily Skew Analysis
Damian Hospital 6/10/2006
The New York Yankees’ last World Championship was in 2000. Since then, they have acquired some of the biggest superstars in baseball to add to their rosters, yet have not won another championship. In 2001, they added ace pitcher Mike Mussina; in 2002 they got MVP Jason Giambi and brought back ace David Wells for two more productive years; in 2003 Godzilla came to NY, as Japanese homerun king Hideki Matsui became a Yankee, along with “Cuba’s #1 pitcher” Jose Contreras; in 2004, the impossible happened as the Yankees not only added future Hall of Famer slugger Gary Sheffield, but also acquired the undisputed best American League player- elite superstar icon Alex Rodriguez; finally last year in 2005, the Yankees added “the final piece” with the greatest left-handed pitcher since Warren Spahn- Randy Johnson.
You’d figure that if the Yankees win around 100 games every year, adding another superstar every year would make things a walk in the park for the team. But we’ve seen the grim reality every year- it’s usually a struggle to win the division and they lose in the playoffs every year to a lesser team.
By now, Yankees fans have become jaded- they know when a “secret Big Boss character” comes to NY it does not mean the Yanks will win the World Series. And with Randy Johnson, they are certain that his ability ratings were clearly downgraded the second he put on pinstripes.
This phenomena reminds me of video games when the player actually gets to play as the Big Boss character, yet for some reason the previously unbeatable Big Boss gets downgraded for “game balance’.
Remember how hard M. Bison was in Street Fighter 2? Remember how cheap his moves were? Do you recall how powerful you felt when his character was no longer reserved for the computer, and he became playable? You thought you’d just blow by all of the other characters like the computer did to you. Yeah, right.
Same thing happened with Mortal Kombat II. You could now play as Shang Tsung, the Big Boss from the original game. Shang could morph into EVERY character, and had cheap fireballs. Unbeatable, right? Nope…Heck, in MKII, you can play as the four-armed giant Kintaro and the MKII final boss Shao Kahn. I remember how Kintaro would just stomp on me. So when I had the ability to become Kintaro, I figured I’d just plow right through Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, and the rest. Not.
In Star Trek, remember how the Borg were unstoppable? I mean, they can ADAPT to everything they experienced, and add it to their defenses. Well, after appearing in so many episodes and movies, they got downgraded so much that not only could they be knocked out by one phaser blast, but a hot chick Borg became a member of the crew in Voyager. Talk about losing the fear factor…
In comic books, there is a similar scenario of “depowering to achieve balance”. Take Doomsday, who is the strongest monster, whose superpower is to adapt to any attack (like the Borg). He and Superman fought to a draw (they both “died” for a while). I know it’s hard to imagine, but Superman was NOT pulling his punches; that’s how powerful Doomsday was. In later appearances, Doomsday’s body was taken over by BRANIAC, the SMARTEST computer brain. Impossible to beat, right? Nope…Okay, how about THE JOKER taking over Doomsday’s body? Now THAT’S impossible to beat, right? Okay, okay…how about Darkseid CLONING DOZENS of Doomsdays and having them attack Wonder Woman’s Paradise Island!!!! How can ANYONE stop AN ARMY OF DOOMSDAYS??? Well, of course you know who won!! Doomsday got downgraded to being a “jobber” (in wrestling lingo, that’s a guy that loses to everyone.)
How about when Juggernaut, the literally unstoppable X-Men villain, JOINED the X-Men??? Or when Spider-Man’s enemy VENOM also switched to “our side”? All of a sudden, they ain’t so bad@$$ or unstoppable anymore!!
So what is the underlying lesson behind these examples? It SEEMS that too much of a good thing does not necessarily equate to the results you’re expecting. It SEEMS that OVERKILL may not REALLY OVERKILL; it may have the opposite effect. Yes, I realize this is not a scientific study, just something that makes you go “Hmmmmmm.” It’s something to think about in terms of managing our expectations about things, and how things may really be too good to be true.
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