Sometimes you just need to hide. Maybe you’ve had a bad day. Maybe you need to think or study. Maybe you’re being pursued by professional murderers who love the smell of blood and you look like a fleshy bag of aromatherapy to them. These days, video games have plenty of ways to take a break to reload or watch the 5 fatal bullet wounds you just got heal in ten seconds. But what forms of barriers are common, you ask? Well you’re in luck, convenient question asker, because here they are!
5. Broken Wall
Poor wall. It spent all it’s life being tall and protecting a building’s insides from the elements, and now it’s been cut down! Well no worries, wally, you’ve found a new calling! This kind of cover is so ubiquitous probably because it’s so inviting. It might as well say “hey bud, put your back to me and slap a clip in, I’m just high enough to duck under”.
4. Oil Barrels
Another great standby, though it’s gone through a makeover in recent times. Back in the day, a single hollow oil drum could deflect every mob bullet in Chicago. See, it’s made of metal! Metal deflects bullets! Just like acid eats metal! Makes total sense. Recently, game designers realized that hey, a hollow barrel made of soft metal may not actually be bulletproof and added some bullet penetration in some games. Still, it gets a lifetime achievement award and is still a useful hiding place. (Just watch out for the red ones. Those guys are jerks.)
Like the barrel, this one was indestructible in the past, although it never should’ve been real protection at any time. An oil barrel makes at least kindergarten sense– metal deflects metal, duh– but a bush is just a bunch of leaves and twigs that decided to hang out together. Back in the day, though, there was not enough programming space to account for bush density AND pointy polygonal half-nude women at the same time. Guess which one won out. Still, it’s so natural to duck into a hedge when things are going wrong that it stuck around.
Apparently shipping routes and shootout locations intersect a whole ton. You’d be hard-pressed to find a shooter that doesn’t contain a cube made for transport, whether large or small. Portal even had one as a straight-up buddy! This one is obvious, as a cube is to 3D games what the pixel was to 2D games. Of course designers will make a bunch of them metal and stick them everywhere. They are the cover version of comfort food.
1. Other people
All these forms of cover are great. But can they scream for help? Aside from a very specific hedge, no. Arnold Schwartzenegger taught us this in Total Recall: body shields are very demoralizing to enemies when alive and very absorbent of bullets when dead. Hitman: Blood Money perfected this mechanic, basically giving you a Grab Screaming Bystander button. Just don’t use a person like a screaming barrier in real life, though. On top of being extremely illegal and morally wrong, using a real body to stop bullets from about 5 or so cops as they chase you for a heist that your buddy totally botched even though we planned this for week doesn’t work quite as well as it does in a game. Theoretically, of course.