There’s something evident in video games, something serious that needs addressing; nobody goes to the toilet. Well, that’s not entirely true, as there are plenty of video games where you can use the toilet – the most recent of my knowledge being South Park: The Stick of Truth, in which you can use the toilet, pick up your turd and chuck it at enemies. As far as I know, this is one of the only games where going to the toilet affects the game.
In No More Heroes and Dead Rising, going to the toilet saves the game, but both of these games are comedies, as is the general use of the toilet in video games. Take Sleeping Dogs for example, in that you can use the toilet, but it doesn’t achieve anything – all you get out of it is watching a man have a pee, and if that isn’t your thing then you likely wouldn’t be watching that scene often, unless you find it particularly amusing. In the Fallout series, you can gain some health and rads by drinking from toilets – but that isn’t using the toilet for its intended purpose.
In The Sims your sims of course use the toilet for their intended purpose, but you expect them to. Animal Crossing doesn’t though, despite the fact that you can place a toilet in your house (or hundreds of ‘em if Flushing Meadows is your thing) – you can sit on them, and when you get off, they flush, but it doesn’t achieve anything. If you can eat food in Animal Crossing, why can’t you crap it out? It is logical and would only make the game better.
Everyone needs and uses the toilet, but why do game developers neglect the throne room? It’s an important part of everyday life and in these days of developers striving for more and more realism, so why don’t video game characters need the toilet? Because it’s gross? Because it is just another feature to add into a game that is already filled with content? Both, probably, but just imagine a video game where your character needs the toilet – that would be essential gaming.
It is natural that we find toilet-use either funny or embarrassing, but it is something that could change games – survival-horror games in particular. It only makes sense that in video games where the characters don’t eat or drink anything that they would not need the toilet, but what about in games where they do? Lone Survivor is a game where you are reminded to eat, which heals you and makes your character less drowsy (which helps your character to sleep, and sleeping while hungry probably ain’t a great idea). However, this is a survival-horror game, and your character suddenly needing to drop his kids off at the pool could add yet another layer of tension.
Indeed, even in a game like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can eat copious amounts without ever needing the loo. Scenario time: while fighting an enemy, you need to heal, so you eat a delicious shank of some kind of meat to do so, but oh, what’s that? Your poo bar is filled. Crap. What to do? You can’t run, you feel too bad and it lowers your inventory limit, fighting isn’t as quick as you need the toilet too much to swing your sword or use magic or whatever – you get killed, you should have gone before you left.
I think the best use of a toilet in a game however could have been in any zombie game. Scenario time #02: You are scavenging for materials, weapons, anything, but nature calls – you need to find somewhere safe and secluded, ideally a bathroom where you can lock the door. However, having a dump takes time, and those noises you’re making? This is the ideal time to be surrounded by zombies, clawing at the door, just dying to get their hands on you for their own selfish needs – zombies aren’t well known for their manners. The employment of the toilet in a zombie game in particular could add just another layer of tension, people would love it.
So, who’s with me? Who else wants the toilet to be more present in video games…? No-one? Well, to be honest, neither do I, video games are for escapism, they are definitely not for watching someone relieve themselves – if I wanted to do that I’d go to the urinal, and that wouldn’t be weird. Now, I hope that you can tell that I am not taking this very seriously, but for just once I thought this website could do with a classy article, something really high-brow – I hope to have filled that void with my crap.
Toby Saunders is sometimes opinionated, and you’ll find him posting garbage about games, films and his beloved Spurs and Bath City FC on Twitter.