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Terror. From. Space!

As I finish up on Asura's Wrath and move onto Mass Effect 3: Mass Effectier, I figured it's about time to address why games tend to have horrible giant monsters from the furthest reaches of space. The short answer is: "Lovecraft is a pretty cool guy. Eh writes books about space monsters and does afraid of everything." The slightly longer and less stupid answer is: An always popular direction for narrative fiction to take, especially that of video games where it has to build up to something indescribably terrible and powerful for the player to fight, is to visit man's ignorance of the greater cosmos and the types of horrors it might hold for us should we one day have the opportunity to find out for ourselves what's out there. It's why Star Trek was awesome, why X-Files was occasionally so terrifying and why Cthulhu has a plush toy.

List items

  • Big crayfish robots that systematically wipe out all organic life every few Ice Ages. Apparently you'll know what they're all about by the end of Mass Effect 3. I'm not there yet, but I hear it's completely stupid. So that'll be fun?

  • Jenova is a biological lifeform that descended from the stars and caused such a fracas on the planet of Final Fantasy VII that it almost wiped out a species of advanced humans and convinced the planet to create a legion of super-tough badasses to deal with it. Though eventually overshadowed by a white-haired dude with mommy issues, Jenova remains an eldritch presence with abilities that are never really explained by the game, nor by any of the game's considerable volume of extended universe nonsense. Apparently viral-based horrors from the cosmos aren't as interesting as bishounen dudes with big swords?

  • Not the Final Fantasy VII meteor per se, since we have that game covered, but rather the evil one in Maniac Mansion. The Purple Meteor is the well-hidden antagonist of that game, directing the Edison family from the basement and killing anyone who goes near it unprotected. There are various ways of stopping its mad plans, such as giving it a lucrative writing career. If you've ever wondered what Patrick's hair is concealing...

  • Lavos is everyone's favorite enormous pine cone world-parasite abomination. It's one of the few genuinely chilling JRPG antagonists, because its motives and thought processes are utterly alien to us. More so than that, is the idea that its existence has been a constant since prehistory and is responsible for so much of that world's history that it throws into question whether something with such permanence could ever be defeated.

  • Screw Sonic, this is the Dark Gaia of Illusion of same. Dark Gaia's a similar case as Lavos in that it has been rapidly advancing humanity's evolution since it first approached Earth orbit in the distant past, actively improving us while at the same time turning other lifeforms into monsters. The reveal of what the world becomes after DG's influence is finally removed is one of Illusion of Gaia's biggest mind-fucks, so I'll leave those who have yet to play to discover it for themselves.

  • Now, video games have had all sorts of crazy theories about the nature of God, and it's generally not always positive. The specific example I'm thinking of turns up at the end of Shadow Hearts and is only called God for lack of something better to call a giant space thingie that can change reality with its mind. It's one of Shadow Hearts' greatest unknown mysteries in a game rife with them and, unlike Necron, still feels entirely germane to the story it's telling.

  • Eternal Darkness doesn't skimp on the extra-dimensional space deities either. Likewise inspired by Lovecraft, it has three constrasting Elder Ones eternally warring among each other like some terrible, colossal game of roshambo. This one is a giant space lobster and likes violence. Its favorite color is red.

  • Xel'lotath is a green space lady octopus thing. Her turn ons are illusions, long walks on the beach and the mental enslavement of all lesser forms of life i.e. humans. Its favorite color is green.

  • This one is a big old jellyfish. It likes dwelling on eternity with its continent-sized brain, distorting space/time and is also fond of puppies. Its favorite color is blue.

  • Nyx is the moon. In a little more detail; Nyx is a deity posing as the moon that controls the cycle of life and death on Earth, at least according to Persona 3. It attempted to eradicate all life as per our nihilistic wishes, because mankind is apparently comprised entirely of petulant teenagers. Dunno about you guys, but I am totally okay with not being killed by a giant moon goddess creature. By the way, the Shin Megami Tensei franchise LIVES for this eldritch horror shit.

  • The Moon is also the moon. Majora decided controlling the Skull Kid alone was insufficient and decided to hijack our satellite and crash it into a town full of sullen weirdos much like Slim Pickens and the nuke in Dr Strangelove. Kubrick analogies, my droogs!

  • I just wanted to bring up the Orz in a list again. The Orz are your friends! Just don't press them for the whereabouts of the Androsynth race that used to live in their region of space. Seriously, don't.

  • Everyone loves a spaceskulltopus that's also a ghost? Kind of? Completely inexplicable, even for Metroid. I could've put the Metroids here too, but they get a bit more of a backstory thanks to Metroid Fusion (for better or worse, depending on whether or not you think Metroid even needs backstory).

  • Oh God, what the fuck? WHY the fuck? Fucking Drakengard.

  • I don't even know any more. These space horrors start getting Evangelion weird after a while.