I’ve done so many horrible things in Fall Guys, and I regret absolutely none of them.
Your average Fall Guys player is probably younger, attracted to the game by its fast pace and bright colors. They’re fresh, unspoiled souls, free from the crushing weight of societal pressures, capitalism, and knowledge of the U.S government. They’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And I can’t stand it. I have to do something about it.
I have a confession to make, although it’s not really a confession; that implies some kind of guilt or remorse for my actions that I just don’t have. You see, I’m a Fall Guys bully. That’s right, I’m the one standing on that cylinder in Slime Climb, denying passage to the jellybean boys fleeing the encroaching slime, or at the top of the climb itself, sending folks flying off that last slippery path. If you’ve ever been grabbed right before a jump, shoved off a platform, or otherwise hassled by another player, it was either me or one of my kin.
To be honest, half of why I do what I do is because I really, truthfully, do want to ruin someone’s game. Don’t look at me like that; lose that twisted face of holier-than-thou disgust, you’ve thought it too. Part of why anyone plays games where one person ends up winning is that feeling of bettering someone. And while you may put limits on how you get to that point, other players don’t.
I also play a lot of fighting games, and if you’ve read any of my other articles on DualShockers, you may know that I’m a fan of Super Smash Bros. Melee. At the competitive level, it’s a highly technical masterpiece where every input counts, where an inch pushed on the joystick can, quite literally, alter the outcome of a game. With a top-level that’s so incredibly demanding to reach, what do you think players do when they get there? Just use their newfound power and knowledge to win? No, they abuse the hell out of it; they make other people miserable.
Take for instance the clip below from one of my favorite players, UYU n0ne, a Ganondorf and Captain Falcon main. I’ve been a longtime fan of him because he plays characters in a way that nobody else really does. And because he’s incredibly disrespectful. When he’s playing better than you, you don’t just know it because he has more stocks, he’s letting you know by the way he’s taking your stocks. You’re getting styled on; there’s no opportunity for you to make an input, and even when you do, it’s the wrong one.
Clip of the Night 11/08/20
The Triple Bond pic.twitter.com/iAEOd1OA94
— UYU丨n0ne (@n0ned) August 12, 2020
Bullying in Fall Guys is obviously a far cry from being a top-tier player in Melee. There’s no technical skill in Fall Guys; I haven’t honed this craft for years upon years, this is a stupid game where you play as a walking jelly bean that trips every five steps. Still, I can’t help but get the same thrill that I’d get from absolutely bodying someone in Melee when I shove a player off the stage in Fall Guys. When I end someone’s run, I know that I’ve just ruined their game, and I live for it. I can almost imagine them getting angry a la Tim The Tat Man, slamming a fist into their desk before queuing back up. It’s hilarious every time.
But like I said, that feeling is only half of the why behind my chaotic-evil behavior. Namely, it’s the evil part; it requires conscious decision making. But sometimes you have to embrace the chaos, and if anything Fall Guys is chaotic. So much so that you may be bullying other players without even knowing it. Did you make it through with the rest of the Black Friday rush in Door Dash? You probably pushed some poor sap out of the way, leaving them trampled, disheartened and defeated at the end of the pack. Or maybe in Tip Toe you accidentally bumped into someone when the group inevitably clumps together on the last safe tile, sending them onto one that instantly poofs away.
In Fall Guys, bullying isn’t always a choice; most of the time, it’s just the game itself. You shove people out of the way to make sure you reach the end first, or at least don’t get disqualified. If someone’s about to make it past you and the number of qualified players is one away from being full, what are you doing not holding someone back so you can make it through? It’s all bullying, and it’s all part of the game: sometimes you just take note of it.
When I’m done playing Fall Guys, I log off satisfied. I hope that what I did left a mark, and not a pretty one. I’ve knocked a few players off the map of Slime Climb, dragged another player to their grave in a final round; I’ve done everything I could to leave a mark as ugly as possible.
Fall Guys wouldn’t be the same without those marks, without its bullies. They, we, make up a part of the game. Everyone has a memory of being shoved off the map in Fall Guys, everyone falls victim to bullying at one point or another. Without that collective memory, Fall Guys simply wouldn’t be the same. It would be too kind, but even worse, it would be too easy.
I’m certainly not telling you to thank in-game bullies like me, we’re terrible for what we do. But it’s a necessary evil, one that completes the Fall Guys package. We’re a part of the story in each game – the story of someone’s victory or their defeat. Regardless, how you remember us is up to you.