What's better: Going to the roof, or one in the bedroom?

What’s better: Going to the roof, or one in the bedroom?

Last time, you decided that breech-loading grenade launchers were better than creating blueprints. Ruin on creation. Mayhem on the order. Destruction on the structure. This week, I ask you to choose between joyful intrusion and shrewd preparation. What’s better: going to the roof, or one in the bedroom?

Go to the roof

I could convince you of the tactical merits of going to the roof. You can see farther, you can scout, you can move around unseen, you can bump into people, it’s a great place to shoot, you’re out of range of melee enemies, you’re out of the shadows to collect solar power, you can navigate by the stars, you can gaze at the stars, you can enjoy the city stretching out in front of you, you can jump from building to building, you can walk around a city without getting trapped by traffic or cops, and you can collect rainwater. Of course, this is all practical. It is convenient. But the reason I like being on the roof the most is because everyone knows you’re not allowed on the roof.

Wait, I’m not sure any of us are supposed to be here

Video games are a hotbed of intrusion. From secret government facilities to our neighbors’ homes, we’ll go anywhere we’re not invited if the game allows us to. Often it’s not just allowed, not just encouraged, it’s required. Either you break into this nuclear missile base or I guess you can close the game and imagine the end of the world. And those dramatic no-go places pale in comparison to going to the rooftop. You could get in trouble if you get on the roof!

The rooftop is a dream destination. As a child, what a thrill it was to be allowed onto the roof once while the scaffolding was being repaired. As an adult living in London, I surreptitiously tried to see if one could bypass the locked roof ladder of our building and climb up there for a summer barbecue. And now, technically, I can get on the roof. The roof access hatch is right outside my door, my landlord keeps a sturdy ladder in my broom closet, and I even went there once. But no, I couldn’t get on the roof anytime. You could fall! You could pass through! Worse still, you could break a tile and get yourself into so much trouble!

If video games are about power fantasies, one of my fantasies is being able to get on the roof without getting scolded. I love running and battling through them, and I appreciate those precious moments when games allow me to sit down with a friend and soak up the sights.

One in the bedroom

Like drafting/slipstreaming, having an extra cartridge in a gun is something that seems invented for video games, even if it’s very real. It’s simple: if you don’t detonate all your loaded ammo, in many games you will have an extra bullet in your gun after reloading, a leftover from the previous magazine. This is how many real guns work. In games, it looks like a treat.

I know the devs intentionally created this behavior and balanced the game with that in mind, but I feel like I’m cheating a bit, taking a cheeky advantage. I can’t think of a single specific moment when that extra bullet was the difference between life and death, but each time it makes me feel very prepared. Hell, I compulsively reload all the time, so I rarely reach for that bonus bullet, but I’m glad to know I have it. How clever of me. How careful of me. How deadly of me.

But what is better?

Even though the lyrics “Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole, Nate Dogg is about to chill some bodies” were going through my head as I was writing this, I gotta get to the roof. Who’s gonna stop me! But what do you think, dear reader?

Choose your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your point in the comments to convince others. We will meet again next week to see which thing will triumph and continue the great contest.

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