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The Top 10 Games Based on a Real World Profession

Games are considered a form of escapism – sometimes we need to chill out after a hard day at work or school, and what better way than pretending that you are someone else? Someone who is actually good at what they do. This list concerns games based on things that real people do in real life. Sorry, but terrorists and Counter Strike elites don’t count; I’ve also excluded sports such as boxing, snowboarding and football, just because it makes things too complicated. For those who dream of being somebody else, give the following ten gems a shot.

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10: Firefighter – Burning Rangers (Saturn)
Action games and mass destruction go hand in hand. We gamers especially love it when things explode for no good reason. However, in 1998, Team Sonic did something a little different to the norm – instead of playing the role of a pyromaniac, Burning Rangers slipped you into the flame-resistant boots of a futuristic firefighter, complete with a fire suppression gun and a jet pack. The objectives were simple: rescue all the stranded survivors and in the process of doing so, reduce every raging inferno into smoky embers. The game comprises only four relatively short levels, but it still offers a high degree of replay value thanks to the randomisation of hazards and an excellent competitive grading system. This is one of Sonic Team’s finest moments, sadly gone unnoticed due to the waning popularity of the Sega Saturn at the time of its release.

9: Farmer – Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (GBA)
Let’s face it – no-one dreams of becoming a farmer. You shear the sheep, you sow the seeds, you manage the crop harvests, and you clean the stables until the cows come home – at which point you milk them. Repeat ad nauseum. It’s ironic then, that Harvest Moon succeeds in translating these seemingly menial tasks into a management simulator which proves to be inexplicably satisfying. With Friends of Mineral Town, maybe it’s the feeling of being in total control that draws you in, that the survival of your livestock depends on your ability to make quick and competent judgment calls. Or perhaps it’s because you can flirt with, and then later marry one of six local cutie pies, at which point you can finally rest your laurels and reap the rewards. And hey, even the great Harvest Goddess herself is fair game!

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8: Photographer – Pokemon Snap (Wii VC)
So i herd you liek mudkipz. Well, too bad – there aren’t any here! But don’t fret, you still have “Bulbasaur, Charmander, Golem… Pikachu!” (Ok, not Golem, but I had to work the Pokerap in there somehow.) The objective of Pokemon Snap is to take report-worthy photographs of the myriad Pokemon in their natural habitats. Professor Oak scores each photo you take based on certain criteria such as the Pokemon’s size, pose, and how well you captured them performing a signature technique. Pokemon Snap is a short and simple on-rails affair where you point-and-click rather than point-and-shoot to kill. Ergo, if I heard wrongly and you in fact DON’T like Mudkips and others of its ilk, you’d be best to give this ride a pass. For the rest of you, hop aboard via Wii.

7: Scuba Diver – Endless Ocean (Wii)
Scuba diving is one of the most rewarding lifetime experiences you can have; the deep sea is truly an oyster in our world. As miniscule clown fish brush past your nose, and pods of dolphins playfully flank you from behind, before propelling themselves yonder, you’ll be amazed at the unparalleled “depth” that our vast oceans offer us. That is, of course, IF you have opportunity, and spare cash, to pursue this physically demanding activity. For those who aren’t able to Scuba dive, for whatever reason, Endless Ocean awaits you on the Wii. Much in the same vein as Nintendo’s own Animal Crossing, Endless Ocean is less about tangible development and more about living it real – perhaps even more so. Never has a diving simulator been so vast, with several dozens- no, hundreds(!) of aquatic wildlife to discover – from schools of butterflyfish, parrotfish and similar shrimp-sized marine life such as sea slugs and horseshoe crabs, through to much larger species including octopi, manta rays, polar bears (on land, of course), eels and even a gigantic sperm whale! It’s about as close to the ocean as you can get without having to dip your toes in water.

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6: Chef – Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends (DS)
Your mama’s so phat, she’s a pro at Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends! It’s pretty obvious what this series is all about – although I’m sure most gamers won’t have a clue what you’re actually supposed to do (in real-life). No matter; knowing how to use a rice cooker is not a prerequisite to having a good time with Mama. Everything from chopping up the vegetables and beating the eggs, to deep-frying the meat and setting up the dinner plate is handled remarkably well with the stylus. It’s dead simple, surprisingly addictive, and if you screw up, Mama’s there to save the day. Even if you did turn that slab of steak into a pile of charcoal.

5: Secret Operative – Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (Xbox)
Do you know what Third Echelon is? No? Well, there’s a good reason why you don’t. Third Echelon is a black-ops division of the National Security Agency, specialising in reconnaissance, espionage, and the covert neutralisation of any threats to society. One of their top operatives, Sam Fisher, a “Splinter Cell”, is the master of stealth. You are Sam Fisher. If your enemy is in range, so too are you. But assimilate into the shadows and they won’t suspect a thing until it’s too late – when you jump them from behind, knife to throat. This is the basis of the Splinter Cell games, albeit with a Black and Decker inventory of high-tech toys that allows Fisher to play professional pervert with the world’s most notorious terrorists.

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4: Surgeon – Trauma Center: Under the Knife (DS)
Surgery is all about cutting up people and/or animals. You need to be a qualified doctor unless you don’t mind a lawsuit rammed up your ass (a Ph.D in Medieval History doesn’t count). Not all of us have the time and dedication (and brains) to pursue such a demanding profession. Thankfully for such people, there’s Trauma Center. Placing stitches is as simple as zig-zagging across an open wound, haemostasis is easily achieved with the application of an all-purpose ointment, and go crazy with the lasers – there’s absolutely no risk of permanent scarring! Sure, it’s not entirely representative of the real deal, but it’s fun and extremely addictive. Eradicating the G.U.I.L.T. virus and saving lives is one thing, but do it like a pro and you’ll gain coveted S or even XS ranks – and we all know that’s what really matters at the end of the day.

3: Hitman – Hitman: Blood Money (Xbox 360)
This is perhaps the most difficult profession to enter in real life; unless you have a death wish, I don’t recommend trying. Instead, why don’t you give Hitman a go? You have your targets, now go kill them. Guns? Chloroform? Optical fiber cables? A little more lighter fluid into the BBQ? … The beauty of Hitman is that you are the mastermind, as well as the executioner. Play it safe and stash every body you disarm in a freezer or locker. An unavoidable confrontation? Grab the guy next to you and use him as a human shield, capping him once you no longer require his assistance. How about infiltrating your mark’s humble abode dressed as a clown, and blowing his henchmen away at point blank range? Yeah, I knew you’d like that. Go for it. Do it your own way – for they are all potential means to a successful and grisly end.

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2: Musician – Rock Band (PS3)
You are either talented or talentless – there is no between. If you have a voice that would make a warthog weep, please refrain from singing; if your fingers are too chubby to navigate the fretboard of a guitar without causing dissonance, forget about being a guitar hero. But if you really, really put your mind to it, you CAN do it… just not for real. Bear in mind that lip synching and playing the air guitar is just plain silly; try Rock Band instead! Lead guitar, bass, drums and vocals: you needn’t any prior experience – just pick it up and play. Some rhythmic coordination does help, though; the idea is to keep the whole band going as one – that’s when the magic happens, and the songs go from awesome to “overdrive”!

1: Attorney – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)
What would the world be like without lawyers? An inhospitable wasteland full of creeps? Or an amicable society free of backstabbing SOBs? Either way, everyone knows that you can’t live them, nor can you live without them. Meet Phoenix Wright. He’s a nobody who wants to become a somebody, and what better way to claim fame than to take down evil-doers in the court of law? The Ace Attorney series of text-based adventures makes a light-hearted mockery of real-life courtroom dramas: there’s murder, subterfuge and conspiracy theories abound, all infused with a healthy dose of humour – I mean, where else would you find a vixen of a prosecutor sporting a whip in court? Or how about an introverted ventriloquist who testifies through his dummy? And let’s not go into Phoenix’s deceased mentor who communicates with him from the afterlife by possessing her own little sister – complete with an increase in height, a facial makeover, and some rather impressive breast augmentation. It’s too bad that this sort of stuff doesn’t happen in real life eh?

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You only have one life, and between work, friends, family, indoor and outdoor pursuits, there’s not a lot of time left for much else. Did you ever wish you could be any of these professionals? Are you one of these professionals? Being a chef is good and all, but wouldn’t it be swell if you were a master chef who could take amazing photos of your own creations? Maybe thwart a juvenile arsonist by quickly dousing the fire he started in the storage room and then shoving him into a freezer? Later, you could surgically remove his innards and use them as ingredients for your next award-winning recipe, and if anyone attempts to ostracise you from society due to your insanity, you can rely on your busty semi-dead mentor to help you avoid being convicted. One can only dream.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2007.

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