Full Throttle’s Great Relationship

This week I’ve been trying to think about a relationship between a man and a woman in a game where they become close, but don’t actually have romantic involvement or a silly damsel in distress situation. There’s a strange set up that is echoed throughout our culture that [heterosexual] men and women can’t be friends, just like in Billy Crystal’s famous speech in When Harry Met Sally. ‘You realise of course that we can never be friends. …Men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.’ ‘I have a number of men friends…’ ‘They all wanna have sex with you. No man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.’

Well BILLY CRYSTAL. Why don’t we start up Full Throttle and prove you wrong you silly Monsters Inc-voicing maniac.

I sat about trying to think of a game that has a better opening than the Lucasarts classic point and click Full Throttle and I completely failed. It’s great for many reasons: that marbled blue sky, that opening line.

“Whenever I smell asphalt, I think of Maureen.”

It’s the Raiders of the Lost Ark of games openings, it’s so precise and good that it’s got this real kick of joy in it. The voiceover is so full of expression – Ben’s character is played by the late great Roy Conrad, and his gravelly musings are just perfect for this role. But the main reason this is a masterpiece is because the storytelling is just ugh, MWAH MWAH MWAH. It’s lean as hell and packs this giant haymaker of a setup. The smell of asphalt, “And the first thing I saw when I woke up was her face”. Game design mastermind Tim Schafer manages to foreshadow something that will happen in the future and an important character to this game in just a few punchy lines.

“Yeah, when I think of Maureen I think of two things: asphalt, and TROUBLE.”

Then it effortlessly moves on to Corley and Ripburger in the hover limo, discussing the main Stuff of the plot, and then Ben jumps his bike straight over the limo and gets a Gone Jackals track for his entrance. Credits roll in.

It’s perfect! So concise. Nothing is wasted. You immediately want to know what’s going to happen. You want to be along, ahem, for the ride. And Maureen’s face hasn’t even turned up yet.

When Ben first encounters Maureen, he’s been knocked off the road by some biker punk who disrespected him and punched him the face, totalling his bike. The coolest thing about Maureen is that she is hilarious enough to put on a welding mask so that men who are passed out in her company will think that she is an alien when they come to in her workshop.

Maureen, when I was a kid with the giant screen of our Viglen-branded personal computer looming over me, seemed like the coolest woman I had ever conceived of in my life. There are so many ways in which she exploded my brain apart.

1. Maureen is a mechanic in a video game. She fixes bikes. It’s not treated as something special by the other characters, it gets no fanfare. That’s just what she does. I had never seen a woman just have a job, a menial job like that, in a game before.

2. Maureen has the side of her ear pierced. TWICE.

3. Maureen has a badass tattoo on her neck.

4. She wants to fix a bike for Ben, partly because she is a helpful and nice person, but you also suspect that it is because she is hugely interested in bikes. She’s got her own little agenda and it has nothing to do with you.

5. She has this wonderful wry kind of smile, and a very good sense of humour – ‘Send me a postcard from the ambush!’ – she’s charismatic and happy in herself. She is a contented woman who just completes the task in front of her. It’s clear she’s had a rough life – grew up on a mink farm, displaced from a family fortune and her mother passed away. But she is in no way bitter or anguished. She’s just fine.

6. Her low voice is something I want to call ‘handsome’.

7. She is not a person who ever needs rescuing, even though in this game all the action belongs to your main character, Ben. She still seems like a main character, though you never ever have control of her.

8. She has a biker gang. A BIKER GANG. And the gang is mostly composed of BIKER WOMEN. The biker gang also has cool badass woman Suzi who happens to be fat, and her body shape is not a source of ridicule.

9. She has no idea players are looking at her like the women of Dead Or Alive are aware that players are looking at them. She purely exists for herself and not for how a man might look at her. She just wears the clothes that assist what she’s doing: grease-smudged loose overalls or, at the end, a suit. This doesn’t stop Mo from being ridiculously sexy, if that’s your thing.

10. Maureen in no way expected or expressed a wish to be romanced, kissed or fondled by the gruff hunk of testosterone that is the main character in this game. I did not even know that it was possible, at that young age of gaming, to have a man and a woman main character not immediately want to kiss each other. Even Mulder and Scully eventually wanted to kiss each other! Maureen didn’t even care! What the heck! What sort of incredible human is this! She even has her own bike shop and the bike shop (where she fixes toasters, times are hard) is the only thing she cares about. In fact, the main character is the one that comes to care about Mo. You find a photograph of her and her uncle, you come to understand her family politics, you discover that she was the product of her father being unfaithful to his wife, you come to feel sadness and empathy for Mo’s father and you want to help put her in charge of Corley Motors. All of this is done without ever making Mo look weak or helpless, you never feel like she is out of control of a situation. She is never made to look like an object that Ben moves around a map. She’s a person!

(Aside: Maureen sort of reminds me of RPS’s Alice O’ Connor a little bit, but obviously ten year old me had no idea who that was or even had no idea that Rock Paper Shotgun would come into existence and I would write for it about Maureen ‘Mo’ Corley in 2015.)

There’s a moment in Full Throttle in which you assume that Maureen is going to be kidnapped by Ripburger’s henchman, but she takes him out effortlessly and heads off on her bike. For the rest of the game, Maureen suspects Ben of killing her father and becomes the main source of trouble for him. She steals his boost fuel, she holes herself up in a hideout that is hidden behind a goddamn minefield. She makes you resort to using small mechanical bunnies to get to her base. Then she tries to pull you apart by tying rope to your limbs and having her biker gang pull you in opposing directions. Essentially Maureen has become a side boss.

The thing is, there’s genuinely a feeling, just like in Fate Of Atlantis, another adventure game I wrote about in this column, that the male and female character really are equal counterparts. They joke around with each other ‘Remember that time you tried to kill me?’ ‘Yeah… We really TAUGHT you a lesson… Geddit??’ but there’s only chemistry between Ben and Mo as far as they like each other. They get on. They are similar people. In fact, there’s a sense that perhaps Ben might feel a little more enamoured with Mo, but never pushes it or pursues it, perhaps in part because he really respects her, just like the player does. At the end of the game, the two sit awkwardly in a limo together (cars aren’t their thing) and Mo says, ‘So…. maybe we could do lunch sometime next week?’ Ben replies that he thinks lunch sounds great. But Mo gets a business phonecall, and there’s a sense that this is who she is now. The businesswoman. Ben leaves the limo and rides off into the sunset, and who even knows if they will have that lunch.

But the thing is, maybe that’s the most romantic relationship of all. The relationship in which you both like each other, and don’t have to do a thing about it.

All the previous S.EXE columns are listed here in a hot mess of empathetic exchange.

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75 Comments

Top comments

  1. Rizlar says:

    Fuck you, Billy Crystal!
  1. Christopha says:

    I thought it was Nathan Lane in Monsters Inc? I have nothing of value to add.

    • Hebrind says:

      Have you ever watched anything by JonTron? My little brother introduced me to a video or three of his, and throughout the entirety of the videos, all I could think was, “Man, this guy sounds like Timon.”

  2. Urthman says:

    That can’t-be-friends nonsense implies that either (1) a given man will find any woman at all sexually attractive, which seems not to be the case, or (2) men will only make friends with women they find sexually attractive, which is either false or pathetic.

    • WarningTrack says:

      Eh? In regards to (1) the quote specifically says “No man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive.” So, not applicable. This, in turn, also means point (2) isn’t applicable, either.

      This is all taking it far too seriously, anyway. We don’t need to have a “not always!” argument any time someone makes a generalization that’s true in many cases, but not all. Especially when the source is a fictional character sacrificing a little nuance for the sake of being more quotable or dramatic.

      • Alamech says:

        I’d like to agree, but some people do feel the need to deny a stated assumption which cannot be true, and I do not fault them for that. Especially with a quote like this and the notion it tries to cement, it is so iconic and has maybe poisoned a whole generation (generalisations, yeah!); people live by their truths and don’t question them all that often. Thinking about it, I find it more annoying that this idea (that attraction excludes friendship and that attraction must be sexual) has hindered many a friendship and shrouded the general ideas of wo/men. Also, as it happened in Urthmans comment, the attraction-part often falls under the table, and then it just states that women and men cannot be friends (siblings are a different thing).
        I think it is reasonable to openly disagree with this quote, once, any time it comes up. Even when the context in which the quote appears does that already? Well, I’m not sure on that, but I think that quotes and aphorisms and rhymes and such are too often taken too seriously and cutting them to size does not take much space, in my eyes it’s an acceptable amount of hassle. (I just watched those two scenes again, and he’s really just blurting lame circular absolutes, but he sounds smart enough and self-assured, he talks fast, which subtly implies that he knows what he’s talking about and makes it hart to follow his ‘reasoning’ and then he has this one catchy sentence. People often don’t remember the reasoning behind their beliefs, just that it has been explained to them and that they agreed or couldn’t disprove it)

        • Premium User Badge

          keithzg says:

          Yeah, and I’ve always found the idea of “men and women can’t be friends if one is attracted to the other”, especially the formulation quoted here from When Harry Met Sally, just baffling. I mean, perhaps most fundamentally, what about being sexually attracted to somebody makes being “merely” friends impossible if they don’t reciprocate the attraction, or just don’t wish to act on it for one reason or another? Is everyone still just 13-year-olds, unable to handle any aspect of desire being thwarted by reality and/or circumstances? Yet it is indeed an assertion that, to varying degrees and with different permutations, pops up quite a bit in our culture.

          • jrodman says:

            Well, I’m not a straight man or a woman, but as a gay man I’m friends with a lot of people I find attractive and it doesn’t explode or whatever. So I do think this is *probably* nonsense.

            As a movie element, I’m fine with it though. That character believed that stuff. Other people in the movie don’t.

        • Rizlar says:

          Fuck you, Billy Crystal!

        • Distec says:

          Billy Crystal: Poisoning generations.

  3. Aerothorn says:

    This x100.

    Cara, I think you now have to conclude this trilogy by writing about the relationship between Manny and Meche.

    Bonus points: The fact that Grim Fandango tries (and succeeds) to achieve sexualization with characters who literally have no sexual organs. Which is par for the course in commercial video games, usually it’s just figurative rather than literal.

    • 9of9 says:

      I so want to read this! …and I have nothing more useful to contribute, except for really wanting to see that article happen =)

  4. Frosty Grin says:

    This week I’ve been trying to think about a relationship between a man and a woman in a game where they become close, but don’t actually have romantic involvement or a silly damsel in distress situation.

    There is this kind of relationship in, of all the games, Need for Speed: The Run. As a bonus, the woman is being played by Christina Hendricks. The story, as one might expect, isn’t special, and there’s little to no character development, but, to my surprise, the game portrayed this genuine, powerful, tender friendship between them.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Lol, a car game with a story. Pull the other one.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        I’ve been playing the Crew recently, which is a car game with a story. A car game with a car game story. An Ubisoft car game with an Ubisoft car game story.

        It veers between painful and unintentionally hilarious. Mostly painful.

  5. The Laughing Owl says:

    That’s nice but is it only acceptable for women to make articles about sex on gaming websites nowadays?

    • AngoraFish says:

      To be fair, outside of straight porn, this has more or less been the case in the media for at least the last 40 years. Try to imagine, for example, a male equivalent of Dr. Ruth.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      ‘Make’ articles?

      • Premium User Badge

        keithzg says:

        And then we do comments under the articles! Excuse me, I have thirst, gotta go take a glass of water.

    • Monggerel says:

      Well, Mr Gillen wrote on related subjects back when he was with RPS and I reckon he was pretty fucking good at it, too. Walked a pretty fine line between tactful and… Idunno… kind of brazen? too. Like his article on the Sims. Or (dear lord) the one on Beautiful Escape.

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      Oh, The Laughing Owl, why must people like you always turn everything into sexism, eh, you ol’ social justice skeleton.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I think a more interesting flip on this would be “If women feel they want to talk about this predominantly, should they, given that it might arouse suspicion that they are only allowed to write those kind of articles due to external forces?”

      What I am saying is I constantly find it fascinating how much of stereotypes and prejudice is also reproduced by the supposed anti-prejudice people. There shouldn’t be any bewilderment, amazement or question on anything in the first place. A girl is a mechanic? So what, its a learnable craft. A man is a nurse? So what. A girl writes about sex? A guy writes about sex? So fucking what?
      Its stopping to constantly be bothered by things that creates the whole divide in the first place, if you ask me.

      Which, by the way, is why I think “the unspeakable one” is also on the wrong crusade path big time.

      Learning equality means learning to NOT care(egalite – egality – not caring), and not to constantly over-care about everything. But that’s something people don’t really want to do or understand.

      • arisian says:

        The issue is that “learning to not care” is a lot harder than it seems. “Not thinking about it” or “not discussing it” do not naturally lead to “not caring.”

        The goal behind pointing out problematic trends (or highlighting counter-examples) is to bring awareness to biases which might otherwise be unconsciously held. Once you’re aware you have a bias, it becomes possible to try to “learn not to care.” If you’re not even (consciously) aware you have the bias, you’re never going to go to the effort to learn not to care about it (since you’re not even aware it’s something you need to learn).

        The long term goal is to “learn to not care,” it’s just that ignoring the problem is not always the best way to get there. Sometimes you need to drain the wound for it to heal; yes, it’s messy and painful, but it’s still better than letting it fester.

        Note that “you” here is used generically; I’m not trying to criticize anyone, I’m just explaining the general logic behind this type of discussion.

      • djsoren says:

        This.

        I feel like the world would honestly be a better place if everyone could stop caring about stupid stuff like this. I stopped a long time ago. That’s not to say that the world will suddenly be sunshine and rainbows. People will still hate and senselessly attack each other, just as we do now. But at the very least, it won’t be over something as stupid as color, gender, or sexuality.

        At the end of the day, we’re all humans. In my opinion, that’s a sin enough. Do we really need to keep throwing the political shit back and forth across the line? Neither side of any argument like this ever seems to be completely in the right or wrong, so why bother? Why care?

        This article is a good way of showing both sides can shove off, and this comment is a great philosophy.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      I feel like Kieron Gillen, Yannick LeJacq and everyone at Gay Gamer would like a word with you

  6. James says:

    Reading this reminds me of the relationships in Mass Effect. No romance required – just femShep, James and Joker grabbing some drinks on the Citadel. Even when you flirt with Joker he just says something along the lines of ‘nah, I’m good thanks’, though he may have had his eyes on something else at the time.

  7. lupinewolf says:

    Loved this article, thanks for reminding me of many things I had forgotten about FT

  8. Shazbut says:

    Great article. Really important to highlight cases where this type of thing is done well.

    Their relationship is so much stronger for her being a strong character. There’s really no downsides to this whole “real human woman” thing. I highly recommend it, games industry.

    • Coming Second says:

      It requires thought, not reaching for lazy tropes and easily marketable concepts. There’s your downside.

  9. Spacewalk says:

    I’d be surprised if anyone could find anyone else in this game attractive seeing as they can’t open their eyes more than a squint.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ripburger manages it a few times.

      I love the art in this game so much. The deep shadowing effect rarely showing the whites of the eyes gives really works well with the mood.

    • edmundane says:

      Why not? I think both Ben and Mo ought to be considered attractive, given that’s the art style, which I love. Besides, attractiveness is not just about looks surely. And with that I’d like to add the animation in the game was always spot on and helped a lot in conveying the characters’, er, character. I can’t speak for anyone else but I remember being really rather fascinated by that little animation of Mo putting her hair back behind her ear whilst fixing Ben’s bike. That there is a most badass woman doing a most badass thing whilst looking very sexy without baring any part of herself.

  10. badmothergamer says:

    I was around 10 when I played this game too. About the only things I remember (other than simply loving it), were learning what it meant to “siphon fuel”, and thinking I’d never meet a girl as cool as Mo.

    This game can’t get to GOG fast enough.

    • LionsPhil says:

      ScummVM’s support for it is basically note-perfect, so there shouldn’t be any technical obstacles, only them/lawyers chewing through the Lucasarts backlog.

    • ansionnach says:

      Oh, some games that might be interesting to cover:

      The Dig: Can’t remember much about the relationship between Boston Low and Maggie Robbins. They were stranded together on an alien world with little hope of returning… and yet (I think) it never went beyond them becoming friends or at least learning to respect each other. Considering the footing they start out on, this is probably an achievement. An aside, but I still remember a particular moment in this game being the most shocking I’ve seen in a game…

      The Sith Lords: Perhaps outside the remit of the column, but maybe that could be stretched for Kreia? She’s your mentor and perhaps even a motherly figure in ways. Very unusual to see this in a game. I doubt it could be a smooth relationship no matter what way you play it. It’s also rare in a game to come across a situation where you may not be able to save a loved one from themselves (you’ve written about Dragon Age 2 before, right?).

      Planescape: Torment: Both relationships here are quite interesting: Annah is more straightforward but (if the fog hasn’t clouded my memory too much), she’s certainly a troubled character. Reminds me a little of someone I once knew (but regrettably no longer do) from Glasgow.
      Fall-From-Grace, the chaste succubus is probably more interesting in that the relationship is more of a meeting of the minds.

      Ultima VII: The Serpent Isle: My memories of this one are even more foggy but I do remember being more than a little scared of Frigidazzi. Elsewhere in the Serpent Isle is quite a sad, touching moment involving a very good male friend (regardless of your own gender). It’s a very dark and sorrowful game, but extremely powerful. Too bad it never received the follow-up it deserved. RPGs seemed to slip into the dark ages until the release of Torment… and I suppose they’ve been more often in them than out since. The first Ultima VII game has a couple of romantic moments, too. Probably not enough for an entire article, but it’s possibly interesting that the game chastises you for messing around with others. Your companions, particularly Iolo, rebuke you for it. They have no problems if the situation is a genuine one, however.

      • ansionnach says:

        Oops… that wasn’t supposed to be a reply. Apologies for any confusion!

      • Zekiel says:

        The Sith Lords would totally be in the remit for this column. If you’re playing a male character, there are subtle (possibly not-subtle, can’t remember) indications that Kreia is secretly in love with you. And regardless of your gender, she has an obsession with you.

      • Coming Second says:

        Probably the most interesting character that Star Wars as a whole ever generated is one most people have never heard of. It’s a shame most of the other characters in that game are, thanks to Obsidian’s famous approach to time-keeping, so disjointed, because Kreia was brilliant.

        • ansionnach says:

          Her and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a Star Wars-themed Marigold Hotel sequel…

  11. ansionnach says:

    Great piece. Can still remember screaming at Ben to cop on and surrender to Mo’s charms at the end. Might not have been as cool but he might have been happier in the long run hoovering Mo’s Mansion! Not that this would happen, it’s just a hilarious image and I couldn’t resist!

    Hadn’t read the Fate of Atlantis one so took a look at it too (it’s still my favourite game). Was surprised that somebody liked the voice acting (even if this was qualified). I have both the floppy and CD versions and much prefer the absence of voices. I even went to the trouble of reverse engineering it a bit to remove the voices but keep the digitised sound effects from the CD version. From there I “translated” the script to UK English and then perhaps crossed the Lucasian Boundary by changing some of it (would the quintessentially English Marcus Brody, born in London in 1871 use the word “phoney”?!?).

    Both characters were great, especially Mo. Remember thinking as a teenager that it’d be great to meet someone like that. Strong, intelligent women who know who they are are uniquely captivating in real life, too!

    • Shadowcat says:

      Despite being contrary to the point of the article, and being unable to decide exactly what it should even mean, I kinda want “hoovering Mo’s mansion” to be a euphemism.

      • ansionnach says:

        I was actually thinking of Ben literally doing a bit of hoovering. Would look pretty comical but you wouldn’t dare laugh. Only Mo would get away with that!

  12. amateurviking says:

    I remember my young mind finding the lack of a ‘traditional’ romance arc in FT confusing. Left a big impression on me.

  13. Alice O'Connor says:

    Give over, you big goofus. Shucks. Shut up.

  14. Fnord73 says:

    Big cred for actually portraying a real female professional.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Indeed. And I think Maureen herself might take issue with her job being referred to as “menial”.

  15. NMorgan says:

    In order for a man and a woman to be just friends, both of them have to be generally unattractive, or divorced with a vow to never enter a relationship ever again, or happily married. The presence of any of those qualities, however, do not guarantee that they would not fall for each other. For some mysterious evolutionary/biological reason men and women tend to fall for each other the longer they spend time with each other. It is… as if those who were most prone to feel attraction had all the offsprings. Strange, isn’t it?

    Now, if you’ve ever watched House M.D., I want you to imagine Wilson ranting all that sarcastically. Just because I imagined it so. I guess House himself works, too.

    • ansionnach says:

      So, what you’re saying is that Tom Hanks really did love Wilson?!? Begs the question: what kind of ball or inanimate companion would you take to a desert island… and who/what would you draw on it?!?

  16. Messofanego says:

    After reading this, I should correct my mistake of never having played Full Throttle. Maureen sounds brilliant and inspirational. Is the game easily playable now or lots of work needs to be done?

  17. guygodbois00 says:

    For goodness sake, what have you done, Miss Ellison? Now I have to go and replay Fate of Atlantis one more time.

  18. Jamesworkshop says:

    Should have a distinct made between wanting to have sex with someone, and someone you would not say no to, but aren’t going to actively pursue it.

    Surprised the friends with benefits concept never came up.

  19. HopperUK says:

    This reminds me of how I felt about Long Distance Clara.

  20. RegisteredUser says:

    “Why don’t we start up Full Throttle and prove you wrong you silly Monsters Inc-voicing maniac”

    Mostly because fiction, fantasy and generally made up things do not count as valid ways for falsification or verification? I know Republicans still try regardless(“But public opinion doesn’t believe in climate change, clearly that disproves the science!”), but that doesn’t mean we should go along with it. And if it’s about disproving one made up thing with another..well thats probably not a level of examination that’s gonna yield much sense.

    So as to the initial wondering over whether in any given MADE UP setting you can create social relationships(or imagined gender roles, etc pp) to the creator’s choosing, then why yes, of course that’s possible. Because anything is possible. That’s how making things up freely works. How rarely or how often this particular constellation is done and worked across media is another point, but would actually beg a question geared more towards WHY this isn’t MADE UP more often, rather than whether IN REALITY it is possible.
    Just a different question and angle, is wot I think. So the opening to me ends up being “Is there a thing like this? Well I think this one is like that”, and I don’t feel there are any genuine conclusions to be made from this about the actual male-female relationship considerations in real life.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      My addressing Billy Crystal was a joke – I don’t know him and I don’t have a stake in him being wrong. Although I could contact him for a statement on the issue if u want

  21. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    Brilliant!

  22. bill says:

    I find it interesting that even when there isn’t any implied romatic relationship the fans tend to create one. (see all fan site comments and all fan fiction for every game/movie/tv show ever).
    There seems to be some deep human need for all stories to have a romance going on.

  23. madeofsquares says:

    Top stuff. Full Throttle was is a masterpiece, I played through it so many times as a teen. Thinking about it now I can pretty much still remember every scene. Incidentally, I seem to remember the reason Ben crashing was his front wheel falling off mid victory wheelie! ;)

  24. P.Funk says:

    The closest I ever got to friends with a woman I’m attracted to is the altogether rare Jerry Seinfeld-Elaine Benes post relationship friendship.

    Strange thing is that most of what makes the relationship work is a lingering sexual tension thats mostly about the normal boundaries of where people don’t share feelings are busted open by that “I’ve seen you naked and more” intimacy.

  25. kruddman says:

    Full Throttle really is the game that influenced me the most in my life. The art direction, the characters and their ideals have all stuck with me. Nostalgia time. Thanks for the article!

    Here’s a Full Throttle fansite I made as a kid and have saved: link to alexyao.com

    Since making that site, I’ve become an animator in the games industry, and I’m currently working for the studio doing animation for Broken Age, which I had backed for $100!

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Hey that’s awesome! This game was one of my favourites as a kid too and it’s fantastic to be working with people whose games you grew up playing – I’m in a similar position now too. But I especially love the fact that you wrote out all the credits on your website. Watching and reading the credits was always a hilight of Lucasarts games for me. They always came either at the beginning when the game was hooking you in with its intro, or at the end when you just didn’t want the experience to end so you kept watching right to the end… For this reason Lisa Star is as much a legend of Lucasarts to me as Tim Schafer or Ron Gilbert!

  26. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Among adults the “men and women can’t be friends thing” is almost certainly an indicator of, or promise of, abuse. It’s what the controlling girlfriend or boyfriend cites if they feel their power threatened by their partner having attractive friends of the opposite sex. Among teenagers, it has more to do with insecurity. It’s an incredibly messed up sentiment either way and the Billy Crystal line if ever heard unironically in the wild, should be a big red flag.

    Fantastic article anyway – second S.EXE column to make me load up an old Lucasarts adventure game!

  27. Apologised says:

    “he’s been knocked off the road by some biker punk who disrespected him and punched him the face, totalling his bike.”

    I don’t want to be that guy. But you know that’s not how that happened right? Not even close. Ben laid that guy out, it was only when he decided to celebrate his victory that things went south.

    Ripburger sabotaged Bens bike to make sure he had an accident before catching up with the rest of the Polecats which happened when Ben did a wheelie and the entire front wheel just CAME OFF.

    …why is it I can remember NOTHING I learnt for the full year in school about the Russian Revolution, but THIS stuff I remember perfectly? A full year of College level Irish studies? A gaping black abyss. The password for level 2 of Aliens 3 (SNES)? Quastion.
    Algebra? 3 years wasted.
    How to find the Chaos Emerald in Gimmick Mountain for Sonic 2 (Master System)? Jump through the fake wall just below the spinning disc near the end.

    …sorry I’ll just have a minor breakdown in the corner and leave you all alone.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Actually, doesn’t it depend on whether you beat the rottwheeler in the fight or not? Or does it just keep putting you back on your bike until you win?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Just tried it, and if you manage to lose to him (which takes a while) Ben takes a tumble then gets back to the fight, much like the later section. He’ll only have the big crash that leads to Mo after he wins.

    • El_Emmental says:

      I think the author was trying to not spoil anything and only mentioned some vague generic explanation for the crash… Keeping the surprise intact for the happy few who haven’t played Full Throttle yet.

      • Apologised says:

        Then why go into false detail in the first place, why not just say “after the crash” or something? This is all getting very Molyneuxian.

  28. Jahandar says:

    What about Garrett and Viktoria in Thief 2? I thought they made a great team, and by the end they clearly cared for each other’s well being but it wasn’t sexual.

    • Jekhar says:

      I don’t know if that one counts. Victoria isn’t quite human and Garrett doesn’t seem to be interested in relationships at all. I remember him quipping about them just beeing trouble.

  29. El_Emmental says:

    The “can’t be friend” part, beside the whole natural thing (being attracted to the opposite sex because we’re still living beings that requires reproduction), is heavily about emotional investment.

    A friendship requires dedication and caring about the other person (on a friendship level), something that can not survive a romantic relationship (with or without a sexual part). These are two different ways of relating to another person that can not co-exist in emotion-tight pipes: they’re always flowing together in the same conduit and the romantic relation will always take over the friendship one (even if it’s only a lingering thought).

    No matter what is the result of the romantic relationship attempt, success or failure, a friend is lost: the trust between the two persons is consumed when romance is involved (resulting in love, or not). Then the question is: do we want to invest so much to build a friendship, with the risk of losing everything because of a pointless romantic flirt, that one or both know it’s not going anywhere? That emotional Sword of Damocles is a heavy price to pay and actually prevents a full, honest, genuine emotional investment in a friendship – unless both parties perfectly know they’re never ever going to have any romantic interest for each other, so they have nothing to fear for their friendship.

    That’s one of the biggest reason why Ben (in Full Throttle) doesn’t really try to pursues it: his connection with Maureen is a very unique one (especially in the Full Throttle universe, where it’s very cynical, violent and full of ambushes – you can’t trust anyone, as it’s demonstrated several times in the story), and he doesn’t want to ruin it by trying to change the nature of their relation, especially with all the mutual respect they have for each others.

    Why risking romance, in this ruthless world, when we finally know someone we like (at the personal level)? It could ruin the respect and trust they have for each others, leaving them (especially him) alone (existentially speaking, as a human being) in this world, it could tarnish the promising future of the story (Corley Motors revival) – and it could be selfish, breaking the harmony between the two. After all, <a href="link to en.wikipedia.org; title="Le meglio è l'inimico del bene".

    • El_Emmental says:

      Ha! It seems we can no longer edit comments. What a remarkable irony that it affects that very expression – what a day to be alive, being outwitted by the comment system itself :]

  30. Booker says:

    “(where she fixes toasters, times are hard) ”

    Dude, toaster repair is a really important skill!!!