Death Stranding, the walking simulator about the sad Deliveroo man, is finally out on PC, allowing thousands of keyboard clackers to decode the complex metaphors embedded within such characters as “Mama”, a woman with a baby, and “Heartman”, a man with a pacemaker, played here by an aging and tired Danny Wallace. Look beyond the sub-textual nuance of such masterful creations, however, and you will find a half-decent delivery ‘em up. But is reliable postboy Sam Porter Bridges (a transporter who builds bridges) one of the 7 best couriers in PC games? You can find out by reading closely between the lines of this list.
Courier six – Fallout: New Vegas
Shot twice in the head and yet they fetch quest. That is dedication from the player character of New Vegas. You lose your most important package before the game even starts (a platinum chip chock full of digital goodies). But with some questing, road-following and liberal application of bullets, you get the glorified USB dongle back and finally make the delivery, playing kingmaker with a rubbley Las Vegas in the process. What this de-brained gunslinger lacks in urgency, they make up for with an admirable tenacity, like Tom Hanks making his final FedEx delivery in Castaway. But with murder.
The Fuel Rats – Elite Dangerous
In this star-jumping sim, the Fuel Rats are not a gang of nasty NPCs you’ve got to blow up for space petrol. No, they are a distinguished group of multiplayer pilots who will travel hundreds of lightyears to refill your tank when you get stranded in the void. They carry a bunch of fuel to you, slurp it into your ship with a swarm of robo-boys, and lead you out of whatever dangerous nebula you’ve sailed into. They are a free roadside assistance service with cool drones and the patience of ancient kung fu masters. If you see one of these heroes in the docking bay, honk your appreciation.
Sam Porter Bridges – Death Stranding
“I make deliveries,” he says, “that’s all.” Sam Porter Bridges, depressed postman and totem of nominative determinism, is a walking existential crisis working for a twisted UberEats of the future. He lugs delicious metal and toxic crystals to the far-flung folks who need them most. One recurring side-mission sees him motorcycling out to a distant corner of the game’s map to a verbose man who lives amid some blasted rocks. He is delivering pizza. If you think I am joking, you are wrong. In one cinematic, Sam showers as he listens to higher-ups within his organisation explain some finer point of convoluted exposition over speakerphone. Exhausted, he sits down and lets the water rinse over him. Maybe they will stop talking soon, he thinks. Maybe I can just sit here in this hot water, forever. It is the most relatable a Kojima character has ever been.
Donkey pal – Dota 2
I have tried and failed to understand the Courier of Dota 2 based solely on the arcane ramblings of its wiki page. It is a donkey, except when it is not. Its turn rate is 0.5. It is slowed by 15% when carrying an enchanted mango. Who plays this game? It is immune to spells, and grows wings at level 4. Is this what videogames sound like to normal people? Excuse me, I must go, my life’s work has been a mistake.
Truck drivers – Foxhole
Ah, the precious logistics bros of war. You can’t fire a rifle without bullets, you can’t erect tank traps without building materials, and you can’t eliminate your own squad in a burst of friendly fire without squadmates. The truck drivers of top-down multiplayer war ‘em up Foxhole are the true heroes of the battlefield. They ferry troops and supplies from home base to the front lines, sometimes through contested territory, and make sure everything is set up to do some good war. They are the undervalued essential workers of your brief forays into the sniping fields and machine gun corridors. Every magazine, every pair of binoculars, every radio – the logistics truckers brought that to you. Try not to die again.
Caravan – Mount & Blade: Warband
If you try to rob one of these roaming bands of guarded merchants early in the game, you will learn how seriously they took “recorded delivery” in the middle ages.
Wilmot – Wilmot’s Warehouse
Let’s not argue. If every videogame is merely an extended fetch quest dressed up in fancy clothes and night-vision goggles, then Wilmot’s Warehouse is a minimalist defenestration of an entire industry. Willy is a courier on a very short route. His job is to organise packages into easy-to-grab piles, and hulk them over to the delivery window like a keen Argos employee. But this warehouse is just a boxed physical manifestation of the myriad mental processes which occur every time a new product shows up. A strange hat. A new type of bird beak. Oh no. Does this rocket go with “fireworks” or “military gear”? The real game, of shifting categories and meaning-twisting, is happening in your head.
One Off The List from… the best cars
Last time we clambered into the listmobile and sped around the motorways appreciating the 10 best cars in videogames. But, according to your shouting, one of these vehicles needed to be rammed off the road. It’s… the Tuk Tuk from Far Cry 4.
“The Tuk Tuk goes, damn the consequences,” says list dissenter “ejiAlice” in direct contravention of my orders. “It’s a motorized tricycle, not a car. People may hate the Batmobile but it at least has four wheels.”
I am a forgiving lord of the list goblins. I will allow you this transgression. But do not cross me again.