It’s fun to destroy things.
I suppose, at its core, that’s the basis for video games as a whole, really. I still vividly recall the first time I played Warlords, which is based entirely around breaking stuff, fascinated by the idea that I could completely decimate something in the game world, only to have it recovered with a simple reset. It’s something we really take for granted these days, often the only active force in a static world, prompting change that would quite literally never trigger without us taking action.
Maximum Override perhaps the most transparent example of this. Even in early access, the goal is obvious; cause mayhem in the most over-the-top way possible, possessing any machine in the environment to viciously murder bystanders or crumble buildings. Without the cartoonish tone and art-style, it would be nightmare fuel personified, but in this context, it’s… charming. There aren’t a lot of games that allow you to take over soda machines and fling deadly cans at civilians, and even fewer that let you use those same cans to somehow topple a skyscraper. Actually, there are pretty much no other games that let you do that, and I didn’t know I wanted it until now.
I thought the name looked familiar and it turns out there was a film in the 80s called Maximum Overdrive, which was Stephen King’s only directing credit. The premise is pretty similar and I imagine that’s where it came from. You can really only come up with a game like this after watching the world’s most famous horror author controling a camera under the influence of truckloads of cocaine. It was an awful movie, but often games work for the same reasons films don’t. There’s no real need for logic or cohesion here, no narrative justification for why there’s a robot with a gravity gun or how a family sedan suddenly becomes indistructable under your control. The only question is really whether or not it results in something entertaining.
So… is crashing a UFO into a gas station entertainment?
Yes, and I’m quite frankly offended that you needed to ask.