Just wear the damn mask
In a year full to bursting with protest, injustice and rebellion, somehow few things have received quite as much backlash as the act of wearing a mask during a global pandemic. For reasons scarcely known by anyone with a modicum of sense, there are thousands of people across America, England and beyond who have deemed their personal liberties breached by the request to put a mask over half of their face in the hopes of saving other people’s lives.
Mask wearing is a heroic act, a necessary act, one adopted by various indie game protagonists and characters throughout the years. From full-face animal coverings to wrestling headgear, the below are some of the finest examples of mask-wearing throughout indie gaming.
Hollow Knight – Hollow Knight
It is unclear who or what exactly the Hollow Knight of Hollow Knight is, but there’s no questioning the perils he faces on an everyday basis. Hallownest is full of insidious insects, nightmarish bosses and all-manner of distended creatures out to explode their orange mucus in the direction of the needle swinging adventurer.
So important is Hollow Knight’s mask to his mission that you need to collect mask shards to piece new masks together for additional health. To survive, Hollow Knight puts mask atop mask, and it’s not like he spends his day walking to the barbers either. He’s fighting to vanquish a parasitic evil set to envelop his entire world; to do so, safely, his mask is essential.
Juan – Guacamelee
Juan doesn’t spend the entirety of either Guacamelee 1 or 2 masked up. At first, he’s a maskless agave farmer doing his job, tending to his crop. But when a death-dealing force of evil threatens his land, he dons the outfit of a luchador like Mexico’s finest before him, the Rey Mysterios and El Santos of the world, to protect his family and all he holds dear.
The mask bestows Juan with his power, his suplex-heavy moveset and increasingly outlandish traversal mechanics. Without the mask, Juan is merely Juan. But with it, he’s able to do his bit to prevent the plaguing of the entire Mexiverse.
The Masked Kid – Underhero
The Masked Kid from Underhero is notable on this list because he was never meant to be the protagonist of his particular story. He’s a minion to a greater power, subservient to their whims until he takes it upon himself to do what he believes to be right after the accidental death of the game’s ‘true’ hero.
The Masked Kid doesn’t once complain about his circumstances, though he has every right to. He simply masks up and becomes a good guy, opposing Mr Stitches and the unprecedented threat he presents to life itself.
Most of the Heroes – Darkest Dungeon
Admittedly, some of the Darkest Dungeon’s cast are following guidelines better than others. The Houndmaster nor his trusty hound grabbed a mask before traversing into the dungeon, much like the Grave Robber and the Leper who’s mask doesn’t cover his mouth.
But the majority of the heroes acknowledge the danger inherent in their situation. The Plague Doctor is most notable, going old-school in his fashion choices. But the Jester and the Bounty Hunter should also be commended for donning their particular masks at all times. If they can keep a mask on in the depths of the Darkest Dungeon, face to face with its never-ending horrors, you shouldn’t have much trouble keeping yours on whist perusing the cereal aisle in Tesco.
Jacket – Hotline Miami
Now, I know what you’re thinking here. Jacket is a serial killer, executing people and animals on a regular with little care as to the consequences. Well, besides how quickly and stylishly he can decapitate to hit those high scores.
But even Jacket — even Jacket — cares enough about himself and others to wear a mask during each unwanted house call. If you ignore the atrocious body count in his wake (or as I like to call it, act like a Tory politician) then Jacket is following the necessary safety guidelines to prevent the spread of deadly diseases throughout the human population.
A final honourable mention should go to the cast of The Sexy Brutale, who, on finding themselves trapped in a time-looping casino full of assassins, all pledge to always keep their masks on whilst interacting with each other. They might be reliving the same 12 hours of gruesome murder ad infinitum, but at least they’re choosing not to unmask despite their changing circumstances each go-around.
Wearing a mask isn’t for you; it’s for everyone else. It isn’t the first step towards a totalitarian state of irrefutable control; it’s a shred of cloth. You can breathe through it; it isn’t going to suffocate you. Nor is it an attack on your liberty; it’s a rule designed to keep you and everybody else safe. Wear a mask, please.