8 Bits Of Science You Didn’t Know Ruin Iconic Video Game Scenes

Sometimes science can be a real downer.

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Gaming has a come a long way since the days of 8-bit graphics and wireframe models. Today we see visually dazzling, lavishly produced scenes and sequences that rival, and even exceed, anything you’d see in Hollywood, scenes that have transcended gaming to become icons of popular culture.

But of course with the bells and whistles comes the dubious science, leaving audiences and gamers shaking their heads at bullet-proof doors, cars that drive through fruit stands unscathed, and that time-honoured sci-fi staple, the astronaut being yoinked into space through a shattered window.

Assuming, of course, you knew it was fake.

Because all that sumptuous production value can be mighty convincing, leading you to believe that what you see might just be possible. Looking straight at a nuclear detonation? Why not? Giraffe wandering the post-apocalypse? Sure. An underwater city? How hard can it really be?

But, according to the science, it really is that hard. Here are the scenes, iconic landmarks of video gaming, so expertly crafted you believed what you were seeing was true, and the reasons why it just ain’t so.

Beware, spoilers ahead.

8. Giraffes Don’t Like The Cold – The Last Of Us

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Naughty Dog

Precious few games have the ability to tug on the heartstrings quite like The Last of Us. From its devastating open sequence depicting a daughter dying in her father’s arms, to the peace, hope and beauty of protagonists Joel and Ellie’s encounter with a herd of Giraffe, it is a masterpiece of storytelling.

Except, as moving and iconic as the scene is, meeting a herd of Giraffe in that part of North America is a smidge problematic.

Now, finding an animal native to Africa in North America isn’t an issue, as it’s perfectly plausible that the herd could have escaped from a zoo.

No, instead the issue lies in the location – Salt Lake City. For three months of the year the city’s minimum temperature regularly drops below freezing, down to as low as -6°C (21.2°F). For Giraffe that’s deadly cold, the species being, as per this guideline, highly susceptible to temperatures below 10 °C (50°F) and requiring special care to stave off hypothermia. And while desert adapted Giraffe do exist, such as those found in Namibia, even they rarely deal with temperatures below freezing.

Sadly, as beautiful as Giraffe are and as much as they add to the scene, that herd shouldn’t be there. However, America boats another animal, equally as beautiful, and which can also stand the cold, the good old all-American Bison.


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