This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Good old video games. They’re portals to other worlds, capable of instantly transporting us away from our humdrum lives and into grand adventures set across lands of astonishing beauty and technological wonders. Sadly, when it comes to day-to-day existence, idyllic scenery and immortality elixirs can’t always make up for a lack of good old-fashioned home comforts.
More specifically, it’s shocking how many characters have to deal with atrocious amenities when the time comes for a quiet sit down with a Sudoku in the smallest room of the house – or castle, or mobile attack fortress, or wherever they happen to live. Are humanity’s saviors doomed to make-do with second-rate showers and broken bidets, or can we locate a luxury bathroom fit for a true video game hero? Let’s find out…
The Cinema (Duke Nukem 3D)
Given the famously ribald humor that led to Duke Nukem 3D’s well-deserved M rating, it’s not surprising there are quite a few bathrooms dotted throughout his alien-thwarting adventure. Whether Duke’s escaping from Death Row or blasting into outer space, there’s always a convenience close at hand.
What is surprising is that the first bathroom you’ll encounter is remarkably pleasant, considering it’s tucked away in a seedy adult movie theatre somewhere in downtown Los Angeles. It’s spacious and well-lit, with a plush red carpet – a bold move in a public restroom – and there’s even a sofa on which patrons can gather their thoughts before returning to their seats or heading upstairs to check out the arcade.
Unfortunately, what really lets this entry down is the reckless and anti-social behavior of the cinema’s clientele. The pair of Alien Stormtroopers who’ve taken up residence here will make your life a misery from the minute you enter, taking pot-shots at you with their lasers as you go about your business. If you’re planning a visit, make sure to pick the multiplayer mode instead – just remember to keep one eye on the mirror in case your opponent’s sneaking up behind you…
The Lucky 38 (Fallout: New Vegas)
Looming over the post-apocalyptic remains of the Las Vegas strip, the Lucky 38 casino has remained largely untouched by the passage of time. This is thanks to its scheming and mysterious owner, Robert House, a man whose name meant he was destined to become either a gambling mogul or a real estate agent. In Fallout: New Vegas, he acts as both, granting your character access to the Lucky 38’s Presidential Suite if you agree to do his bidding.
By Fallout standards, this suite is the pinnacle of luxury, with soft beds, all the mod-cons, and – of course – a suitably decadent bathroom. It’s got chandeliers, it’s got a radio to keep you entertained while you’re scrubbing Deathclaw blood off your hands, and the uncontaminated water supply means you can quench your thirst without fear of the radiation that stains the rest of the Mojave. Yes, drinking out of one of your new toilets is actually healthier than cracking open an icy Nuka-Cola.
If you value your peace and privacy, however, the Lucky 38 may not be for you. Firstly, you’ll have to put up with the omnipresent Mr. House and his robots observing your every move, unless you decide to bump off your benefactor and take over the operation. Secondly, any companions you meet while wandering the desert will make their way up to your suite and have no qualms about bursting in on you whenever the fancy takes them. That said, if you think you can put up with an eight-foot Super Mutant watching you hunt for the loofah, this is a very desirable property indeed.
Willy’s Bathroom (Jet Set Willy)
Now, this simply won’t do. Willy may be a millionaire after the events of his smash-hit ZX Spectrum debut Manic Miner, but the mansion that serves as the basis for this 1984 sequel has some serious aesthetic shortcomings, many of which are immediately evident in the bathroom where you begin the game.
Let’s start with the color scheme, which is garish even by ’80s standards. Blue and yellow wall tiles are obnoxious enough, but when you pair them with the grotesque two-tone carpet you have to wonder if Willy’s life in the mines hasn’t permanently damaged his eyesight. Combined with the dour black background that seems to pervade every room of the house, this is not a bathroom you want to be waking up in after a night on the town.
Also, we should probably mention the latrine, which is apparently possessed and keeps flapping its lid threateningly at all who dare invade its domain. This abomination proves it’s true what they say – money can’t buy you happiness. Nor, apparently, can it buy a toilet that doesn’t actively try to devour you.
Chemical Weapons Facility (GoldenEye 007)
Might these be the most famous toilets in gaming? They can certainly boast plenty of cameo appearances, first debuting in Nintendo 64 shooter GoldenEye 007 before returning in its spiritual successor Perfect Dark and once more in Perfect Dark Zero as part of a multiplayer combat arena. It’s the James Bond original we’re evaluating here, though, not least because the refurbished versions forgot to put the doors back on the cubicles. (There’s a secret club in Perfect Dark that’s also missing its stall doors, suggesting that there might be a particularly unsavory architect on the loose.)
It should be noted that the Arkhangelsk Facility is a military installation, so its creature comforts are few and far between. Staff members are expected to carry their KF7 Soviet rifles at all times, so you’ll need to be extremely cautious while washing your hands, not to mention put up with the office prankster shooting your hat off while you’re scrambling for the last of the paper towels.
The greatest threat, of course, is that an affable but ruthless secret agent might slither in through an overhead air vent and put an abrupt end to your personal time with a pithy one-liner and a silenced Walther PP7. Still, it’s not all bad news: there’s only one entrance, so if you’re really determined to find some peace and quiet, you can always stick a proximity mine to the door. Just don’t expect to have any friends left afterward.
Blue Creek Apartments (Silent Hill 2)
No. Just no. Good taste and common decency prevent us from even describing the bathrooms of Silent Hill, let alone providing a screenshot of the horror poor James Sunderland has to go through while recovering someone’s wallet. Small wonder that rebellious teenager Heather Mason flat-out refuses a similar task in Silent Hill 3. Moving swiftly on…
The Stock Pot Inn (The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
While there are undeniable advantages to the antiseptic charm of the public restrooms we’ve looked at so far, The Stock Pot Inn of Clock Town offers a far more intimate and welcoming environment for its guests. Once a restaurant famous across the land of Termina, recent years have seen its failing fortunes reverse after Anju, the owner, began taking in lodgers for the yearly Carnival of Time.
The inn’s rustic charms extend to the privy, a solid, no-frills affair tucked underneath the staircase. Unfortunately, insomniacs choosing to spend a penny once the midnight hour has arrived will discover that they’re not quite as alone as they thought. Alas, this demonic toilet is also the home of a spectral hand who seems unwilling or unable to vacate the premises. If you happen to have any paper about your person, the grasping ghost will take it and gratefully sink back into the depths, but there’s no way to exorcise the unwanted occupant for good. You’ll just have to wait until morning…
Mad Monster Mansion (Banjo-Kazooie)
Deep within the lair of wicked witch Gruntilda lies the entrance to Mad Monster Mansion, an archetypical haunted house stuffed with ghosts, skeletons, and things that go bump in the night. There’s treasure to be found in the form of golden jigsaw pieces, but there’s also a bathroom nestled away within the mansion’s ominous upper storeys.
Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly nice bathroom, even after you’ve dispatched the roaming undead that lurk inside of it. Plaster is crumbling away from the walls and the ancient bathtub is stained with something unspeakable. Worse still, there isn’t actually a door – if you do fancy a quick soak, you’ll need to break in via the window first. The only reason we’re even considering recommending this weirdest of washrooms is because of its most unusual feature: Loggo, the googly-eyed talking toilet.
While it’s true that he could use a good scrub and a squirt of toilet bowl cleaner, Loggo’s an affable sort who’s always up for a good chat. Even better, he’s safeguarding a giant green mystery egg. If you’re the sort of person who likes a casual conversation in the morning before work, or are just looking to 100% your save file, you could do worse than pay Mad Monster Mansion a visit. Whether you’ll make it out again is another matter…
The Egg Carrier (Sonic Adventure)
Seemingly unwilling to allow the Nintendo 64 unchallenged mastery of bathrooms-in-3D-platformers courtesy of Banjo-Kazooie, Sega was quick to respond with Sonic Adventure when the Dreamcast debuted that same year.
This gleaming, spacious contender for the toilet crown couldn’t be further removed from the last entry, although we must confess we’re not entirely sure who’s meant to use it. Doctor Eggman infamously prefers the company of his own robotic minions to that of other human beings, so why he’s bothered to go to all this trouble is something of a mystery. Perhaps even supervillains feel the need to respect Health & Safety regulations when constructing their evil lairs?
Regardless, this clean and well-appointed commode would be a top candidate for gaming’s greatest bathroom were it not for one small quirk of its design – there’s a bomb-hurling robot monkey in one of the stalls. As annoying as that is, though, at least it’s not been programmed to aggressively sell you aftershave as you’re trying to leave. Not even Eggman’s that twisted.
Dunwall Tower (Dishonored 2)
Located at the heart of a thriving empire, Dunwall Tower is the residence of the region’s ruler, Emily Kaldwin, and her father Corvo. As the home of an Empress, one might expect the palace’s bathroom to be nothing short of opulent and, indeed, at first glance this does appear to be the case. The suite is lavishly decorated, there are plenty of fluffy towels and exotic fragrances on hand – there’s even a platter of Serkonan grapes and Tyvian pears to snack on while you’re bathing.
Look closer, though, and a glaring oversight presents itself: the lack of a pull-handle. For all the wealth on display here, the Empress and her staff are still making use of the chamber pot system.
This is baffling, as the world of Dishonored is often described as “whalepunk” – an alternate universe where tanks of oil salvaged from the blubbery behemoths are used to power huge energy fields, complicated alarm systems, and autonomous clockwork soldiers. Given the creative might of such local luminaries as the eccentric genius Anton Sokolov, you’d have thought that someone would have invented indoor plumbing by now. There’s still plenty of splendor to be found here, but not an awful lot of sanitation.
Sarif Industries (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
Our final stop takes us from an alternate past to a possible future as we arrive in the cyberpunk Deus Ex universe. Detroit, to be precise, where Sarif Industries creates biomechanical augmentations to sell around the globe. Its founder, the irritable billionaire David Sarif, has wisely invested his vast earnings into a state-of-the-art headquarters for his top personnel.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the immaculate employee facilities. Everything’s in perfect condition, from the fixtures themselves to the large smart-glass mirrors that keep you up to speed with company news. Whether you’re cleaning yourself up after sneaking your way through some filthy air vents or just taking a moment to read someone else’s e-mails – all those data pads lying around can be so tempting – you can rest assured you’ll be able to relax.
If you’re going to choose to visit one gaming bathroom, it has to be this one. True, you’ll need to navigate a sci-fi dystopia in the grip of a global conspiracy and on the brink of a global pandemic, but some might say that’s a small price to pay for reliable bathroom Wi-Fi. Thank you, Sarif Industries, for your commitment to lavatorial excellence. We asked for this.