Over the years, the video game industry has shown a serious preference of dropping players into armed combat - and where war can be found, firearms are fruitful. But not ever game developer has made it their goal to recreate real-world weaponry, or speculate on how firearms of the future might differ. Some have, instead, brought life to weapons that could simply never exist in reality.
It's an odd goal, but one that has led to some seriously astounding results. They may not be the deadliest or most efficient guns to take into battle, but players will be hard-pressed to think of a weapon that was more fun to fire.
Here is our list of the 10 Craziest Video Game Guns.
Appeared in: Borderlands 2
Few games feature an arsenal of weaponry that is as downright absurd across the board as Borderlands, but for the sequel, the developers at Gearbox Studios outdid themselves - at the cost of players' patience. While most of the game's gun selection does damage against enemies, the gun known simple as 'The Bane' proved just as painful for the one wielding it.
While the gun proved insanely powerful for a SMG, it came with a high price. Besides slowing the player's movement speed to a crawl (without explanation) every action taken with the gun results in an ear-splitting whine. Firing rounds emits a selection of 'BANG BANG BANG' or simply 'YEAH YEAH YEAH' - sound effects that can't be turned off or muted - that would drive all but the most patient players to their wit's end. Well played, Gearbox.
Appeared in: Bulletstorm
It goes without saying that the over-the-top Bulletstorm would make an appearance on this list, since its array of weaponry and combat mechanics were insane from the very beginning. But as wild as some means of murder in the game may be, the 'Flailgun' seems like overkill. It doesn't launch bullets, but a pair of timed frag grenades linked together by a short length of chain.
As if that weren't enough, a secondary firing mode allows the chain to be superheated. The result: when fired, the pin-wheeling grenades slice through enemies' limbs and bodies - moments before they are blown to pieces. In hindsight, co-developer Epic Games' choice to combine an assault rifle and a chainsaw seems fairly tame.
Appeared in: Gears of War 3
The developers of the Gears of War series sought to outdo their previous work in several ways when they got around to making the end of their trilogy. And when your signature weapon is a gas-powered, chainsaw-rifle, that means going even farther outside the box. In fact, it apparently means swapping ammunition altogether for flying chickens.
'The Cluckshot' must first be unlocked by triggering a few events throughout Gears 3's campaign, and is essentially a variant of the Locust Boomshot. The developers never bother to explain the cause of the explosive chickens it fires, but players didn't complain, making the Cluckshot one of the most sought after easter eggs in a game filled with them.
Appeared in: Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
The sequel to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter isn't remembered for much, but those who played it even casually (mainly mulitplayer) will know that in terms of the goriest, most disgusting and downright disturbing video game guns, few can stand up against the 'Crebral Bore.' Sporting a memorable name that implies the kind of horror it inflicts, the actual weapon doesn't disappoint.
The alien weapon works by locking onto an enemy target's brainwaves; once it's locked on target, a small orb is fired, tracking the enemy until it makes contact with its head. Assuming the victim hasn't managed to escape the line of fire (with arms comically flailing), the bore begins drilling into its skull in a shower of blood, and exploding once it reaches the brain. In other words: a weapon players are going to remember.
Land Shark Gun
Appeared in: Armed and Dangerous
Since it functions as one massive parody/spoof/reference-machine of video games and action movies in general, Armed and Dangerous was obviously going to be going for laughs with its weaponry. While black holes and gravity-reversing devices are par for the course, the 'Land Shark Gun' takes the cake with an approach to combat so absurd, it landed itself on the game's cover.
Instead of relying on shark-shaped bullets or rockets, the gun launches a young land shark which dives into the ground, swimming its way from enemy to enemy under the surface. The game may not have earned the kind of mainstream name recognition it deserved, but the Land Shark Gun certainly did.
Appeared in: Perfect Dark
Assault rifles, silenced pistols, and SMGs all come in handy in cutting-edge military operations. But in the world of covert espionage - one where the need to carry weaponry and technical gadgets are equal - there is no weapon more perfectly equipped than Perfect Dark's aptly-named 'Laptop Gun.'
Hopefully the name makes the weapon's hook clear: not only can it function as an SMG, but can be folded down into a concealed laptop that actually functions. That alone would make it the most hand gun on our list, but it was also capable of being deployed as a sentry turret, auto-targeting enemies at will. Spies always gets the best toys.
Appeared in: Half-Life 2
The simple crowbar may have held the title of most iconic weapon in the Half-Life series at one time, but Half-Life 2 changed all that. It may not have been intended to function as a weapon, but the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator - also known as the 'Gravity Gun' - proved to be useful for more than just heavy lifting.
Initially giving players the chance to both repel large objects, and capture others in mid-air, a super-charging later in the game takes the device to entirely new limits. With the ability to launch massive objects with devastating force, the Gravity Gun proved to be one of the deadliest guns to ever appear in a game - and it never even needs ammunition. Gordon Freeman's trademark, and hopefully reappearing in Half-Life 3... if it ever gets made.
Appeared in: Red Faction: Armageddon
While the Red Faction series may have fallen on hard times, the developers aren't without a sense of humor. When adopting a typical third-person shooter style for the most recent Armageddon, a special weapon was unlocked when one million demos had been downloaded. So what kind of firearms would prove the deadliest on the surface of Mars? Simple: a unicorn.
A unicorn may not be the deadliest creature one can imagine, but the lethal 'Mr. Toots' was nothing to be trifled with. The typically high-spirited unicorn earned its name thanks to the multi-colored beam of energy propelled from its rear end, unleashing devastating damage on any alien creature unlucky enough to... taste the rainbow. Does it make sense? Not in the slightest. But it's the kind of crazy we can get behind.
Appeared in: Saints Row IV
As Abraham Lincoln once asked: "am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" It's hard to say if that kind of non-violent thinking was at play with the developers of Saints Row IV when they came up with this weapon, but we would certainly like to think so. Instead of lasers, bullets, or even blasts of energy, the 'Dubstep Gun' renders people helpless through the use of sick beats (and painful death).
Unleashing the Dubstep Gun's fury on a crowd of civilians turns any city street into a musical number from Footloose, with all in the impact range unable to resist the thumping dubstep booming from the weapon. It is certainly not the deadliest gun on our list, but it manages to condense everything we love about Volition's open world series into a single pull of a trigger.
Appeared in: Dead Space 2
With more and more video games competing for a player's time these days, developers often go out of their way to reward their faithful fans. In the case of Dead Space 2 players were treated to the downright craziest weapon possible after beating the game on the Hardcore difficulty. Not an upgraded missile launcher, or even a gun, per se - but a giant red foam finger.
Players shouldn't be surprised to find that protagonist Isaac Clarke's imagination is nothing to mess with, and as such, the 'Hand Cannon' requires no reloading or ammunition, firing with a simple 'Bang Bang' or 'Pew Pew Pew.' As easily the most powerful gun in the game, even the most intimidating enemies can be blown to pieces in seconds. A perfect mix of lethality, humor, and childlike imagination makes the Hand Cannon our favorite weapon in an otherwise terrifying game.
Those are the guns which remain as absurd as ever in our memory, but there are certainly far more in the history of games that have proved as hilarious as they were shocking.
Be sure to offer up your own favorites in the comments below.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.