We are taking a brief respite from the Metal Gear Solid coverage to talk about We’re Back on the SNES. Let it be known that we at the Physics of Video Games are aware of how non-nonsensical the previous sentence sounds, but we will proceed anyways.
Why We’re Back? I recently beat Thief on the hardest custom difficulty, Dark Souls II a whole bunch of times, did a Super C no death and Muramasa Rebirth no damage run with both characters; I love a good challenge. When I want to beat a difficult game, especially with added challenges, I usually do so. With that being said, I was going through my drawer and saw We’re Back, drawing me in, demanding my attention. As a kid this game would obliterated my soul, I could never conquer it. Countless attempts were made, but the circus would always get the best of me. With my more developed gaming skills as an adult, I had to take it upon myself to finally beat what seemed to be an insurmountable challenge growing up.
Now while We’re Back is not in the same league as the aforementioned games, but I honestly believe this is a solid little title… for a movie based game anyways. A 16 bit gem if you will (disclaimer: The Physics of Video Games is not associated with the higher quality work of Roo’s 16 Bit Gems in any capacity). There are a variety of locations, from street parades to circuses to jungles, diverse and unique boss fights, decent music, supporting characters and upgrades. We’re Back no doubt has its faults, but let’s channel our inner Rerez and focus on the positives. It may just be nostalgia, but I believe this game is at least playable. Now let’s move from poorly reviewing a game to focus on some lovely physics.
One of the attacks our T-rex friend has, is a pellet projectile. We’re going to do some calculations and play around with equations to get some more insight into this obscure weapon. Note that the obscurity in which we are referring is not throwing a pellet in an arching path, but that a dinosaur felt it would be much better to use an infinite barrage of pellets to attack enemies rather than use its tail to attack (which is an upgrade obtained by collecting light bulbs, for some reason).
Now onto assumption time. We know main dinosaur is on Earth, so we can use our regular old gravity. Next we will refer to our diagram made in MS Paint to calculate some heights. We will assume the fat man is exactly 1 Danny DeVito tall (Danny is a unit of measurement as of now that equals 1.52 metres). From our crudely drawn diagram, we can see that the dinosaur is 2.5 Danny DeVitos, or 3.8m., a 0.3m (0.15m radius) pellet, and a throwing height and distance of 2.13m and 6.08m, respectively. Since we are doing all of this with utmost care when it comes to accuracy, a cell phone timer was used to get an average flight time of 0.9s. We will also assume that this pellet is actually a snowball due to its colour and it breaking so easily. So let’s calculate the velocity in two ways and see how close our measurements are to one another:
Using a standard kinematic equation
v = d/t = 6.08s/0.9s = 6.7m/s
Using potential energies of: I – the pellet barely leaving the hand and II – the pellet barely hitting the ground
mgh = [1/2]mv^2 (masses cancel out)
(9.8m/s^2)(2.13m) = [1/2]v^2 –> v = 6.5m/s
We can see that maybe our sloppily derived measurements are actually quite close to one another. This is not an alarming speed to be throwing at, it comes out around 24 km/h (approximately . Major League Baseball players can throw balls at about 160 km/h, but given the stubby T-rex arms it is forgivable. Now let’s calculate the mass of the snowball (assuming densely packed snow that is 800kg/m^3):
v = [4/3](pi)(r^3) = [4/3](pi)(0.15m)^3 = 0.014m^3
m = dv = (800kg/m^3)(0.014m^3) = 11.2 kg (28 pounds)
Suddenly the minor speed seems like a blessing considering that our T-rex friend is pelting people with 28 pound snowballs.
I think finding out that a dinosaur attacks people with 28 pound snowballs is the obvious thing to do when finally beating a game that crushed my hopes and dreams as a child. Would you not do the same?
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Next time: Probably another Metal Gear Solid boss.