Fascinating games

Best MacGuffins in Games

According Merriam Webstera MacGuffin “is an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set up and keep the plot moving despite generally lacking intrinsic importance.” Some iconic examples of MacGuffins in the media are Doug’s The hangover film and The Briefcase pulp Fiction.

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Whereas movies have a few MacGuffins, video games are full of them. Since the game is all about achieving goals and completing tasks, developers usually rely on this technique to inspire people to keep playing the game. Let’s look at some of the other iconic examples of this plot device in games.


10/10 Assassin’s Creed – Pieces of Eden

Assassin’s Creed is one of the greatest single-player game series of the past two decades. The popular franchise started in 2007 and was the evolution of the parkour system that Ubisoft perfected in their Prince of Persia series. In the original Assassin’s Creed trilogy, players take control of Desmondwho is part of a grand experiment and uses the Animus to travel through the memories of his assassin ancestors.

Although the plot is a bit confusing, the game clears things up by adding the Pieces of Eden into the mix. In the game, players are always ready to find these ancient artifacts to learn more about their mystical powers.

9/10 God Of War (2018) – Faye’s Ashes

The God of the war series has had a MacGuffin problem since its inception. However, the fifth game uses it more appropriately. In the new redesigned version of the God of the war, the main protagonist, Kratos, is found in Norse mythology. When the game begins, players discover that Kratos is a father to one child named Atreus, and his second wife, Faye, has already died.

The father-son duo then burns his corpse while collecting wood in the forest. Later, they fill her ashes in a bag and reveal the MacGuffin in the game. Kratos and Atreus must keep Faye’s dying wish and scatter her ashes on the highest point of the nine realms.

8/10 The Last Of Us Part 1 – Ellie’s Immunity

Unlike the previous two games which used an object, The last of us part 1 has a MacGuffin based on the idea. In this Naughty Dog classic, players take control of the main protagonist, Joel, who is survive in a post-apocalyptic world after losing her daughter. The game shows the main character making a deal to smuggle in a girl named Ellie, who is immune to the virus.

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The whole game is about protecting her and venturing to a drop-off point in Colorado so a group called the Fireflies can develop a vaccine from her immunity. Spoiler alert, nothing really becomes of it.

7/10 The Last of Us Part 2 – Revenge for Joel

Similar to the first, The last of us part 2 uses the MacGuffin technique to create a hook so players feel like they have a goal. Unfortunately it does evil by killing the main protagonist of the first game, Joel. In the opening minutes of the game, players see a new character named Abby crush Joel’s skull as part of revenge.

The game then casts players in the shoes of Ellie, who is now obsessed with getting revenge on Abby. The last of us part 2 has great gameplay, but most fans think it dropped the ball by opting for an ultimately unsatisfying story.

Solid metal gear took stealth games to another level by creating a cohesive narrative and new gameplay mechanics. In 1998, Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece redefined what it meant to be full-fledged entertainment. Solid metal gear offered it all: great dialogue, innovative gameplay, an interesting story, and an iconic protagonist that people still remember today.

The game also offered a smooth storyline and a subtle MacGuffin as Kenneth Baker’s Disk. Players still had the item in their hands and had no idea that was what Ocelot was after all the time.

5/10 Resident Evil Village – Pink

Resident Evil Village is the franchise’s eighth mainline game that was recently released in 2021 to high praise. It’s a First-person horror survival title where players take control of a man named Ethan Winters, who was also the main protagonist of the seventh game. Similar to its predecessor, Resident Evil Village uses a MacGuffin to define player motivation.

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In the game, players have to find their little girl Rose somewhere in the scary village full of monsters and deadly creatures.

4/10 Far Cry 4 – Ashes of Ishwari

Far Cry 4 is a massive open-world title that Ubisoft released in 2014. It’s a first-person shooter where players take control of a man named Ajay Ghale, who visits the fictional country of Kyrat. Throughout the game, players will face different types of threats including animals, enemies, and a king named Pagan Min who has an army of soldiers.

Regardless of what happens in the huge game and how the story unfolds, the main character’s goal is to bring his mother’s ashes to Lakshmana. If only Ajay had a helicopter, he would have easily achieved his goal without fighting Pagan Min.

3/10 Dead Space – USG Ishimura

dead space is one of the greatest survival horror titles of the last two decades. In this game, players are on an intergalactic mission to find out what really happened to the USG Ishimura spacecraft. However, the whole ship in this game is a big MacGuffin, as it causes the whole story to unfold and motivates players to explore it.

dead spaceThe main character of Issac, also has another goal to find out what happened to his girlfriend, Nicole Brennan, as she was the chief medical officer of the USG Ishimura Planetcracker spacecraft.

2/10 God of War – Pandora’s Box

The very first God of the war was even more iconic than the last entry, as it brought many new concepts to the table. Of unique spin on early Greek mythology of main character Kratos, the first title handles everything correctly. Except he uses a little MacGuffin to set player goals.

Similar to the popular movie’s briefcase pulp Fictionthe game centers on Kratos going on a journey to find the hidden Pandora’s Box, which contains the power to beat the gods.

1/10 Heavy Rain – Missing Shaun

Heavy rain is an excellent interactive drama title from 2010 that still has one of the most atmospheric thriller storylines in any game. The former PlayStation exclusive features four main protagonists, all of whom uncover the truth behind the identity of an Origami Slayer. The game does a brilliant job of portraying its story through different lenses.

It uses characters’ psychological issues to build suspense and keep players engaged. However, the biggest motivation for players is to find Ethan’s missing child, Shaun, which is the main reason for almost everything that happens in Heavy rain without even being an important part of the game.

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