The Psycho of Borderlands

borderlands psycho

In 2009, the world was introduced to the first-person shooter Borderlands which also would become the first game in a highly popular and influential series (Gearbox, 2009). Borderlands takes place on the planet Pandora, where everything wants to kill you, be it people, animals, or even plants. The player can chose between four different heroes as they go about killing all the enemies they can, and trying to find the hidden treasure that the planet contains. As with Silent Hill one of the most iconic things about this series is its main villain type. Instead of nurses, Borderlands does not pull any punches, cutting out any pretense and simply naming a general enemy type a “Psycho” (Gearbox, 2009). So iconic are the Psychos of Borderlands that they hold the largest space on every single game’s cover. All three games in this series feature box art in which a Psycho is prominently displayed, the playable characters often very small and in the corner, if even featured at all.

Psychos are irrational enemy types that use a primitive axe-like weapon made up of a buzz saw. They wear masks on their faces, very rarely wear any clothes except for pants, are dirty, and more often than not, covered in blood. These general enemies come in several variations, including the Midget, the Badass Psycho, and the Burning Psycho just to name a few. These variations display assorted body types with extremities grown vastly out of proportion or shrunken almost entirely away. Regardless of type, these enemies have no fear and no sense as they run blindly towards the player. The player feels no sympathy whatsoever in killing them. The Psycho of this game does not fall in line with Erbs theory of the psycho character, but rather with the ideas of Roger Lund in his 2005 article: Laughing at Cripples: Ridicule, Deformity and the Argument from Design which discusses how disabled characters in media have seemingly always been used as the butt of a joke.

The Psycho is undoubtedly meant to be a comical enemy type. In Borderlands 2 which was published in 2012, the Psycho characters shout some incredibly strange and ludicrous things as they attack (Gearbox, 2012). These quotes include, but are not limited to: “I made finger pizza just for you!”, “I’m gonna floss my teeth with your face!” and “The meat puppies, they come to the slaughter, like children to an ice cream truck!” all of which make little to no sense, and are clearly meant to be humorous (Gearbox, 2012). Lund discusses the age old way in which mentally ill “crazy” characters are placed in comedy roles in mass media, there to be pointed and laughed at as a way for the audience to feel unified in outing someone so different and uncivilized (Lund, 105). These Psycho characters are nothing if not meant to be laughed at.

More Choice Psycho Quotes:

  • “I need more heads for my merry-go-round – YOURS IS PERFECT!”
  • “I made you a salad, outta worms!”
  • “I’m gonna make hammocks, from your eye lids!”
  • “I plucked a hair from the head of a dying baby! Let me give it to you!”
  • “Don’t hate me, mommy!”
  • “Cookies and screams, all topped with cream!”
  • “This is prison and we’re the guys in the shower!”
  • “Mommy dearest was the clearest until she lost her bearing, now she’s rusted, and is busted, and out of sight and hearing!”
  • “I love you!”

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