The Science of BONK: A Methodology for Quantifying the Violence in River City Ransom

Today I put the finishing touches on River City Ransom, which Dan (KefkaFloyd) and I played back in December. Please to be enjoying the playlist:

Throughout the LP I kept a running tally of how we were dispatching each dude. What sorts of violence were Dan and I most drawn to? The people had a right to know.

I had to go through each episode frame by frame and keep track of what was used to attack each dude. I was less interested in the actual number of dudes dispatched as the method of attack. Because of this, you can’t just add up the stats and get a final tally of dudes dispatched. As far as I know, Dan and I used every type of attack and weapon at least once. They are:

  • “Dudes punched”: dude is struck with the hand or fist, including the combo-ending uppercut
  • “Dudes kicked”: dude is struck with either foot, including jump kicks
  • “Dudes bonked”: dude is struck with a stick/bat
  • “Dudes trashed”: dude is struck with a garbage can
  • “Dudes whipped”: dude is struck with a chain/whip
  • “Dudes boxed”: dude is struck with a box/crate
  • “Dudes stoned”: dude is struck with a rock
  • “Dudes knucked”: dude is struck with a brass knuckle
  • “Dudes rolled”: dude is struck with a tire/wheel
  • “Dudes clobbered”: dude is struck with a pipe

Each of these methods of attack were counted once per dude. On the frame in which I confirmed the dude was attacked (that is, he makes his BARF! face), I incremented that particular counter by one. If the dude is later attacked again via the same method (e.g., a dude gets kicked by a player, then later gets kicked by the other player) the counter is not incremented a second time. However, if a dude is attacked via a different method (e.g., a dude gets kicked by one player, then bonked by the other) the counter is incremented once for the second attack.

ALEX and RYAN — the players — are not considered dudes for purposes of the count.

The origin of the attack does not matter, though this only comes into play when considering thrown weapons. Usually, dudes cannot hit other dudes, although once a weapon is airborne it will always damage its target, regardless of who threw it. A dude hit by a thrown chain counts as +1 “dudes whipped”.

In addition to the methods above, there were three more counters I felt were worth keeping:

  • “Dudes thrown”: dude is picked up and thrown (regardless of whether that dude sustains damage)
  • “Dudes glitched”: dude somehow clips into an obstacle and becomes un-targetable
  • “Dudes beaten with other dudes”: dude is struck by another dude, which one of the players has picked up

I don’t well understand how the game determines whether a dude is thrown or jumps free of the player’s grasp, so I counted all instances of a picked-up dude leaving the player’s hands as being thrown.

Technically, the “beaten with other dudes” counter should by necessity be incremented by two in each case, since beating Dude B with Dude A by definition also means Dude A is being beaten by Dude B, depending on your frame of reference. In the end I decided that a picked-up dude being used in this way temporarily counts as a weapon, and therefore “not a dude”. A thrown dude striking another dude would have counted +1 “thrown” and +1 “beaten with other dudes”; however, this case did not come up during any of our trials.

There were cases where two dudes were struck by the same method on the same frame. In these cases, the counter was incremented by two.

There were also cases where two attacks were launched by different sources at the same dude on the same frame. As far as I can tell the game does not allow two sources of damage to connect at the same time, so only one counter was incremented. Determining which one sometimes meant carefully measuring the direction and trajectory taken by the dude after being stricken.

This is all I have to say on the subject of dude science. Thanks for reading!

1 comment to The Science of BONK: A Methodology for Quantifying the Violence in River City Ransom

  • ShifterChaos

    Mad props broskie for putting the time and the effort into this. Doing your death montages, I know how mind numbing this can be. Rock on duder! *guitar solo backflip into sunset*

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