Every so often, you come across a video game character that you hate without any remorse, so much so that you start to think about how much you hate them in real life. It started with the Duck Hunt dog before moving onto Navi. Final Fantasy X’s Seymour soon followed and then Officer Tenpenny not far behind.
In 2016, we have a new contender for the most hateable game character. Step forward Gareth Walker: Alex Hunter’s supposed best friend in FIFA 17’s Journey mode.
From the offset, Gareth is hard to love. Not only is he bumming lifts off his best mate’s granddad, but he’s also giving lip about it. This can be excused as nothing but youthful scallywaggery, though a quick look into his chipmunk eyes tells a far deeper story. He is a creation of pure evil, something that should not be released into this world without a powerful spell to let him loose. And his haircut is shit.
At the exit trials to determine whether academy rejects deserve one last shot at the big time, Walker seems to show compassion to Alex. This is quickly realised to be a ruse – he’s playing a more complicated game of thrones than Littlefinger. Gareth doesn’t care about you like he says he does, quickly turning into your rival once you both get signed by the same club.
Despite my Alex having notched 10 goals in 5 games, Gareth still led the line for Everton and barely scored a goal. The starting XI was beckoning, but then the unthinkable happened – a loan move to Newcastle United in the lowly Championship. Walker must have reminded the manager of his son who died in a car crash because otherwise it makes no sense. How could the least attractive one out of The Wanted be deserving of it more?
The human felch showed no sympathy when I was sent down a division, not even the courtesy of replying to a text to go hang out at the local arcade and buy a Minion plushie or whatever the kids do these days. He continued to blank Alex in real life, but gave serious side-eye on Twitter instead.
Gareth continued to defy the will of God by somehow becoming one of the Premier League’s best players, all while Alex was quietly working away at a lower level. Despite looking like your regular market stall salesman, Gareth was going places, which quickly had an impact on his ego. In an interview with a reporter, the walking STD managed to be as disrespectful as possible, pulling off maximum sass, and looking like he should be in a Carry On movie.
It was at this point that I knew I wanted him to die. Not just in a football sense, but quite literally. He might not be as intimidating as a particularly difficult boss or as constantly badgering as a supporting character typically can be, but his middle school haircut, Aryan eyes and overall aura makes me want to do bad things.
I still have plenty of time in Journey to get through and I will no doubt come across Gareth again before its end, so for my sake and that of humanity, I hope Alex pulls a Roy Keane on him and sends him to work at a JJB Sports where he belongs.