For the longest time, I couldn’t play Out of This World, the acclaimed side-scroller in which, as one GameFAQs user put it, “failure is almost unavoidable.” I was too scared to. Right at the beginning of the game, there are these evil slug monsters who jump completely out of nowhere and kill you instantly. They’re impossible to avoid—at least, they were for a a ten-year old who’d only just recently mastered tying his shoes—and they always jolted the poo out of me.
And that’s just in the first ten seconds of gameplay. This kinda thing happens throughout the entire game; super-frequently, there are ways for you to die without even knowing what happened, causing you to lose entire minutes of progress and try again, only to just die again, and again, and again.
The same thing always happened to me in a game called The Adventures of Willy Beamish (which, incidentally, was reviewed on GC this month by Travis Combs), an adventure game that ends your game and sends you off to military school for making fun of the school principal, or for pushing your little sister too hard on the swingset, or for…not walking your dog enough. There are loads and loads and loads of ways to lose the game without even knowing what’s going on, and if you don’t save frequently enough, you’re losing loads and loads of your time.
I couldn’t handle this as a kid. I still can’t, really, but back then I was absolutely terrified of losing so easily. Granted, neither of those games would’ve been rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, so I shouldn’t even have been playing them anyway; but the frustration hasn’t gotten anymore entertaining with age. It still bugs me when I drown in the first few frames of Out of This World because I haven’t quite figured out the swim button yet, even if it no longer makes me cry into my Smurfs pillowcase. (It’s Teen Titans, now.)
Maybe I’m a little too “new school” in my beliefs, but I’m glad the industry’s finally gotten away from near-random insta-deaths. You still see it in games like Alien Hominid that have a decidedly retro feel, but for the most part, the industry’s grown out of that stage. It’s nice to see that some good has transpired in the biz over the last fifteen or so years.
At least it’s something, eh? Plenty bad has been happening over the last several weeks, but at least we’ve got that.
Grannies might be purchasing Grant Theft Auto for their 14 year-old grandsons, and then might be livid at an industry that hides consensual sex between two adults in a game about stealing cars, killing police officers, selling drugs and raping prostitutes.
Presidential hopefuls might want to spend millions in taxpayers’ money to discover who put consensual sex between two adults in a game about stealing cars, killing police officers, selling drugs and raping prostitutes. (Hint: look at the back of the box.)
People might be upset that, oh my God, consensual sex between two adults was hidden in a game about stealing cars, killing police officers, selling drugs and raping prostitutes, and thus the game was rated for seventeen year-olds instead of eighteen year-olds (because that one year makes all the difference).
Parents might be concerned for the innocence of little Johnny, who’d have to spend a goodly amount of time searching for cheat codes, then purchasing cheat devices, then inputting cheat codes, all in order to unlock the consensual sex between two adults that’s hidden in a game about stealing cars, killing police officers, selling drugs and raping prostitutes (because a child who’d go to all that work to unlock sex has a lot of innocence left to save).
But at least the slug-like creatures won’t get us anymore. Or, at least not the same slug-like creatures.