Cheat Codes for Getting Out of Your Damn House

Greetings to all eight of my readers. Sorry I wasn't around last month to supply you with half-assed writing and mean-spirited personal attacks. But then, we all know that I haven't written anything w

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SMB3Greetings to all eight of my readers. Sorry I wasn’t around last month to supply you with half-assed writing and mean-spirited personal attacks. But then, we all know that I haven’t written anything worth reading in quite a few months. So I really just saved you the time and effort of being disappointed. You’re welcome.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve combined my tepidly-popular Cheat Codes for Life column with my forgettable Get Out of Your Damn House column. This is my farewell article to GameCola. After this month, I will no longer be writing for GameCola on a regular basis. Probably. I’ll write more about why Get Outta the Damn House is being canceled below, but if I keep getting letters for Cheat Codes, I’ll keep answering them.

So two months ago, I asked you to write to me about any of your embarrassing gaming moments, as if self-identifying as a gamer wasn’t embarrassing enough. Here are the responses:

Hey Zack,

I have an embarrassing moment (well, I have a few, but I’ll go with this one). A couple of years ago, I was at my then-boyfriend’s house, hanging out with him and his friend who I had never really met before. They were playing videogames and, wanting to impress them, I began bragging about how awesome I was at the first world of Mario 3, having played it a ton when I was little. So they brought out the game, and I promptly died in the first level…repeatedly. I believe at one point I actually turned away from the screen to talk to one of them while still holding down the right arrow on the d-pad, which definitely is not a good strategy in games with lots of holes you can fall into. Yeah, that was pretty embarrassing.

The end. 🙂

Elizabeth Medina-Gray

Dear Elizabeth,

First of all, playing a videogame poorly should never embarrass you. Bragging about being an awesome gamer should. Think of it like the furry fetish. What’s worse: not knowing the correct terminology for when two deviants dress up like animals and fuck, or being so well-versed in the topic that you could accurately explain in your furrys’ advice column how one gets semen stains out of a wolf costume?


Dear Zack,

While I’ve probably had more embarrassing things happen, there’s one thing I did that I remember most vividly.

The game was Final Fantasy Legend, and, somehow, I managed to stumble through to the end of the game when I was about seven years old. I decided to sell a bunch of useless stuff in order to buy better equipment, and at the top of my list was the Glass Sword. I take one look at the name and I go “That sounds like it’ll be pretty weak and probably break or something” and figure that I’m ripping off the merchant who’s giving me one whole gold piece for it.

It never crossed my mind that I might be selling the most powerful weapon in the game. My 1g in hand, I save the game immediately before the end boss, at that save point where your only option is to fight him. I was never able to beat the game, and I’ve never gotten anywhere close to as far in my later attempts as I did that time.

My brother still makes jokes about “Hey, why don’t you sell the Glass Sword for 1g? That sounds like a pretty good idea,” whenever I have an important decision to make.

– Alex Jedraszczak

Dear Alex,

It concerns me that after, I’m guessing ten or eleven years, this is one of your more vividly embarrassing moments. The fact that you spent enough time playing the worst Final Fantasy game to get to the end should be embarrassing enough.

What’s worse is that you went back and tried to beat it again, only to fail. That’s almost as sad as taunting somebody else for making the wrong move in a videogame.

Years from now, if you’ve continued your life of gaming, and you find yourself crying with exposed wrists, a rusty razor blade and another important decision to make, when your brother says “Hey, why don’t you sell the Glass Sword for 1g?” You’ll both realize what a mess your life has become and share that rusty blade together.


Dear Zack,

If you still need one, I have a story that is coincidentally very close to one of your examples.

Before I went on my high school exchange to Japan and during said exchange, I was obsessed with owning one of those “head TVs”—the little VR visor things you could wear that put tiny screens in front of your eyes. They were all over Gamepro’s cheap advert pages back then, and they seemed like the most awesome things in the world, especially considering that my favorite game was (and still is) Doom.

Well, a few weeks into my exchange I found a pair on sale (they had been the display unit). So I went without lunch, saving my daily 500 yen stipend until I had the money to afford a pair, and quickly began to surreptitiously play games at night while everyone was asleep.

This was also the time when the Dreamcast—the first mainstream console with enough power to justify and make me interested in 3D graphics—was new, and I was all over Shenmue and Code Veronica. And who could forget the quirky Space Channel 5?

I know I never will. With the free camera character viewer (or “upskirt”) mode, and the convenience of being on my back in a dark room as I played, I found myself masturbating to Urara’s shiny polygonal legs nightly. One night, for a reason which I’ll never be able to know, my host mother opened the door just as I was making very practical use of one of my old socks. Since 99% of my field of vision was blocked, it took a second for me to notice the light in the room having changed and confirm whose feet were at the door. Unfortunately it was too late to hide my shame.

I had to live with them for two months after that, and I never looked her in the eyes again. And I never could bring myself to use the mayonnaise squirt bottle in front of her, no matter how dry and tasteless my okonomiyaki was.

True story.

Shit! I wrote all this at 2 a.m. and I didn’t even start my own article yet!

– Richo Rosai

Dear Richo,

This letter is exactly why you’re one of my favorite GameCola writers. Not only do you openly acknowledge your lameness without that annoying “I’m proud to be lame” attitude, but you also manage to be funny without constantly trying to.

There isn’t anything that I can really add to this letter, so I’ll just say that a masturbation story is truly a fitting end to my run on Cheat Codes for Life.

I’ll finish up this article with my explanation of the demise of Get Out of Your Damn House. Last summer, I spent about two months on the road, during which I got the idea for this column. My original intent was to somehow trick readers who just wanted to know about videogames into finding excuses to go outside and see what’s out there.

I’ve been playing videogames since I was about five, and I’ve never once come across a game that could get even close to the fun and excitement of those two months. I’m pretty sure I never will.

I just want some of you out there to try going out and finding some interesting stories of your own to tell that don’t revolve around warp zones and unlockable cheat codes. I know it’s foolish to think that any of you will give up videogames—hell, I still play them every so often. But for the love of god, at least once in awhile, Get Out of Your Damn House.

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About the Contributor

From 2005 to 2007

Zack Huffman is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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