Monday, July 16, 2012

How I kept worrying and leared to hate the console

I was reluctant to play games as an adult.

Sure, Pitfall on the Commodore 64 was awesome (swing on a vine over crocodiles!). I loved Castle Wolfenstein (find and wear an enemy uniform to blend in!) and Mario 1-3 were great (jump up and hit blocks for treats!).

In my 20's the new generation of console games literally scared me.

Console Games are Scary: Part 1

Look at this remote:
Sony's PS3 Controller Image from GameSiteCenter

I'd grown up with joysticks and Nintendo.

You know, Up, Down, Left, Right, B, A, Select, and Start.

What's with the extra six controls? Two of them aren't even binary (the two mini-thumb joysticks).

This may as well have been the  the Enola Gay cockpit. This was simply too hard and I was too old. 

Console Games are Scary Part 2

Even though the controllers made me wonder who moved my cheese, I put my chin up and I tried it. Alone on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I put in my roommate's copy of Resident Evil, and started pushing buttons.

Things were immediately tense. I was in a dark mansion. I was not alone. Zombies were somewhere. But I could barely see! The candle lighting was faint.

Gone were the bright primary colors of my childhood games.

To top it off, scary music alluded to bad things ahead. My heart began pounding in my ears.

Like moronic teens in a scary movie, I was seriously clumsy. Though able to move, I was repeatedly walking into a wall. The graphics, which had been beautifully rendered from a distance, the candles flickering against the stone walls who's texture was uneven just like other castles I'd visited in daylight--these same graphics--got low-fi at point blank range. The walls looked like a group of dark brown polygons. I could hear zombies coming. Oh no. I managed to turn around and see the room I was in. Then it got even more scary.

Zombies were approaching at an injured snail's pace, limping in my direction and looking hungry. I tried to walk away, but I didn't know how to walk. I quickened my pace, forging ahead into the polygons like a malfunctioning robot.

Soon, a very scary-looking zombie gripped me, leaned back for the inertia, and bit my neck. Turns out, when video game zombies bite your neck, you don't simply blink into oblivion (see Mario) or fade away.

You bleed out, while the controller, yes the thing in your hands, suddenly shook. With. Each. Bite. It scared the living crap out of me.  I actually didn't know controllers vibrated in the first place let alone while terrifying things happened to your poor doomed avatar.

The game left me wide-eyed, heart-racing and ready to quit. I turned off the machine and just like any scary movie I accidentally watched, tried never to think about it again.

Things changed....I'll let you know how soon.

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