Hey, um, guys? Little help?

There’s a bunch of mean lookin’ creatures heading towards me, any chance you could have me run away?

As you’re reading this, you might be at your desk at work. You might be on the bus or train home. You might even be playing a game right now.

Wherever you are, spare a thought to those loveable heroes you’ve left behind.

That’s right, don’t try and pretend you haven’t done it. Abandoned. Deserted. Left to fend for themselves in their respective universe. Picture this…

You’re playing Resident Evil 4. Maybe the door bell rings, it’s the pizza delivery guy. Suddenly, your desire to hack-and-slash your way through a wave of mindless, infected villagers is overpowered by your own need to feast.

Understandable. But whilst you’re devouring your large double pepperoni, didn’t you forget about someone?

(Insert awkward silence here.)

You did… golfclap to you. Just incase you were wondering, his name was Leon, and he’s now on fire.

Starting to sound familiar? I thought so. That feeling, in the pit of your stomach right now, that’s guilt my friend. Now, I don’t want you getting smart with me here, I can hear you what you’re saying.

‘Yeah, but, I paused the game first… duh.’

Even if you did, it doesn’t leave our floppy-haired protagonist in a much better situation. I mean, who want’s to be stuck in suspended reality with a bunch of blood-crazed maniacs and a certain brown paper-bag wearing chainsaw enthusiast?

Leon: ‘So, hey. I like your suspenders, where’d you get them from?’

Crazed Villager 1: ‘Oh these old things? I got them from this farmer I ate last week.’

Leon: *gulp*

Don’t worry though, I’m not here to judge you (too harshly). We’ve all been there, even myself. I’ve felt the cold hand of shame, bearing its weight down on my shoulder. Granted, I was a kid. Young and naive, with the attention span of a baby murloc.

Anyone who owned a Nintendo 64 will be more than familiar with Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

It all happened in the Water Temple.

For those who don’t remember, you had to press a number of switches that raised and lowered the water level within the temple, in order to navigate your way through. Of course, it was a lot more complex than it sounds.

Somehow, I managed to mess this process up so badly, I reached a dead-end in the game. The water level within the temple was too high for me to activate the next switch. No matter how much I tried, that damn switch wouldn’t activate and I’d just float there, helplessly. With no way of progressing, and no way to reset the temple, I was well and truly stuck.

A sensible gamer would regularly save their progress, especially, before an event such as the Water Temple.

Frustratingly, I did not.

So, that was it. I threw in the towel and gave up. All of that progress, all of that time spent playing as Link, wasted. On a scale of 1 – 10 on the Angry YouTube Gamer Kid scale, I’d say it was around a 6.

To this day, that save file remains untouched. And Link? Well, he’s been drowning for about 14 years now. Granted, I did eventually pluck up the courage to return to Ocarina of Time and complete it. And, I admit, I may have choreographed a merry jig like dance as I skipped out of the Water Temple victorious.

Man, it feels good to get that off my chest.

So, next time you’re gaming, spare a thought for when you’re not. If there’s a game you’ve not quite finished yet, go do it. Not only do you owe it to yourself, but to the unsung hero, waiting on your command.

Greg Lockley.

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