We had a man, once; a man who saved the world. A good man. A great man. They say we won’t ever have another man like him again. I don’t rightly know, myself. “Again” is a pretty long time. But he’d be pretty hard to beat, that’s for sure.
Ever since I was a young boy (though not quite that young), I have heard stories, nay, legends, about a video game for the Nintendo 64 home entertainment system known only by the moniker “Conker’s Bad Fur Day”. Published back in 2001 by Rareware, this game has constantly been touted as a cult classic due to its unique flavor of irreverent and mature humor packaged in the guise of a colorful adventure/platformer. For years I’ve been intrigued by its existence, as I fancy myself a fan of those that dare to take the road less travelled, but I really never knew anything about it other than, “It’s an M-rated cartoon game made by the people that did Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64; what more need be said?” While I’ve always wanted to play it and see for myself, I’ve never been one that enjoys crude humor, even if done well, and so I’ve held back time and time again. Last week, however, I finally bit the bullet and told myself that I would purchase this hallowed gem and experience the wonder of times gone by.
When memory constraints in arcade circuit boards and game cartridges were tight, programmers simply didn’t have the ability to make a game very long by design. However, a short game would leave the consumer disappointed as games were just as expensive then as they are now. The solution was difficulty: Make a game tricky to play and give the player limited chances to play it. Lives created a consequence for failure, and progression created a reward for success: it forced the player to keep playing and improve their skills if they wanted to achieve victory. Each time the player played the same level, it felt slightly different, because they were slightly more skilled than they were the last time they played it, and thus their gaming experience became new as new options opened to them.
Spiderweb, in the corner. Underneath the shelf. Above the CD player.
A distant window is awash in evening gold. The light journeys long to reach my eyes. It winks against the dust of the still air, floating, mindlessly, silently.
Simen glances briefly at the spent field behind him. “I can see that. What of your allies?”
So I hear that some people—you know who you are—say that I’m running some kind of halfway house for monsters or something? Now I ain’t gonna say that they’re wrong. But I sure as hell ain’t gonna say that they’re right. I mean, yeah, I rent out my rooms without asking too many questions; s’long as they can pay and look normal enough I let ‘em in. But some grungy troll monster comes knocking at my door? I do whatever a good Southern woman would do: grab my shotgun and blow that trash away.
“Ehh, well, that’s why it’s here.” She walks off to clean some other table, leaving Cecile to ponder the parallels between sandwich shop pinball machine prizes, church raffles, and the state lottery. Finding that she doesn’t have a quarter in her pocket to begin with, she shrugs and leaves the arcade machine to its own devices, wandering back to Marcie and Luke who are just finishing up exchanging their money for goods and services.