First off, let me apologise for my absence from the website last month. I took a break from writing while my hand healed. The bones in my left hand had begun to experience a grinding pain while typing, and I think it was probably the result of nearly four years of intense typing for both Otaku Magazine and Play Tech.
But this short break seems to have done wonders for it, and it also allowed me some time to get used to the routines and nuances of my new job. But before I get back into writing articles properly, I thought I’d share with you a funny story. We’re all gamers here, and I’m sure that something like this has happened to most of us at least once. My buddy, Simon, thought this was hilarious, and it reinforced his opinion that I somehow find the most creative ways to die in videogames.
Continued, after the jump.
This time, I was playing Resident Evil Zero on the Gamecube (fantastic game). Now, before I describe what happened, let me tell you how Resident Evil games used to work – for those whose first experience with the series is RE4 or later. The way it used to work was that the games rewarded you with cool unlockable items, like weapons, outfits, and sometimes even entirely new characters and sub-games, if you played skilfully. Unfortunately, Capcom’s idea of skilful play back then was a bit warped – requiring the player to save their game as seldom as possible, to use no health sprays at all to heal your character (only herbs), and to avoid using the more powerful weapons. There were some freaks out there who could clear the games without saving at all, which would yield the absolute highest ranking, but most of us couldn’t stomach the thought of playing three to five hours of game only to die near the end, and so we would usually saveÂ at the halfway point or near the end somewhere.
So there I was, playing RE Zero, which I had cleared before, so now I knew what to expect and had my minimal-save strategy all planned out to unlock some cool stuff. I’d been playing for about an hour and half. Now, another explanation is due here before I continue, or the funny side won’t come through. In RE Zero, you controlled two characters at once, Rebecca Chambers (the hottest RE girl, in my opinion) and Billy Coen. You could switch between these characters at will, and as you’ve probably guessed, this was sometimes necessary for solving puzzles. One button let you switch between characters while another let you tell your partner to either â€œwait thereâ€ or â€œcome hereâ€. The button to tell them to wait or follow was – of all the buttons Capcom could have made it – the Start button. Remember that, it’s important.
At any rate, just prior to the famous Centipede boss fight, you have to solve this puzzle where there’s a key underneath a heavy cage in an empty swimming pool. Luckily, the cage is attached to chain connected to a winch on the wall. Rebecca isn’t strong enough to winch up the cage, so what you have to do is use Billy to winch up the cage, then let him hold it, switch to Rebecca, climb down into the pool, and get to the key from underneath the cage while Billy holds it up. I got this far -Â without saving, as I was trying for a good rank – and then something happened.
My buddy, Simon, phoned me. And what does a gamer do when they see their phone light up? Well, what would you have done? Naturally, I pressed the Start button to pause the game while I reached for my phone, and if you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve written so far, you can probably see what’s coming, right? Yep, in RE Zero, the Start button calls your partner over to you – it doesn’t pause the game! So Rebecca, still standing underneath the heavy iron cage, turns around and shouts to Billy, â€œCome here!â€ So Billy obliges by turning around and heading over to Rebecca… and letting go of the winch handle, causing the cage to come crashing down on Rebecca’s head, killing her.
I stared in disbelief for a moment as my hour and a bit worth of game time just when down the toilet, and almost didn’t answer the phone. Of course, I blasted Simon over the phone, and explained to him the situation, which he understood well, being a RE Zero player himself. Until this happened, we had no idea it was even possible to die this way. As I said before, Simon thought this was friggin’ hilarious, and one of my better, more creative videogame deaths.
So there you have it. I’m sure that most of you have similar tragic stories about videogame deaths due to unforeseen circumstances, and can relate to the sense of pain and loss I felt here. I’ve had a few other crowning achievements in many a game over the years. A death that I had while giving Simon a demo of Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2, for instance, was worthy of recognition in the Gaming Darwin Awards, but that is a story for another time.
Last Updated: May 5, 2009