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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


as if i'm suffocating

folks, today is a day i will long remember.

on the way back from lunch today we ran by gamestop, and while wandering around i noticed a box labeled impossible mission on the DS shelf. hoping it wasn't a stupid typo, i checked out the screenshots on the back, and confirmed that this was indeed the long-awaited port of the commodore 64 classic. and it was only $10.

and yet i sensed something as i walked up to the register, a presence i hadn't felt since...

as a small child, i started gaming on my C64. i was okay at some of the games, better at others, but the one that always confounded me was impossible mission. counfounded doesn't begin to describe... it terrified me.

renee laughed while i told her this story. so did tony, ryan, and brian. but i think the things that frightened us as children - things that we haven't completely confronted as adults - stick with us. maybe you saw a dead animal on the side of the road, or saw a clown that was particularly scary. me, i played this game - a simple concept, really. you are dropped into an elevator shaft and are met with a monstrous, 1980's-computer-generated evil voice telling you that you're trapped. your goal is to search every room looking for puzzle pieces hidden in equipment, as well as avoid the robots that can kill you by touching you, or by shooting you with lightning. there are also deadly floating black spheres. they float.

none of these things were the real problem. two things were:

- when you fall down a pit, you scream, loud and gratingly, for a very long time. excruciatingly long.
- the game is timed - a six hour clock, counting down constantly, but it's not onscreen. you never know how much time you have left. you lose ten minutes off of it every time you die, and you die a LOT. when you are out of time, the game ends, and the previously mentioned evil voice laughs at you and the screen shakes. this happens with absolutely no warning - it's like someone jumping out and startling you when you think you're alone. it's like this. at age six or seven, it was awful.

needless to say i never got close to finishing it - not only was it terrifying, it lived up to its name. once you found all 36 puzzle pieces, you had to make it back to one of the rooms with a special door, and then spend hours trying to put the pieces back together into nine different complete pictures, rotating and changing the colors of the pieces.

ever wonder why i write about games so much? it's because they have been a part of my life ever since i can remember, and this one was one of the first to impact me. for my entire life it has represented my inadequacies - the things i couldn't do, wasn't smart enough or brave enough or clever enough to face on my own. and because it scared the crap out of me, i've been scared of facing those inadequacies.

i'm impressed you are still reading. thanks. this is actually kind of important to me - because today i faced those feelings head on. yep, i'm a 28 year old guy that was just a little jittery booting up the DS.

about 30 minutes ago, i finished impossible mission. DOMINATED it. with HOURS to spare. a little strategy and patience and some graph paper and it was incredible. best $10 i ever spent - a victory for the human spirit.

did you know that 'barbarian' originally meant 'barley eater'? thanks alton.


for this post

Anonymous Renee Says:

That's too cool...I WANNA PLAY IT!!!

Blogger Davie Says:

Sweet. I had Impossible Mission II back in the day for our IBM, and I was terrible at it.

Blogger Artie Says:

I feel that way about the second level of Top Gin for the NES. I could never refuel. I failed democracy.


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