The good ones pull you in

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 7, 2008

This will be my first entry into a series about great moments from my gaming past. These wrinkles in time refuse to go away in my conscience, and I want to get them down before all the details are lost. The events won’t be in chronological order, but in the order I get them down.

The first wrinkle in gaming came on a late night Thief II: The Metal Age session in 2003 (I think it was ’03 – around that time anyway). I had been playing the game for awhile, and my roommate had started to take an interest – hanging around and just watching while I was going through a level.

This night was a little different, however, because a couple of our friends has also found their way to our room – so a total of about three other people are now watching Garrett and his daring do as he explores the City.

It was in one of the later levels – you’re walking around a graveyard looking for loot. Some of the exposed corpses have money on them (they say you can’t take it with you, but I guess these guys tried), so I was making easy pocket change taking whatever I could find.

Now anyone who has played a Thief game knows that magic and sorcery usually play a part, and this graveyard was no exception…

To set the scene: I’m playing the game with all the lights off the keep the glare down, the volume is turned way up since you need to hear everything going on, everyone is quietly watching my every move, and it’s late at night.

I go to pick the pocket of the last corpse, and the thing jumps up at me with a loud “UUUHHNNN!”

At this point, several things happened, all at the exact same time:

1.) I yelled “WHOA!” and nearly lost my balance in the chair – while this is an unconfirmed estimate, I think I flew back about fifty feet from the screen.

2.) Everyone else reacted – most people screaming, with my one buddy actually falling off the bed.

3.) Friends who lived one floor directly above us heard loud noises – and came downstairs minutes later to see what had happened.

4.) Somewhere, a developer from the now-defunct Looking Glass Studios smiled.

I highlight this “zombie incident” because not only is the scene of my friends and I getting the crap scared out of us funny to remember and a great college memory, but because I am continually amazed at how the good games can “pull you in.”

Sure, I was immersed in the game – had been for awhile. But it took no time at all for my friends to stop by, get caught up, and have a thought-to-be-dead body take away a year of their lives.

Here’s to getting sucked into the gaming world; and to that smiling developer, you owe me a new pair of pants.

Post tenebras lux

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