VR training takes up real time

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 20, 2008

This is the second 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 are not in chronological order.

I owe a lot to the Metal Gear series. As someone who enjoys the storytelling aspects of video games, the adventures of Snake and crew never disappointed (Okay, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty wasn’t as good, but I wouldn’t say disappointing). High drama, great characters, and with more cut scenes then you could shake a stick at, I had no trouble getting sucked into the games.

If I enjoy a series, I want to get all I can out of it – and this brings me to Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions. A good friend from my first year of college had a Playstation, and I rented the game. Essentially a puzzle game with a gun, VR missions was fun and challenging to play. Playing through the game gives you a percentage of how much you have completed, and I figured I would just get as far as I could before taking it back.

But my friend had watched me play and got caught up – it became an obsession for both of us as we played along into the night for a few nights straight to try to complete the game at 100%. I’m sure courses were missed, and I know sleep was lost, but we just keep going. Many times we looked at the time limit running out, frantically trying to reach or complete the goal on time. Each stage became our personal enemy, keeping us from our goal and laughing at our mistakes.

If I remember correctly, we ended up completing over 99% of the game. I believe there were only two stages left that we just couldn’t beat, no matter how hard (or how many times) we tried. I’m sure if we owned the game we would have made it to 100%, but it was due back – money is very precious to a college student.

This moment sticks in my mind because of how the game just took us over – me, who liked the source material, and my friend, who had never even heard of it. We both dropped whatever we had going and focused all of our energy on destroying every floating geometric shape that got in our way. I don’t know if Konami had that exact goal in mind when they developed the game, but if so – mission accomplished.

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