Video games used to be hard. All of you youngin's probably do not know this. But it is true. Once upon a time, video games were difficult. Frustratingly difficult. Your character never jumped high enough, their were bottomless pits and spikes coming out of things that should not ever hold spring-loaded spikes, you were equipped with puny weaponry and pitted against monsters from the land of Impossibilia. Why? Because there wasn't much more they could offer besides difficulty. Stories were thin, what you saw with your eyes wasn't much worth looking at. And so game designers decided they'd rather have us emitting girlish screams while launching our wired controllers across the den.
Then something happened. Gaming went 3-D, graphics got better, someone discovered the "tutorial," "save point," and "unlimited lives," and now, well, games are basically engineered for pussies. Yeah, I said it. But guess what? I'm a pussy, so I couldn't be happier. When I play Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto, I am free to rape the cop and murder the mother with the stroller, because, when I die, I'll magically re-spawn at a hospital. If I get gunned down in Call of Duty, I'll be back at a half-way marker immediately. I love it. It means I can complete games and enjoy the story.
Well, don't get too comfortable, my nerdy gaymer brethren! There has been a recent renaissance of the fuck-annoying game. Mega Man is back. Contra is back. Your lives are limited and your opponents are endless. And now there comes this game, which mocks players with its very title: Aban Hawkins & The 1,000 Spikes.
Cute title, and the fuckers aren't kidding. Spikes come out of EVERYTHING. With NO warning at all. One hit and you're dead, and you go RIGHT BACK TO THE BEGINNING. Oh bitch please you have to be kidding me! I'm yanking my eyes out already and I don't even have the game! (Nor could I get it, it's only available on XBOX). They give you 1,000 lives which seems generous... but the idea of getting halfway through one of these terrible levels only to die and go back to the beginning would annihilate me.
I don't know if any of you are gluttons for punishment of the furious variety, but if you are, I recommend picking up this title. Watch the playthrough video below. My God, it gave me hives. Tiny pixellated Aban Hawkins and all of those fucking blood-crusted spikes. Thanks but no thanks. I'll stick with my bullet-proof, inhumanly incapable of dying video game protagonists.
If you want to see TRUE human frustration, check out this video on Kotaku. I feel so terrible for the reviewer. I'd have either flung my controller through the TV, or shoved it down my throat by the point he finally gives up.
- Justin Luke