We’ve all made bad choices during a playthrough of a game. Blowing yourself up with your own grenade, choosing skills in an RPG that later turn out to be pretty useless, even thinking it’s smart to play online with your crappy internet connection.
But, I want to tell you about my worst blunder that has haunted me since the fateful year of 2003.
I don’t know how many of you played Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, one of the most heavily criticised games in the Tomb Raider series. It came with a lot of odd controls and gameplay which in hindsight, were bloody awful. But I was 8 years old. I went with it. In AoD, there were a number of systems including a strength-upgrade system where you’d basically tank Lara up by getting her to jack open crates and stuff to upgrade her upper and lower body strength. This would mean she could sprint for longer, and also hold onto stuff for longer. Because in this game, Lara can only shimmy along ledges for a restricted amount of time before she gets a bit tired and needs a nap. This meant that every long encounter with a tall building or wall needed to be timed perfectly to make sure you had enough strength to make the climb.
Coupled with this, you had to manually save your game in AoD. I know, remember those days? It became like a nervous twitch to save my game every time I took a step. Unlike now when you manually save your games and reloading takes you to the nearest checkpoint, basecamp, or cut-scene, AoD saved your game literally exactly where you stood. So anyway, picture this.
8 year old Emma had gotten pretty far through the game – I was on a level called Archaeological Dig wherein at one point, you have to monkey-bar swing underneath an enormous clay bridge to get to the other side of the level. But oh yes, you guessed it, Lara only has a certain amount of strength to get to the other side. This is where the perfect timing came in – I made sure to save it before I hopped under this bridge so I could gauge the gap, how far I needed to jump, the narrowest parts of the bridge that would bring me to the other side quickest.
After a few times of dropping off and dying, I knew I had the right length of time sussed this time. For some reason I can’t recollect, I decided to overlap my save halfway through the bridge because I was so sure. I didn’t want to miss my perfect climb. But in those nanoseconds that it took me to consider saving my game, load up the menu, and then get my concentration back after coming off the menu – I had lost my perfect timing.
So, yeah, every time I reloaded my save, I dropped off the bridge and died about 3/4 of the way along and there was literally nothing I could do about it. I had to start again, but I was so mad, I didn’t pick up the game again until I was 10. Talk about bitter.
That has to be the worst blunder I’ve made in a game, the absolute definition of self-sabotage. I still find it hard to trust myself now 14 years on.