Almost every culture has some kind of rite of passage. Obnoxious, privileged rich girls throw lavish Sweet Sixteen parties (and apparently get simultaneous TV deals), Native American tribes send their young out in the wilderness to wait until nature speaks directly to them. It's a way to mark the transition from child to man. Or in my case, manchild. These are some of our video game vision quests.
Leisure Suit Larry
I can't recall exactly when Larry Laffer confidently strolled into my life. But I do remember that my father always told me to "scram and while you're at it, get me another RC Cola" whenever he launched the randy PC adventure game.
But what was he cackling about? What was so damn funny? After what seemed like eons, I waited until he was asleep to slip away to the family den and boot up DOS as quietly as I could.
Unfortunately, it would take many failed attempts before I could crack Al Lowe's cryptic "Prove Your Age" questions. But when I finally did (by sheer chance), the vault was finally opened to the raunchy, perverted jokes that would make a ventriloquist dummy blush.
Following Larry in his saucy adventures made me feel like a grownup. A real man. Unfortunately, this euphoric feeling ended abruptly when I reached a point in the game where I had to order up a bottle of wine to the hotel room, but didn't know how to spell "suite" correctly.
Thanks to the demise of text-based adventure games, I won't make that mistake again.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
My first encounter with the potty-mouthed, beer-swilling rodent was seeing a full page advertisement in Playbo Computer Gaming World. It was a picture of a squirrel with its head buried in a toilet with the lines "Bad Fur Day" underneath it. It piqued my curiosity. And then when the commercial aired of a hungover, blonde amorously tickling a jacket-wearing squirrel in a dirty hotel room full of discarded beer bottles I was sold.
This would be first (and last) time I ever had to show my driver's license to rent a video game. It would also be the last time I'd defeat a boss by smashing his brass testicles with a couple of bricks or using a busty daisy's lady bits as a trampoline.
Well, I don't want to say the last time. Who knows what the future will bring?
My father never should have allowed me to play this game. Sure, I was twelve at the time, but this game scarred me for years to come.
There are horror games and then there are the seriously f*cked up horror games. Around Disk #353, you have to walk around the mansion and witness all these murders. The one that turned me off to beef stroganoff for a few years was when this crazy magician kills his gluttonous wife by strapping a funnel to her foodhole and forcing her to choke down animal entrails.
Did I mention this was all done with live action actors?
If you'll excuse me, I have a corner I need to rock myself to sleep in.
Ahhh Night Trap. Shhhh, don't talk. You had me at "early 90's college co-eds trapped in a house during a sleepover shot like a terrible B-movie". I dreamily thought to myself, "Wow, so this is what it'll be like when I grow up"
I felt pervy enough getting satisfaction off rescuing these girls using my ingenious traps, but why'd they make the interface like I was watching them through well-placed security cameras?
We all have to grow up sometime. Someone needed to save these dames from the vampires and Night Trap would give my 11 year old self the confidence it would take to go out and try to pick up women.
I can't begin to recall the amount of times I was shut down with the words, "I don't need to be rescued. And stop calling me Dana Plato."
Most gamers will pick out the Mortal Kombat franchise as their first introduction to decapitating uppercuts, effortless removal of reptilian spines, and "that was pretty lame" kisses of death. But my first taste of how messed up this world can be was when I rented the 1994 game Primal Rage. My buddies and I were all smiles when we finally executed the button combo for Chaos' coveted "golden shower" finishing move. Sure, we all got big laughs out of that. But we didn't know better.
Once we looked up what "golden shower" actually was, the smiles were quickly melted from our innocent faces. At that moment, we could never go back to being kids again.