Raiding the Tomb of Bygone Days

Last time I was unemployed for this length of time, I was in my early twenties. It was the mid-nighties and times were hard; youth unemployment was skyhigh unless you fancied an apprenticeship where the only choices you had were at Fords making cups of tea for the union leaders or hairdressing. 

Actual footage of the 1990s
Actual footage of the 1990s

Around this time one of the technological advances in home entertainment was the Playstation. Despite the collapse of Commodore Business Machines, I was fairly happy with my Amiga 1200 so I didn't really go in for consoles. Besides, I was convinced that my Amiga 1200, with its massive 200Mb hard drive, would last for ever so the likelihood of me actually owning a console was slim.

One rainy Liverpool afternoon I had been summoned to Shitbag's flat to see his newly purchased technology. Shitbag liked to flash the cash when he had it and moreso when he didn't or if he thought you didn't either. A great deal of his tech was gained by wheeling and dealing, finding things on the street or calling in "favours". Also some items were probably obtained through petty crime and others through honest "work" like playing church organs, odd-cash-in-hand-jobs or short-term jobs that he would only do "for a bit like" because he could run his own version company after a few weeks of 9-5 if he wanted to. 

Actual photo of Shitbag enjoying the fruits of his labour
Actual photo of Shitbag enjoying the fruits of his labour

It was on this visit that Shitbag revealed he had obtained a new Playstation by "swapping" it for a graphic equaliser. His excitement regarding his new find was hardly contained and heightend further by the demonstration of a new game called Tomb Raider or something.

Following a cup of tea and a bit of talking old toot later, Shitbag fired up the Playstation and we began playing. He'd had the game for a few days now but he was struggling to get past the first level as he couldn't find what he was supposed to do. He offered me a go and, after a bit of fumbling and getting used to the new controls, I was soon running Lara Croft around the screen like a professional. 

Lara Croft - before graphical enhancements
Lara Croft - before graphical enhancements

Within fifteen minutes I'd managed to clear the bit of the game that Shitbag had been stuck on for days. To this day I remember the look of disbelief on his face when I pointed out what he'd missed. 

Spin forward to present day and I am currently replaying the original Tomb Raider. It surprises me how I can still almost instinctively remember the solution, even after not having played for nearly 15 years. Moreover, memories of conversations and flashes of events where Shitbag and I collaborated on exploring frequently come to mind. Time has passed and sequels also played, but yet still some questions remain and the feasibility and realism of the game really struggles under adult -more educated- eyes.

— How is it that the monsters, sealed — potentially for hundreds if not thousands of years — in the game have managed to stay alive without food or water?

— How is it that it is so light in these tombs with no torches or windows?

— Why is everything — supposedly eons old -built on a cube system with handy ledges and grab holds?

— How does Lara Croft get out of these places when she's finished the level?

— When the ancient people that built these maze like tombs finished building them, how did they get out without triggering the traps?

Thinking things like this can ruin one's enjoyment of a thing.


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