Off The Grid: Space Lift Danger Panic
Allison Winters is a hero with a thousand faces
[Josie Campbell enters the Fractured Skull Bar. She looks disheveled and distraught. As she takes a seat at the bar, she shoves her Nintendo 3DS into her coat pocket. She proceeds to order several drinks, sometimes muttering something under her breath, before addressing the barkeep]
Josie: Barkeep, you ever wonder why I’m here every night? You don’t? Well, I don’t care. I’ll just rant into the ether all I want anyway. I’m paying good money; money I just up and stole when I was busy being the Hero of the Ceranthian people. Yeah, that’s right, when those godforsaken aliens tried to kill our people in that giant space elevator we built, money was just falling out of those traveler’s pockets. Of course, terrible alcohol isn’t the only thing I’ve used that money for, bulk of it maybe, but not all of it.
I was just filling in for this lazy jerk, Tyrone when they told me I was the last hope to save all those lives and threw some fancy portal gun at me. You know the kind of pressure that puts on a gal? Let me tell you: it’s like doing a bottom of the ocean duet with Freddie Mercury levels of pressure. At first, all I could think about was how to operate this gun, but once I cleared my mind and remembered, that’s when I started losing people.
I’ve had so much alcohol these last few weeks that my memories getting blurry, even when I’m sober. Blurry is good, it could help make the people I was trying to save look like part of the faceless masses of squished together forms like they’re in some old atari game. My mind has almost started seeing them in a pixel form, but it still can’t forget they died; the gushers of blood don’t look any less real to me. Every time I saw a person I could have saved had I just been just a bit quicker, I lost it and more died. I digress,I was talking about the filthy blood money I stole!
My superiors told me I’d have to do what they call a “mulligan” if I lost too many people. See that’s what the government didn’t tell you – I got to try again and again in every sector till the numbers looked good enough for the report. That money was so the government would look the other way and let a few people die. Fudge the numbers and silence families of the lost with a little bit of “spending money.” Why did they let me keep at it if I was so inept, you might ask? Well, have you ever tried to get someone to come in on a Saturday? I’d have a better chance of reaching Nirvana, than that happening.
What they didn’t know, is that I know how we got to this point. It was our own damned greed! We weren’t content with just screwing up our own planet, we had to screw up another planet too, but not until the poor of our own damned planet had fled to new one, of course! We didn’t gaze into the abyss, we created it, and our enemies were all too eager to take advantage of it. Maybe that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the truth, I swear to you.
You know what? I like you,Stewart, you aren’t like the other barkeeps here on the space station. They all kick me out after I tell this story. Maybe you get me in some weird way. Maybe you get the immense guilt I feel, or maybe you’re just a barkeep who enjoys the ramblings of a broken person who can only cope with alcohol. Either way, I couldn’t save them all: the broken families, the ruined lives. I couldn’t save their souls with that portal gun. I wish I still had it – maybe then I could save my own. Instead, all I have is this.
[Josie looks to her glass before raising it high and taking it down in one gulp. She looks down at the bar top for a minute, her shoulders swaying from side to side, before she passes out, head down on the bar. Stewart, who has been busy stocking the bar and clearing the counter and only half-listening to anything Josie says, turns at the familiar sound of a forehead hitting the bar top. He walks around the bar to give Josie a careful shake. Josie’s out cold. Stewart notices a note crumpled in her hand. Not necessarily a paragon of honesty himself, Stewart reads the note. We hear the letter read in Josie’s voice]
Josie: Dear People Who Care,
Space Lift Danger Panic was rather boring. It tries to pull off the look and feel of an old arcade game, and while it mostly succeeds, they throw so many people at you at such a slow pace in the later levels that the game becomes tedious rather than tense.The difficulty curve is all over the place. Some levels are insanely difficult, but are followed by a level you can breeze through.The plot is rather weird and dark for a game that more focused on being cheesy. The game plays well and has nothing wrong with it, but it fails to make any sort of impact outside of a story, and even that ends with a cheap joke about poor translations. It’s the Gunman Clive of arcade style throwbacks. 5/10 would not play again
Also, sorry barkeep, get the money for my tab from my mom and tell her I never loved her.
[Stewart, in a mixture of confusion and shock, walks back around the bar, picks up the phone, and calls Josie’s mother to come pick her up.]
Allison Winters is an embalmer by trade and writer by choice who spends her free time over thinking everything. If you like what you read then you can check her out at her blog or Twitter.