Lifetap Volume 1, Issue 37 – Attack of the Canadian Moose Plague
In the latest spine-tingling issue of Lifetap, Sardu combats the moose cooties infesting his brain, and ponders the adventures his characters surely embark upon during loading screens. Featuring the latest and greatest special guest: Invader Zim, and much more!
All was going swimmingly well last week when, out of nowhere, Dudley Do-Right leapt out of the shadows to give me the gift of the Canadian Moose Plague. My super patriotic red, white, and blue blood cells sprang into action to eradicate the interloper, but it was too late. The Canadian Moose Plague had already planted its cootie-infested flag deep within my brain.
At least I’m assuming that’s where the flag is planted, based on my current fever and inability to remain conscious and coherent for more than a couple of hours at a time. In between waltzes with the floor in my office, it occurs to me that this is what MMO characters must feel like during loading screens.
Have you ever stopped to think about where our characters go while we gaze longingly at wallpapers, randomized tip displays, and an assortment of progress throbbers? What kind of adventures do our characters get up to while crossing the abyss?
I’m determined to one day breach the almighty loading screen abyss to unlock its many mysteries. In fact, I’ve already prepped a complete design document that outlines plans for a game-within-a-game that would be loosely based on that exact concept. The idea originally came to me quite a while back while taking a brief hiatus from my staple MMO of choice at the time to play through Prey.
That game always seemed to occupy an odd space, at least in terms of critical and consumer reception. It was certainly fun, and pushed our perception of playable space in meaningful ways that few other shooters have ever attempted. The one gameplay element that resonated with me the most was the death mechanic. Instead of simply respawning or being booted back to the beginning of a level upon defeat, you would cross over into a spirit realm. Once there you would shoot at waves of apparitions, and your successes would have a direct impact on how much health you’d return to life with.
It was a simple concept, but felt very at home within the funky narrative of Prey. There really aren’t enough titles that attempt to address certain areas such as what happens to your character between defeats or loading screens. The death mechanic was intended to be central to the storyline of Copernicus, but alas, unless someone swoops in to rescue that game from limbo, at this point it will never see the light of day.
We do tend to see far fewer loading screens in more modern games, though occasionally they do pop up. For example, Dragon Age: Inquisition is packed full of the things due to a combination of fast travel options and the sheer complexity of most playable spaces. After critics blasted BioWare for masking load times behind elevator rides in the first Mass Effect, I’m sure the developer also realized it might as well stick with splash screen tips like those found in Inquisition.
Crossing the Abyss
While I attempt to fend off the remaining moose cooties infesting my brain, I’ll leave you with something far more entertaining than the random gibberish I’m able to otherwise muster.
To say I was a huge Invader Zim fan at one point is a gross understatement. I still consider it one of the best animated series to ever grace the mighty television, though will admit that it’s been quite some time since I’ve sat down and watched any episodes. That is, until the onset of the moose plague, at which point it seemed the perfect way to combat the cootie flag of doom via my optical receptors.
So in honor of the moose plague, below you can watch through the full episode of "A Room with a Moose" in all of its absurd glory. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying another glorious waltz with the floor in my office before my head explodes.