» pulp »


I am unsure why, but sitting indoors in a dimmed and cooled-down room during summer feels terrific. That is rather ironic, for summer is the season where you can actually go outside and have fun with your friends (instead of sitting around and having a nice little afternoon tea with your therapist.)

I think it comes down to an experience I’ve had a decade ago, which for most people is not that far away. Anyway, the family was on vacation. We were staying for a night or two at a boring camping ground in northern France, not much being there that you could do.

Something catched my interest though: in the middle of the campsite was the obligatory communal space, with toilets and such. But in order to get to the washing rooms, you had to pass through a simplistic brick building. Inside, it was almost empty, rather cold, and stiflingly dark. There were roughly three light sources: the small entrance door where you came from, the one leading to the bathrooms, and giant cathode ray tubes beloging to some arcade machines. No windows, no additional lighting. Your every step reverberated and added to the noise coming from the arcade machines.

I think most of the cabinets were switched off, save for an arcade adaptation of Alien 3, called Alien 3: The Gun. How very original!

Essentially, the game was nothing more than an obnoxious rail shooter: the camera followed a predefined path and disgusting monsters jumped right into your face demanding to get shot. Just like U.S. residents protesting police brutality.

In order to enhance haptical feedback, two heavyweight physical guns were mounted on the front panel and connected to the game. They made loud rattling sounds when shooting, which was especially fun when two people had teamed up to play cooperatively.

And even the cabinet’s demo loop was scary; first it ran through some automated gameplay and made lots of noises that sounded as if your brain was being scraped out of your head. Then, suddenly, no sound at all. A large SEGA logo appears and consecutively morphs into an alien creature which then again morphs into the game’s main title card. Then, a short introduction. Then, screeching noises and gameplay. Repeat.

I’ve stuffed quite an amount of coins into this machine and had lots of fun playing. That being said, I never got past the first level – an embarassment which was made up for as soon as I found a working emulator (and remembered that this game existed). I got through the game on the second attempt, but it nevertheless left me panting with raw nerves thanks to its acidic and aggressive style.

Alas, that’s all there is to it. I wish there were modern games like this one. You know, ones that are not too snobby to deliver raw, edgy and just highly stylised brutality1. Fuck realism and fuck your thirty-minutes-lasting cinematic cutscenes. Give me enemies that make me shit my pants, you know, enemies such as SUPER DOGBURSTER or IRON TORTOISE!

Or, maybe, there are actually modern games like this and I am just not good at discovering them. In that case, I would appreciate some recommendations!

Now please excuse me while I play The Last Express – a game that is absolutely cinematic and therefore exposes me as a giant bigot.

  1. Sega excelled at this. They were not afraid to use the cheesiest of clichés, hyper-realistic trashy sprites and an excessive amount of buttery smooth animations. Nintendo games ran at 60 FPS, but Sega delivered more than ᛉ̨̢̞̙͇̦̖̬͇̭͉̪͍̠̾ͧ̀̿ͣͮ̽̍̾̍͌͛͊ͨ͐̎̋̕ᚹ̇̓̌̋̌͐̀҉̡̯̝̹̤̰͈͓̺͓̩̫͖̤͙͇͍̞͎͜͡ᛩ̵̷̻̜͔̺̫̰͔̘͉͔͎̻̮̝̫̹̺ͣ̊ͮ̄͗͑̄͂̊ͣ͌̎͜ᛩ̸̴̨̝̞͙̩̼̼̰͕̱̩̣̦͊ͨ͋͋̎͒̊̀͝ͅ frames each second.↩︎