That Sinking Feeling

I thought I would share a video gaming confession today as I’ve brought this up in a previous post briefly and thought it would be potentially interesting to expand on it: My fear of underwater levels in video games.
I know it’s weird, I have no reason for it. I love swimming IRL and if I could be a fictional being mermaid would be my first choice.
When I was younger this would stop me from actually finishing some games but I can get through it now just on sheer determination.
My earliest memory of getting scared of this is waaaaay back in the 90s when Tomb Raider 1 was still a thing, I was 3 when that came out and my dad had it so I must have been playing it a few years afterwards, I was an early gamer but 3 is pushing it a bit. In the mansion Lara had a swimming pool where I would get her to spend hours diving in and swimming around but I had a little nagging thought which was something like “if they are getting you to swim now then you’ll have to swim later in scarier, non-chlorine filled water” so I never left the mansion.
Lara pool.jpg
Skipping ahead to 2002 (when I was 9) my fear prevented me from finishing one of my favourite games ever: Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I love this game so much it is adorable and beautiful and just nice to play but I couldn’t handle falling out of the boat and into the water so I would avoid octoroks and the boats with the cannons as much as possible, if I ever fell in the water I would panic paddle back to the boat and get out as quickly as possible. Eventually I would start longing for when times were simpler for Link, chasing pigs on the beach and learning how to sword fight and I would give up. I do intend to play this and finish it one day, especially now that it’s been remastered.
link drowning.jpg
The first time I managed to fight my fear was when I played Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly and I was swimming around Luau Island. I had to kill stuff underwater but it was just such a nice place. From then on I can remember other big moments, notably in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess which, to my memory, was my first underwater boss battle that I managed. You have to jump down a hole in the ground into some pitch black water and I can remember the horrifying feeling of realising that I had to equip the iron boots and let Link sink to the bottom of this black, watery hell. This was straight up nightmare fuel for me and were it not for my sister, who is a lot braver than I am, cheering me on and actually pushing the button to equip the boots for me, I probably would have given up right there and then. What then ensued was one of the most memorable boss battles of my life. There were tentacles, teeth and terror attached to a long eel thing. Eurgh.
Zelda swimming
Another part that unnerves me is in God of War 3 where Kratos goes through one of his many existential crises, and ends up in a black pool of blood (but it looks a bit like water so I’m counting it as the same thing) where he has to swim around reliving all the terrible things he’s done. You don’t get attacked in here, and you can’t fight underwater in God of War, but I felt very uneasy and kept expecting something to grab Kratos and pull him under water.
God of war swimming.png
Reading back over what I’ve written I’ve realised that the fear may actually stem from opaque water, so when I can’t see anything under my character. Having said that I do get nervous about water in general in games but not being able to see what may potentially be in the water with me is worse.
Do you have something a bit odd that freaks you out in video games? It would be nice to hear I’m not alone!

5 games I never finished but wish I had

The other day, I switched on Dragon Age: Inquisition to further Shawty’s adventures somewhat (which you can read about here and here, if you’re interested) and I caught a glimpse of Geralt on the cover of The Witcher 3 eyeing me from the games shelf. I avoided his gaze guiltily and proceeded to play through DA:I. He was judging me because despite asking my parents to get the game for my birthday and being really happy when I got it, I never finished his game – and then I have the gall to sit there in front of him and play through a game which I have already finished twice as he grows dusty.

This got me thinking about games I started but never finished (ones that I liked that is) and my guilt worsened – so I made a list, and vowed that once I have finished juggling the 4 I currently have going on at the moment, I will start to work my way through the them.

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    I started with this in the intro so I’ll keep on going. There were two reasons that I gave up on this game: firstly, the fighting was difficult. In the tutorial they sort of slow down time a little so that you can see when you need to block etc, but in real fights they don’t do that, and I found Geralt to be a little slow on the blocking and he would take loads of damage. I’m still unsure whether this is just me being bad at the game or if it is something that other people struggled with. If you found the same, please let me know so that I don’t feel so alone! Secondly, the map. Oh, the map. It’s VERY intimidating. I’m all for open world but oh my god. When you come out of the first part of the game and into the new area, open the map to see where you are – BAM, side quests EVERYWHERE. I know I don’t have to do all of them but I find it hard to leave them.
    The witcher 3

  1. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

    This is the game that I am most upset about. I absolutely loved it and had it when I was about 9 on the Gamecube. It is the only Zelda game I have ever owned and not finished. My reasons for not finishing it are a bit silly but the main one is that I have a fear of water in video games (I know, it’s weird, more on that in a future post) and while I have sort of gotten over that now, back when I was 8, it took all my willpower to get as far as I did – at which point the Ghost Ship would scare me away. I came back to it a fair few times over the years but never got past that bit. The other reason is that I really loved the start of the game, so I would often restart it. I was happy running around on the beach chasing the pigs and just messing about. I think this is partly because I was quite young at the time, but I would still do that now. Maybe not restart it, but I would spend a good chunk of time on Outset Island.
    wind waker pigs.jpg

  2. Bioshock

    You may recall that I mentioned this in a previous post about how much of a wuss I am. So yeah, the reasoning behind me not finishing it is simply that it scares me too much. By playing only when it was daylight outside, I got as far as Sander Cohen, the demented artist that covers splicers in plaster and they all creep around and there’s a horrible Weeping Angels feel to it. Despite how creeped out this game made me, I still want to finish it as the story was so good and I love the idea behind it.

    Bioshock plaster
    This does not look like a trap at all
  3. Pokémon Yellow

    This was my first Pokémon game, possibly one of the first games I ever owned (GameBoy Colour!!!) It was the special edition where you get Pikachu as your starter and he follows you around like in the TV show, and along the way you get to pick up Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. Not through battling though, people just give them to you. Everything else you catch. Throughout the years I have always tried to come back to this game and I just can’t do it. Pikachu is ridiculously underpowered because he never evolves and I used to feel bad putting him in the PC so one of my Pokémon was always dead weight. But even when I came back to it later and stored him in there, I couldn’t get past the Elite Four (AKA the Justice League, as my sister calls them.) I just found it to be a huge jump in levels and the amount of grinding I had to do was so mind-numbing that I can never be bothered to go all the way.


  4. Baldur’s Gate

    This, my friends, was the beginning of my lifelong BioWare and RPG loyalty and love. This was my Dad’s game and I used to watch him play for hours on end. I never really properly played it, I would mess around playing through the first part of the game up to the mines, where the spiders would scare me too much to continue (looking back they are super pixelated and I can’t believe they used to scare me, but there you go). Despite me mostly watching Baldur’s Gate rather than play it, that game became the foundation of my love for RPGs. A few years later down the line my Dad bought Neverwinter Nights, from the same universe and creators of Baldur’s Gate, and lo and behold quite possibly my favourite game of all time arrived in my life. I became the epic, RPG-favouring gamer girl you read before you. While I could go on and on about Neverwinter Nights and BioWare, that’s not what this post is about (maybe another time.) I did download the remastered version of Baldur’s Gate on Steam a few years ago and tried to play through it, but this was while I was at University and my laptop was not the best for gaming so that really put me off – plus I was always a little too distracted to embark on an epic quest at the time. Now that I have access to a desktop PC again this game is high up on the list of priorities.

    baldurs gate logo.PNG

So there concludes my list of games to retry. Are there any games that you haven’t finished yet but you want to?