This is really a thank you to Jonathan Boakes – a writer of computer games which are so brilliant and so frightening you get the feeling it’s never going to be safe to sit your arse in front of a computer again. The latest of these is a ghosthunting adventure, in which your new bestie, Nigel, is going to have to solve some spooky derring-do which is going down in a charming Cornish fishing village.
Nigel is just lovely. He has suitably shambolic clothing, with the hems of his jeans authentically scuffed – and he wears glasses. I like a man who wears glasses. (Will he make more passes?) I especially like Nigel because he has no intention of listening to me when I beg him not to go somewhere. He has steel and determination. I like that in a man, too.
When Nigel arrives in the aforementioned village and finds the only available accommodation (surprise!) is a derelict waterfront cottage, anybody with less steel and determination would have gone home. Especially as villagers were making cryptic comments such as; ‘ooh, the fens, lad!’ and suggesting Nigel’s new place of residence might be a bit suss altogether. Because Nigel didn’t seem fazed by any of this, I attempted walking him back through the fens t’railway … but the bugger wouldn’t go. He informed me he had ‘things to do in the village’. He also kept shrugging and saying, ‘Nothing ventured …’ Well, Nigel – if you really must.
I generally like to have the lights off when I play creepy stuff on the computer. Mistake. If you don’t mind crapping yourself, be my guest – but I’m ashamed to say I had to do a dash through the house flicking on every available light and making sure the doors were double-locked. Even kicked the fridge a few times to make it hum. When I got back to the computer, wouldn’t you know it, Nige was patiently standing there waiting for me. He suggested we might like to do a recce of the museum at night. Excuse me? Could we not just go to bed? I tried double-clicking him onto his bed, but no cigar. Nige insisted he couldn’t possibly sleep until he’d stuck his nose into some more awful stuff which really wasn’t any of his business. Oh, okay then. Let’s break into the museum, virtually crap ourselves, and THEN can we go home to bed? Oh no we don’t. After the museum thing, Nige decided we really ought to take our sorry arses to the cemetery. As you do. *sigh* Nothing ventured …
All this was pretty horrifying and heart-hammeringly ghastly – but there was far worse to come. I finally managed to double-click Nige to sleep (he had the most gorgeous eyelashes) – and was rather hoping that would be the end of it and we’d somehow get through until morning without further unpleasantness. Ah … no. I don’t think Nige got much sleep before he was awakened by a terrible thumping coming from downstairs. I clicked like mad, trying to make him stay put and just ignore it. But my man of steel and determination (with glasses) was having none of that, either. We had to creep down the darkened stairs, into the darkened passage, where the bathroom door (which had previously been open), was now closed. This is where the thumping was coming from – and naturally, my man couldn’t stay away! He informed me he was going to look through the keyhole. THAT was when I crapped myself. And having seen something ghastly pass across the room on the other side, naturally Nige then had to go in. With moi, of course. I can’t begin to describe how horrible it was. That would be telling.
A nice part of the game (it’s always about the food) was that Nigel’s landlady felt pretty crap about making him stay in a horrible, haunted cottage with an unusable kitchen – and had organised with a local cafe for him to eat there whenever he pleased. Naturally (because it IS all about the food), I made Nige go in and out of the cafe as often as possible just so’s I could click in his inventory to see what he’d scored. Sometimes there was excellent booty, such as big wodges of chicken and mushroom pie. Or nice iced cakes. Or vegetarian samosas, even! After a while (or a few whiles, anyway), Nige only managed to score a stale lump of bread. (That’s when I realised I was seriously pissing him off, and I’d better let him get back to the ghostbusting.)
So, PLEASE, Mr Boakes, can Nige go on another incredible adventure soonest? And can I come too? That game was the most fun I’ve ever had on a computer without a credit card and the Gluttons-R-Us website open in front of me. I can hardly wait for the next time!
What was that, Nigel? Yeah, I know. Nothing ventured …