The Guy Who Can Jump Into Games

I have a secret that I’ve never told anyone before. I can teleport into games. I call it jumping.

This gift has been called into action very recently indeed. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is an authentic simulation of what it would be like to lead a small squad of seven year old children into fierce and bloody battle against the might of the Chinese military on a small, damp island in the North Pacific.

Will there be ice cream in the smoking hilltop village sir?
Will there be ice cream in the smoking hilltop village sir?

I started out the way I always try to. I played the game as it was intended. I didn’t summon my secret and mysterious power, instead choosing to try and beat the game using just the controller. A good few hours into the game, I had to leave the kids on the edge of an enemy fuel depot as they were slowing me down. I bravely crossed the perimeter, bravely shot some poor enemy soldier, bravely planted an explosive on a crucial generator, and then bravely ran off. With my squad back in sight, I took cover and bravely pressed the detonator. The generator exploded happily, and I set off back towards my team, who were contentedly chatting about Ben 10. A few metres from them, I was hit by a bullet. I was down. I called for the help of my squad using the command radial. They did not move.

I called for their help a further ten times. They still did not move. Or fire at the enemies. They just stood there, making fart noises with their armpits. I didn’t understand the problem. Time was running out. I was bleeding to death. I closed my eyes, said the magic word, and jumped into the game.

The cold North Pacific wind was on my face. The damp ground of Skira soaked my back. My throat was hoarse from shouting. I was there.

I leapt up and angrily marched over to my squad. They dropped their colouring books and felt pens. I told two of them to point their guns at the enemies pouring out of the depot, and to fire said guns. Then I ordered the remaining one to heal me. Once I was healed, I led a daring escape from the fuel depot. I completed the rest of the game in one sitting like this. I also helped my squad mates to achieve their life goals. For example, Avery, my medic, had always wanted to write a folk song about marshmallows. I sat with him by a campfire and we worked out a melody. The lyrics flowed naturally.

Peace and melodic folk had been successfully brought to the previously war-torn island of Skira. However, this was not the first time I’d used my secret power for good.

The enemy soldiers featured in the Call of Duty games suffer from grenade addiction. It holds them back emotionally. Sure, it helps them on the battlefield, and a happy side-effect is that it provides rich and rewarding grenade-dodging gameplay for the player. What happens when the fighting finishes though, and these soldiers have to go home to to their families and home towns?

Did you bring the grenades? All 3,405,322 of them? Good.
Did you bring the grenades? All 3,405,322 of them? Good.

I established grenade addiction clinics in all the major theatres of war. I gave the soldiers 15 step plans, in German, Russian, Japanese, and broken English. I encouraged them to talk to each other about their problems. I told them that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel like the entire world wants to point at their demolished homes and crater-filled gardens and laugh. Slowly, but surely, they started to feel like they were in control.

Eventually, they stopped throwing so many damn grenades all the time.

I also jumped into Grand Theft Auto IV and Saints Row. I went door to door with a flip-chart. I explained to every citizen of Liberty City and Stillwater the need for a sense of self-preservation in all of us. Using a diagram, I explained that should they ever, ever, drive into me for no reason again when I was on a timed mission there would be consequences. I explained that I would come back to their house, and bump into them as they tried to get ready for work in the morning. I would push them over just as they were trying to get into their car. I would make them late for an appointment, and then I would make them take the whole journey again from the beginning. It worked.

I jumped into Fallout 3 too. This task was a simple one. I took in a box of small mirrors, and gave one to each raider I befriended. I also gave them a comb each, and a small leaflet with pictures of reasonable, practical hair styles. I tried to convince every single raider I came across (between giant scorpion attacks) that they don’t need to waste the small amount of bottle caps they have on hair gel. There’s no practical need for someone who is starving and slowly dying of radiation poisoning to have a massive blonde quiff. The caps are better spent on food and water. I got through to some of them.

What's happening? Is my hair ok?
What's happening? Is my hair ok?

The longest-term and most emotionally devastating project I’ve taken on has been inside the Command and Conquer games. The units in there needed my help the most of anyone I’ve seen. They all struggle greatly to achieve their life aims. All they really want is to serve their leader and follow orders, but once you get more than 3 of them in a group, an apparent melancholic malaise sets over them, and they start to forget who they are.

I feel such passionate sympathy for them. As the years went by I started holding seminars in each game. The mantra I spread was “If I tell you to move somewhere, or fire at something, I quite literally mean for you to move to or fire at the point I have indicated”. It was the snappiest wording I could conjure.

The problem was the schools. It still is. Little Mammoth Tanks, Ore Trucks, Tesla Boats, V2 Rocket Launchers, Tanyas and their fellows are taught from a young age to love their leader and also to say something military-sounding in an exaggerated accent when selected. Above all that though, they must follow orders. Until they are in a group with more than two friends. Once in a group, they are taught to ignore orders and wander off in a random direction. Preferably into the line of fire.

Right, let's go! Wait. Can anyone else smell waffles? I'm not going anywhere until I get a waffle.
Right, let's go! Wait. Can anyone else smell waffles? I'm not going anywhere until I get a waffle.

It has taken five thousand flip-charts. Ten thousand marker pens. I’ve drawn the same diagrams in every conceivable colour in countless meetings with Kane, Stalin, Einstein, Tim Curry, and the rest. We have talked for months on end, desperately trying to find a resolution. Still the bureaucrats resist change and stand in our way.

I will endure, and I will triumph. For the units. For the little Ore Trucks that come up to me and tell me they think I’m “cool”. For the smile that lights up on their cherubic mechanical faces when I give them a small bit of ore to go off and harvest.

This great power of mine comes with a great responsibility. I am the guy who can jump into games. If I didn’t have this power I think I’d be driven mad.

Oh, wait.







8 responses to “The Guy Who Can Jump Into Games”

  1. Dan avatar

    Simon Allen, the man who saved video games. Any chance you could pop into Street Fighter for me? Sagat is acting like big cheating bastard again. Have a word with him will ya? Cheers.

  2. Kat avatar


    Why did you never jump into L4D and talk to AI Louis? Whhhhhhy?

  3. Markatansky avatar

    He can’t have jumped into L4D yet. Franics still hates everything. :<

  4. Kat avatar

    Maybe Cuddles made him hate everything O.o Maybe Francis was too upbeat and positive for a zombie apocalypse?

  5. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I think Cuddles may be one game short of a franchise. 😀

    Now that you’ve wrote this blog, could you have a word with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and tell them we don’t need gadgets and to concentrate on getting us in the game. Actually, I think you may have taken Peter Molyneux’ next project for EA.

    What other games adventures have you been involved in? Leisure Suit Larry? Dead Space? Tomb Raider? We eagerly await more reports. 😀

  6. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    **Smeg** I meant Peter Moore from EA, not Peter Molyneux.

    I blame Markatansky’s error for causing my error.

  7. Van-Fu avatar

    This blog is a triumph.

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