Drowning seems quite a rational fear to me. After all, it’s not nice really is it? The whole inability to breathe because your lungs are filling with water seems plain nasty to me. Plus the feeling of being trapped which is the thing I dislike the most about the concept of drowning, even though I wouldn’t call myself claustophobic in any other way.
I live by the sea and the water quality’s not bad providing you pick the right beach, but I have no great urge to ever go swimming in it. You know, just in case the tide gets me. Daft really, I’m a reasonably strong swimmer and I respect the coast enough to not push my luck, but the closest I’d get to swimming is standing in it waist high. Otherwise I’d rather pass. Never nearly drowned or anything, just don’t trust it.
So why has this wariness in the whole ‘no drowning’ thing spread to games?
Tomb Raider was the first time I remember thinking ‘aaargh must avoid water, Lara could drown, noooo’ in an excessively panicked state. Anyone who’s played a Tomb Raider game (seriously, everyone’s played one right? Right??) knows that there tends to be quite a bit of water in the levels. There’s almost always at least one level that practically is underwater. I hate these. I spend the entire time on edge, desperate to get out of the water and generally being excessively cautious.
This has reared its ugly head twice in the last few days.
I’ve been playing through Shadow Complex. A surprisingly brilliant XBLA game which I’ve found myself enjoying more than a lot of retail releases lately. In the early stages though there’s a fair few opportunities to drown. I didn’t like these as you can imagine. I was so happy when I eventually acquired the scuba mask, I could breathe again in every sense of the word.
In the case of my renewed love for World of Warcraft. I’ve deliberately gone out of my way to avoid any quests that involve me exploring underwater. One particular quest that could have been quite profitable involved exploring a shipwreck on the seabed and surrounded by Murlocks. I did try. Once. I gave up quite quickly when I realised it would take actual exploration and more than a fleeting few seconds underwater (I can do that fine). It was being stuck in the ship that really did it too, no way of just rising to the surface quickly. Sod that. I stuck to land based quests instead.
Thinking about it, it’s all Sonic’s fault. I’ve just remembered. When I used to play Sonic 2 obsessively, he was always dying in that damn Aquatic Ruin Zone. So that’s why I’m unnerved by the possibility of drowning. I did nearly drown in my life, it just happened to be while playing a blue hedgehog which is just as life changing as if I’d been swept away to sea in a dinghy.
Damn you Sonic, you ruined my life.