Frozen Stuck


There’s nothing worse than getting stuck during a game, with no idea of how to progress.

At present, with the snow still (still!) falling, the ice still thickening and the temperature still dropping, everyone is trapped. They’re either stuck in a traffic jam with thousands of others; waiting for a train that never comes or, most commonly, trapped inside at home in fear of the weather. It’s the worst feeling in the world, as you sit in a room, staring out the window at the falling snow, with the possibility of going outside an unachievable desire. You probably didn’t even want to go out today, but the fact that you can’t makes it all the worse. It’s a bad feeling indeed, but it’s even worse in the world of video games.

We’ve all been in the blackest of situations, when during a game, you become stuck. You’re either stuck on a hard puzzle, where the solution is blocking entrance to the next section; unable to beat a section, where a big boss is maybe too powerful for your gaming abilities; or worst, you simply don’t know what to do. The later is by far the worst, and has been the crippling problem with many a game.

To be totally stuck, with no idea of what to do next or how to do it, is horrible. No matter how good a game has been before this moment, as soon as it essentially stops, it becomes frustrating, infuriating and worst of all, worthless. After hours of pressing every button, punching every wall, shooting every door, retracing every step, searching every nook and cranny, and literally tearing your hair out, you’ll reach the worst emotion a gamer can reach; disillusionment. You’ve had it with this game; so you package it up and chuck it back on the shelf, to maybe replay in the future once you’ve calmed down. To you, that game is dead.

Every gamer has gone through this before, and we’ve all got a story of how we became stuck in this and that game. My own personal memories of this situation cover one game in particular; Landstalker on the Mega Drive. During one segment of this excellent 16bit adventure, you had to solve a number of riddles in an underground crypt. I solved the majority of the teasers within a short space of time, but the last few had me racking my brain for weeks. The solving of these riddles was all that mattered to me; I used to contemplate resolutions during class at school, on the way home, in bed, even on the toilet. Finally I gave in, and purchased a copy of Mega Sega Machines and read the walkthrough (ah, the good old days of walkthroughs in gaming mags!). To give you an idea of how contrived one of the riddles was, you had to stand totally still in a room full of monsters for 30 seconds. How are you supposed to get that, let alone do it?

So how do you combat and resolve these moments of ‘stuckness’? Well, you could stop playing games altogether, and rid yourself of the endless frustration they can often bring. But you’re a gamer at heart, and you live for the dizzying highs and the depressing lows, so that’s not going to happen. You could also escape the engulfing chasm that is being stuck by breaking the rules of the game, and cheating. Sure, this is OK for a while, as you smack the enemy to death while under the shield of invincibility. But where’s the fun in that? And of course, as we all know, the game will seem tame and empty afterwards, as will you. You could also go online and solve the puzzle of stuckness by reading a walkthrough, but that’s the equivalent of missing the last night bus home, and then calling your mum (it was different with me and Landstalker; I was young, I didn’t know what I was doing!).

Of course, the only real way to get out of these moments, when all seems bleak and pointless, is perseverance. Just like being stuck at home in the snow, you’ve just got to stick it out. Those solutions will eventually reveal themselves, and as soon as they do, any bad memories or thoughts that you had about the game’s excellence will drain away like the melting snow. Like I say though, sticking with a clogged game is easier said than done.

Scott Tierney

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2 Responses to “Frozen Stuck”

  1. […] Frozen Stuck « Phonica Magazine UK […]

  2. I do not post very many comments because I do not type well but this was very useful thank you!

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