Last time you decided naked mods were better than going meat and guts. Oh sure, you’re brave with your votes, but not a single commenter was brave enough to bring up the subject of honking their pud. Cowards. If you don’t develop, we have to move on. This week, I’m asking the question of squeaky critters versus a squeaky coat. What’s better: a level 1 rat or the inventory of jackets from Alone In The Dark?
A level 1 rat
You stride toward the tavern counter, head held high, freshly creaking leather armor.
“Innkeeper! I need food for the night, provisions for two weeks and your finest low-end horse to leave in the morning, and please say: where does one get money from in this region dark ? »
The innkeeper looks you up and down. Oh, she’s seen your guy coming before, and if she tries hard, she can remember some of their names. Lionel the Brave. Edith the Audacious. Barry big bolts. She also saw their corpses face down on the side of the road a few miles from town, stripped of the black leather clothing and tactical pouches they bought at the Dark Brotherhood Surplus store and their glittering trinkets on Wizard eBay. . She sighs loudly.
“Two days to put it all together. For now, yes, I can offer you a ‘quest’.” She grunts that last word, unnoticed by you, then gives a thumbs up to the cellar door. ” Some rats. Bring me ten rattails and you’ll get room and board until your order is ready.
Reader Le Cher, my friend, swallow your grudge. Suppress the feeling of being insulted. Challenge your gut reaction that it’s below you. The innkeeper (her name is Judith, by the way, not that you asked) makes you very kind. She doesn’t know you. To Judith, you are just another bright-eyed ruby who begins with dreams of adventure and fortune and ends up dull-eyed in a ditch. These ten level 1 rats are a test.
Could you kill a rat? Can you watch a shiny little boy, gone fat with malting barley and pork scratchings, and put a blade between his shiny eyes? I ask both physically and emotionally. Have you seen how fast rats move? Have you seen how cute they are? Can you kill one and keep killing after the first bloodstain hits your face? Can you dismiss the bags of neeps and tatties that her family will flee behind? If you can, hey, you might be ready to bloody your way across the land in search of fame, fortune, revenge, or whatever else you think you deserve. But if that first step trips you up, Judith knows where you’ll be in two days. She can’t keep doing this.
Judith saw more than her hero’s share, the spirit. Ian The Mighty, she served him a half even though she suspected he was underage (and knew he was when he spat out that first sip of bitters). Raven Void Abyssnia was a lover. And The Magnificent Gladys, gods, wasn’t she right! But all in all, your guy walks in, pays her handsomely for dinner (you always say “beautifully”, she doesn’t know why), and then hours later a brigand drags a half-blunt dagger across your stomach and spills his stew on you. mud.
At first she tried to warn your guy. She learned that it only encourages you. “Worry,” you often call it, “superstition” and “old wives’ tales” that won’t stop you from “raising the shining light of righteousness to banish darkness from this fallen land.” She sighs to herself.
She learned, too late, to spot dangerous customers at a glance. She’s now pretty sure she can spot a killer. She keeps an eye out for those she sees up close watching your type (you, of course, don’t notice any watching). But heroes, ah, that’s harder to say. Maybe you have this ineffable “it”. Maybe not.
She won’t know who you are – and man, really, you won’t – until you get up from the basement after your encounter with level 1 rats.
Alone In The Dark Jacket Inventory
The recent news that THQ Nordic is “reinventing” Alone In The Dark made me think, as I often do, of a time when someone tried to revive the 90s survival horror series Alone 2008’s In The Dark is set in present-day New York City and features the most delightful visualization of a character inventory I’ve ever seen: a first-person view of the opening of your leather jacket and items in your many pockets and pouches.
Our man is dressed as a drug dealer or a peddler selling Polex watches in a 90s sitcom. The merchant from Resident Evil 4 might be more of an inspiration, given the genre, but I can only see him in A very special episode. Maybe Melissa Joan Hart or Jonathan Taylor Thomas are hanging out with older kids, about to learn an important lesson about personal boundaries, danger from strangers, and just saying no.
It’s the perfect inventory for a game where our man (voiced by Max Payne) says for example “I don’t have your stone, and I still fuck you”.
I would love to see similar ideas in more games. The immersive sims in particular have slept on this too long. It’s like the game design “I can see my legs” only better. And while it might be infuriating, I’m glad the game world doesn’t stop when you open your jacket, leaving you to fumble around crafting items without fumbling for the wrong key and dropping and breaking vital ingredients.
Thinking of inventory as actual physical objects that you carry is mostly limited to serious simulations and survival games. Escape From Tarkov divides your gear into multiple bags, cases, wallets, keychains, and more by nesting storage within storage. And I’m glad Neo Scavenger lets you carry a plastic bag full of crumpled spare bags. But aside from a vague memory of maybe once playing another game that had a similar idea (god, what were those! other Eurojank noughties?), Alone In The Dark is the only game I can think of that visualizes it so explicitly that way. This inventory of jackets is good enough that I’m willing to offer it as a possible best thing, although it may only appear in one game.
But what is better?
I love a level 1 rat so much. I really do. I love their little eyes and their little noses and their big ears and their big bellies and their long tails and their nervous movements. But this jacket… I can’t resist this jacket.
Choose your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your point in the comments to convince others. We will meet again next week to see which thing will triumph and continue the great contest.
Disclosure: A pal worked on the 2008 Alone In The Dark, I only learned after spotting several copies on his shelf.