Wing Commander — I’ve heard tell of you. When people talk of you, they use words like Celebrated and Iconic, the kind of words hardly spoken in civil conversation. You dazzled the youth of my generation with cinematic style and your disagreeable attitude. Had I met you when I was younger, I made of taken a stab. I might have taken two stabs, in fact. Maybe after that I would have gotten bored and stabbed something else, but for that one shining moment, my dear, it would have been you, me, and a bottle of Koala Sparkling Beverage.
But, it was not to be. And instead, I meet you now, twenty years later, in the sleazy bar that is my emulator. And, while once you would have given me a new reason to live, now… now you’re just another Friday night. That is to say, another video game, alone, with a Diet Koala Sparkling Beverage, which I sure as Satan wish they still made, goddamnit. So, what’ll it be, Wing Commander? Will you command my heart, or merely the chest cavity nearest my heart, my left lung. Will it be romance, or just a fling in the back seat of my trousers? Will you rock my world or just drink all my booze and leave?
Well, I’ll tell you: this old bitch still got some moves in her.
Sure, she looks old, and she feels old, but the crab-tree that is Wing Commander has a certain something… some kind of flair, or something, that seems to stick around. Perhaps it’s the maddening frustration that comes from playing these games. Frustration, like yer old hamburger wit’ fries, is one gameplay mechanic that never goes out of style. When you feel that deep anger in the pit of your chest, oh: you know it’s something special; you know it’s meant to be. I get that feeling when I play modern day multiplayer romp-and-stomps. And when that bitch Spirit stole my kill, time and time again, I just wanted to gank the heck out of her. What kind of rookie is she anyway? She’s supposed to be all green and everything, but she’s one hot shot little punk! She just rides on up out of nowheres and boom, boom! And then she says, surprised, “Oh, captain, I think I got one,” like I’m going to give her a medal, or shine her toupee, or something. Look, missy, I’m the one playing the game, alright? I get to do the stuff, not you. Learn your place.
So, frustration. Yeah, that’s one thing this game does well. Let me tell you a story. So, I was looking for some aliens to zap (presumably out of sheer malice for their squirrelly selves), when I notice that I’m running short of fuel. Well, that’s harsh, I think, but this game certainly wont let me sit out here in the middle of space whilst waiting to get hunted down by some giant space crocodile, will it? It did. It certainly did. And it threw a bunch of asteroids my way, too, which I most obligingly hit, and promptly died. Not only did I die, but I DIED. All caps. They made me stop playing I died so hard. They made me start all over again! Good god, the realism is unsurmountable. Not since Hot Coffee has there been this degree of immersion in any one place at any one time!
Well, I’d had enough after that, and to the sound of my 20 gun solute (instead of firing the guns, they dissolved them in water), I said “QUIT, OH MIGHTY BEAST,” and, hence, I wrote this article thusly. And self-referentially, too, I might add. Take that Mr. Fitzgerald!