Painful Video Game Memories

Moments in video games that haunted my childhood
June 08, 2009
I'm sure everyone here has played a video game at least once, and many of us, myself included, are avid gamers. I've been around video games my whole life and I have many fond childhood memories of them: battling Robot Masters with Mega Man, running through the Green Hill Zone with Sonic, racing in Mario Kart. Ah.... good times.

However... There are those moments in gaming that fill us with dread and terror. Those parts in the game that we could never get past. It may be as minor as a certain enemy or goal in the game or it may be the entire game itself. These moments plagued our childhoods and filled us with misery. This article is dedicated to some of the painful moments in gaming I experienced as a kid.

Let's start things off with the most infamous game of them all...

E.T. on the Atari 2600

Yes, unfortunately I owned this game, or rather my dad did. He had an old 2600 and some game for it such as Defender, Donkey Kong, Glaiga, the classics. One day he came home with a bunch of games he got at a yard sale, one being none other than E.T. He plugged up the Atari and me and my brother started testing out some of the games. Out of the bunch, one of the first I tried out was E.T.

The best part of the game.

Almost immediately after I started the game, I was abducted by a trench coated "agent" and moved to the "town", which to me looked like the ruins of a Roman city. I ended up in the area with all these holes. I walked up to one and I was trapped.

As everyone knows, once you get stuck in a hole in this game, its near impossible to get out. I spent awhile trying to find a way out until I finally gave up and turned the game off.
Needless to say the game was horrible and nearly ruined my entire view on the Atari 2600. Luckily the rest of the games in my dad's collection were far more entertaining.

E.T.: All the fun of falling into a hole

Shogun's Lair in TMNT 2

This game was one of my favorites growing up and I still enjoy it today. But I dreaded this level. Why this level? Well, there a number of reasons; giant robotic scorpion, cyborg gorillas ninja (well, at least thats what I thought they were), bamboo spikes that pop out of the ground, and the fact that it has one of the hardest bosses in the game.

But all of those were just minor annoyances. What I hated most were the tigers. About halfway through the level, there are these paintings of tigers that come to life and run around the screen. Their pattern isn't too hard to figure out: they run from one end of the screen to the other and then run from that side to the other a little lower (or higher) from where they were before and repeat this until they are killed. The hard part is you have to line up just right to hit them and if you don't act quick enough, they run over you, and even if you hit them, they're just knocked back a little and charge at you again. Sometimes if you try to jump over them, they'll jump up and hit you midair. Worst of all, they take forever to kill. And you have to fight two of them, one after the other.

This level was usually the one that I lost all my lives on and was forced to start from the beginning. What made this worse was the fact that this level was the one right before the Technodrome, the last level, always leaving me with the feeling of being so close, but so far away.

However, neither of these compare to the pain that this last event gave me.

The Barrel from Sonic 3

This one is responsible for the destruction of so many childhood memories. This particular incident happens in Carnival Nights Zone Act 2 of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The rest of the level is your typical Sonic stuff. Simple platforming, easy enough. Suddenly you're trapped in a small area with nothing but a wall and a spinning red and white "barrel" blocking the only way out. This thing was impossible! I tried everything I could think of to get past it: jumping up and down on it repetitively, looking for a secret passage way, etc. until the timer ran out and I died. Its like the developers just decided to put a twisted death trap right in the middle of the level!

The dreaded Barrel!

For years I thought it was a glitch or lazy programming and that there was no way past it. Finally, years later, I read a walkthrough of the game to see if there was any way to past that barrel. It was then that I found out all you have to do is simply press up and down on the d-pad until it goes low enough for you to pass. After all those years, passing the barrel was as simple as pressing up and down.
Honestly, what 6 year old would have thought to do that? What person in general would think to do that, especially since up and down are not used that much in the Sonic games other than for looking up and down or for spindashing. Keep in mind this game was made before GameFAQ and most other walkthrough sites existed, so there was nowhere to turn to if you got stuck, unless maybe you had a strategy guide. I felt like such an idiot when I figured out how to get past that barrel. However I wasn't alone. It turns out many gamers couldn't figure it out for years. So why would Sega put such an impossible obstacle in their game? What made them think this was a good idea?

My thoughts exactly

Those are some of the painful moments in gaming that scared me as a child. I may do a second article like this as there are still many painful video game moments that I didn't mention.
This was my first article so any suggestions to better my work are appreciated. Please comment and tell me what you think, and maybe share some painful video game memories of your own.


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