I am not a massive gamer. I wish I were. There are some stellar games out at the moment that tickle my fancy, including the, so I’ve heard, amazing The Last of Us, the creepy Bioshock and I would like to explore the haunting world of Silent Hill because I don’t like to sleep at night. But alas, I am not a gamer; the buzz to pick up a control never seemed to itch in my thumbs and the more I shy away from the consoles, the more I find it hard to relate to it.
Barbie: Game Girl.
There were two points in my life that I can chronicle that define my gaming life. 'Before Barbie' and 'After Barbie.' You see, before this spawn-of-a-devil game rushed into my world at an impressionable time. Though playing it much later from the initial release of 1992, the Barbie Game would always haunt my world. It is a villain who took so much potential to become a quick-fired gamer from a young innocent young lady. 'Before Barbie', I used to play tonnes of the games for the younger demographic that filled the naive mornings and summer days with boss levels, pipes and a hedgehog. Aladdin, Sonic, Bubble Bobble and of course, the legend that is Super Mario.
And then for some reason my parents thought it smart to hand me and my equally scared older sister the Barbie game for our empty hands to docilely play. Whatever dragged me to want to play the game? Not being particularly fond of the plastic-boobed doll in the first place, having her frilly pink imaginary world enter my gaming experience seemed like an ill-fitting, mismatched pairing (and funnily enough, being speared by lipsticks flung about the screen is probably the reason I keep it all natural.) How I ended up picking up the game in the first place was possibly because of a natural childhood curiosity. More than likely, it’s because the devil resided in that game.
Barbie: Game Girl was a vicious entrapment of all things that is wrong with the gaming world. As my little fingers punched the purple and grey buttons, sweat falling down my brow as I ducked and dived fucking French fries in a fifties diner, I knew that I was ensnared into Hell. The levels were so difficult that no adult, let alone a child, had ever accomplished a victory.I died so often, and that goddamn water level was no better, drowning every second like a Flappy Bird failure. Luckily, bonus levels consisted of matching cards and for those few minutes of bliss, everything was fine but the lure of the keyboard version of Everyone Dance Now would beacon open more gates of the hellish nightmare. And the worst thing? You simply couldn’t stop playing.
I have never completed Barbie. I’ve never finished it. But I feel I achieved much more, I stopped playing. I over game my need to finish it. I simply accepted defeat, moving onto my brand new brightly-coloured console, yearning to catch them all. Only the eerie shadow of Barbie: Game Girl looms over my life. I wake up to nightmares of high heeled shoes pounding into my head, stilettos to my flesh and that dreaded water level. With that in mind, I stopped playing games altogether, the stress of that blond haired harlot threatening to take me to the hell's mouth of malls. The 'After Barbie' period hardly touched a console again. And eventually, I never thought about Barbie.
That is, until I dug it out of a box recently ….