HERCULES NIGHT

1 AHRRRIIITTEE
Hercules was on Demo One.
That is back in the Very Old Days. It might have been on Demo One before the film. The Hercules demo was not the first level of the game but was the Athens level of the game, which has:

  • Charging up punches and punching broken pillars down
  • Charging up and down staircases that put you closer or farther away from the screen
  • The man who has been hit by lightning charging back and forth on fire
  • Harpies

2 OW
I remember getting to the Medusa level and it was very difficult. I remember loving the game when I had seen the film. It was because the game took bits and monsters from the film that had only been present in split-second montages and made them into proper bosses and levels. For example:

  • Medusa
  • Centaur
  • Minotaur
  • Harpies

3 DING DING
There was something strange in the Demo Days, and particularly the earliest Demo One Days. The demo select screen was contextless titles of games pulsating to 1980s rap beats in front of abstract psychedelia backdrop.

You would click onto the game and you would play the demo level. You might know how to play the game or what to do and you might not. At the end of some of the very quiet demos that you did not know how to play a few screenshots would appear in succession on the screen in a very slow fading silent fashion. It was very quiet and there were not many voice bites in the games. It was so quiet and the Rage Racer stands were potted with flat pixel figures.

Already you might be trying to get out and drive through and realise that you could not.
There were flat pixel windows and stuttering flat polygon pieces making pointed shells of everything, and it was very quiet and could be so quiet, removed, frightening.

4 NIIIISSEE WORK! EXCELLENTÉ
We decided to have a HERCULES NIGHT before my friend moved away. HERCULES NIGHT meant that we piled round to his house with bags of snacks and fizzy drinks and no alcohol and we downloaded the game on PS3 and tried to complete it.

We had toured the town hunting for snacks and fizzy drinks and no alcohol with my friend’s Very Youngest Brother in tow. He had been amazed that in one of the corner shops you could buy: fizzy bubblegum drink (large bottle), fizzy bubblegum drink (really little bottle), and fizzy bubblegum drink (medium bottle). In ONE shop. ALL IN THE SAME PLACE. He talked about it a lot.

We tried to get through the game but got as far without cheats as the Cyclops level which was as far as I had ever gotten when I was young. Then we used cheats to get to the last levels but Hercules Fatigue had started to set in and one of my friends was trying to rouse everybody into singing along to a song from Les Misérables which was not possible because only he knew the words and my friend’s Very Youngest Brother was trying to impress us by being the one to finish the last level and actually complete the game.

A few hours later my friend’s Very Youngest Brother opened the fizzy bubblegum drink (large bottle) and it fizzed up and went EVERYWHERE and my friend’s Dad said I told you that was going to happen if you shook it up and my friend’s Very Youngest Brother said I DIDN’T SHAKE IT THAT WAS NOT MY FAULT.

5 YEAH
A few years later, after the bubblegum drinks, there was Zero to Hero karaoke, which was good, but it was not ideal, because it was actually Zero to Hero Club MIDI Trumpet Remix Version Edition karaoke.

6 HERCULAAIID
Hercules, the film, is not the first film I remember seeing in a cinema. The first film I remember seeing in a cinema is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I remember my mother taking me to see it, when we had moved house, when I was shown a library and a library card, and when we did not yet know people such as the family we would go to see Hercules with.

I would be sad when my mother left me at school. She gave me packets of crisps for my break snacks. I would eat the crisps but I could not throw away the packets. I hid them in my coat pockets.
My coat pockets were very full of crisp packets.

7 NOT BAD KID
We rented the game from a shop at a time when you would go to shops to rent things like platforming games and VHS videos, and when you were taken to the church fete where you could borrow toys, like puzzles and different plastic dinosaurs that were in different colours. The PlayStation had a memory card but we did not know what those were and how they worked.

We rented the game from a shop for a second time. I loaded my save. I said:

Oh that’s good Mum/Dad, we managed to borrow the same disc as last time!

8 P.S. for when they read
Hi Mum, Dad, Herc!



John Banning, living in England, dreaming about lots of places, has writing in Dream Journal, the Bear Creek GazetteRejection LettersMaudlin HouseLigeia, and right here at the very lovely Daily Drunk. He is J. F. Gleeson too, and has work forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Have yourself a very lovely wander on dead lost beaches.

Categories: Essay, Video Games

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. You can follow him on Twitter @Sbb_writer.

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