We had played the demos for Hercules and Croc and Rage Racer and Overboard! and Fade to Black and Kula World and Agent Armstong.
Our parents had played them too.
My Brother and I sat up kicking legs and eating sausages and chips and our Mum put in the demo and pressed X on a game we had not played.
I don’t know what to do, she said.
She got the character moving slowly from set to set and the sets were very quiet, and it did not have the music like some of the games.
I don’t know what the buttons do.
Our Mum got the character through to the next screen and we ate our sausages.
On the next screen a dead man walked slowly at the character.
I don’t know what to do.
We stared at the man getting closer and our Mum pressing all of the buttons and the character not doing anything.
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! we said.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO PRESS.
The man got to the character.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO PRESS.
The man grabbed the character and blood went EVERYWHERE.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! everyone said.
RESIDENT EVIL it said.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! everyone in the room said.
My Best Friend asked if I had played the demo for PRESIDENT EAGLE again.
It might have been genetic because my Best Friend’s Mum asked what I got for my birthday and I told her.
FUN AND FANCY SEVEN?
Ten years later is President Eagle 4. It is the one that I play but that my Mum does not play.
I bring it to my Best Friend’s house, and my Best Friend’s Sibling is there and my Best Friend’s Sibling’s Friends and my Brother and the curtains are drawn.
The Man with the Chainsaw and the Paper Bag or Sack on His Head induces the industrial production of adrenaline.
I pause the game and everyone laughs and I unpause it and I throw the controller into my Best Friend’s lap and he goes AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the Unpaused Man is getting in the window.
And everyone goes AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
There is something about the brown woods in these games.
The woods of a Forbidden Siren wailing and the Silent Hills.
Is there something about the woods because of President Eagle 4, or is something already in the woods.
I looked out to the unfocused backgrounds on the bonus levels on Crash Bandicoot and in Oddworld the jungles and factories, and I looked off the edge of the levels on Gex, and out beyond the MediEvil demo graveyard railings and up at the Spyro skies and through the President Eagle woods, and that Croc moon and its mountains, and I said what else is between here, there, what else is out there, what is there.
I had a dream where I was Crash Bandicoot in our garden.
I stared very hard at the frost on the nettles and tried to get into the dream.
Twenty years later is me and the lights off and headphones and two in the morning.
Nobody is going ah and nobody is there.
And I would not have it another way, with people and ahhhs.
I must be inside of a world without external stimuli.
Just ahhhhhhhhhh inside my head.
J. F. Gleeson lives in England. His work has appeared, or will soon appear, in Bureau of Complaint, Overheard, Ligeia, Maudlin House, Weird Horror, Mystery Tribune, Sublunary Review, Déraciné, Dark Void and other places. He has penned gripping tracts about Croc and Muppet RaceMania right here at The Daily Drunk. He has a website: deadlostbeaches.blog