Wolfenstein 3D is a game originally created for DOS in 1992. It is the story of the protagonist as an Allied prisoner in the Nazi era, conveniently placed in Hitler’s den. Afraid that the old games would be hard on me, I selected the ‘Can I play, daddy?’ — the novice difficulty as opposed to ‘I am death incarnate’.
I spent the first half an hour of gameplay romanticising the old-time graphics and music. I was fascinated by how you couldn’t aim the gun, but you had to intuitively place the person you are shooting at, in the centre of the screen. The first few floors turned out to be tame, with occasional brown uniformed Nazis popping up, only to be shot down by a single bullet. I was happy, with full health and a loaded gun.
But then reality hit like a person slapping their own face assuming that there was a mosquito on their cheek, but the mosquito was a lie.
I carefully strategised a route map in my head to use to navigate my way through the maze.
Each level ends with the defeat of a boss — I never got that far. The music got progressively faster and nastier as the game progressed, but I just couldn’t push myself to turn it off. The lack of building story line, and compounding difficulty in maze navigation can push an impatient player off their sanity. The only sound that echoed into the moonlight was the soundtrack, and it replayed in my dreams. At some point you would start feeling vaguely claustrophobic. After crossing the same door 12 times, I lost it. If the laptop RAM wheezes for high graphics games, the same happens to my brain for games like Wolfenstein.
The health, ammunition and treasure incentives are not sufficient to keep you satisfied in the game. The frustration will leave you asking for more (though there isn’t anything else to play for). Killing the Blue clad Nazi and hearing the “mein eiben” being echoed on the screen was the only good sound that came from the speakers. The game can be played online, through open source emulators. Play at your own risk.
(The writer is an economics graduate who spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)