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Moments: Out Of This World

Out of This World is one of my most memorable video game experiences for a variety of reasons. Being thrust into its alien world, figuring out its puzzles, and having a wild adventure with friends both in and outside of the game made it a title I fondly recall. There is a blemish on my memory of it, but it's not necessarily the game's fault.

Warning: Spoilers to follow

My friends and I rented Out of this World from the local Blockbuster without knowing anything about it other than what we saw on the back of the box. This dive into the unknown was appropriate given how the game starts: The protagonist is transported into a strange, unknown world after his science experiment goes awry. Life on this planet is hostile, with death a possibility within moments of your arrival, and your imprisonment on this slave planet assured.

Our journey through Out of This World created a gaming memory I'll never forget. Solving its puzzles, surviving the deadly combat, and taking in its cinematic look had us absorbed and on the edge of our seats as we passed the controller amongst ourselves. The game's overall atmosphere – with ominous music, lack of a HUD, simple inventory, and degree of difficulty greatly contributed to the experience, and our bond with a mute alien companion (whom we named "Uglug") also helped capture our imagination.

We played the game through most of the day, and were drawn deeper and deeper into the world. Our involvement came to a head in a particularly tense sequence where Uglug wrestled with a foe; buying us enough time as we slowly crawled, wounded, to a panel of levers across the screen. For whatever reason we kept having trouble with finishing this sequence, and we decided to quit the game and rent it again the next weekend.

The day came, and we assembled the same group of friends to continue our adventure. After putting in our save code and getting back to where we left off, we – of course – got through the sequence in seconds. We were initially happy that we could keep going, and looked forward to where the game would take us next, but this feeling quickly ended. The sequence we originally stopped at was, in fact, right before the end of the game itself. We watched in disbelief as the credits rolled, but for the wrong reasons.

Through no fault of its own, our particular experience with Out of This World pulled a lot of the possible emotion and satisfaction from the ending. We laughed about our letdown, but I knew that I missed out on a moment that was a whole game in the making.

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