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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video game moments in real life

Readers discuss those times that something in the real world reminds you of a game, from Sega blue skies to historical monuments.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Julian, who asked whether you’ve ever been reminded of a game by something mundane in real-life? Perhaps an unusual car ride or some small detail about an in-game object or gadget.

We had plenty of different stories, from locations that look like a video game to oddly familiar sounds – although fog seemed to be one of the most common, and creepiest, examples.

Splash Wave
So a few years ago I had an amazing OutRun moment whilst on holiday in Greece (tying in nicely with Kehaar’s Reader Feature last weekend actually!).

My wife and I had booked a boating excursion to go and see some turtles. It left from the other side of the island early in the morning, which meant a sprint across the island, on a quadbike, at sunrise, in the height of summer.

Apart from being on a quadbike, and not in a Ferrari Testarossa, it was so much like the game it was uncanny. Sega blue skies to go with the amazing sunrise, driving round awesome coastal and mountain roads, overtaking slower-moving traffic, off for an amazing day out with my wife (who happens to be blonde, like the passenger in the game), and all on quite a strict time limit!

The only things missing were a choice of routes every two minutes, and of course a crash flipping us off the quad (thank goodness!). And, actually, the quad was so incredibly simple to drive, it almost was like driving an arcade game!

Memories to last a lifetime. The boat trip and the turtles afterwards weren’t bad either! Pics are attached.

Also worth a shout, and on a similar theme, was driving with a colleague West across the Severn Bridge on a work trip, at sunset, with a pastel pink sky. Just stunning and could have been ripped straight from the game, especially as hire cars are the fastest vehicles known to man! No pics of that one though, sorry.

Looking forward to reading other readers’ stories!
Julian

No continues
Personally, every time I see someone dressed quite outlandishly I smile inwardly, thinking that if I go up to them they’ll give me an elaborate side quest. A little darker, is that if I see a part of the pavement or wall that is a different colour to the rest of the structure I wonder, that if I put an explosive device down and run for cover, the resultant blast will uncover a secret passage.

If you think about it everyone else is an non-player character anyway, going about their routines, interacting with us in different ways. Life is games and visa versa, although the 16 year unskippable tutorial and the permadeath thing is a bit of a pain.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)

Silent Rye Hill
I thought I’d mention a surreal but slightly unsettling experience I had back in 2005.

I was on my way to work in Harlow early on the cold morning of January 1st. I had to cover a bank holiday shift at a small medicines supply company and decided to drive up there from London by cutting through the Epping countryside.

As soon as I arrived in Rye Hill Road (an area with large houses) I found the surroundings were intensely foggy and I could only see a few metres ahead.
I had to park my car as close to the kerb as I could see and get my bearings (this was before satnav and smartphones).

All of a sudden I could see some figures shuffling and stumbling through the fog, moaning and uttering confused sentences. In a moment of horror, I felt like I was in the town of Silent Hill. My radio decided to start trying to pick up a radio station after driving through the Essex countryside and the loud crackling almost made me scream.

Turns out the stumbling figures were not deformed monsters but inebriated locals returning back from New Year’s celebrations (or whatever the locals of Harlow get up to on the outskirts of their town).

It was an unforgettable moment that has stayed with me ever since.
Zeeshan

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Nine lives
This Hot Topic reminded me of a situation about 10 years or so ago; I had been playing a ton of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer. About the same time there used to be a certain advert running on the TV, it was either Go-Cat or a similar cat themed food advert.

The advert would show a bunch of cats running about performing extraordinary manoeuvres, and at one point it would show a cat running along the top of a what seemed to be a roofline, the camera angle and the silhouette being somewhat similar to that which I had become used to in Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.

Every time I saw the advert, for a nanosecond I would immediately think about hunkering down on the sofa to bring my rifle to bear, until reality kicked back in and I realised it was just a bunch of harmless cats running for their dinner.
r-s-w

IRL
To my shame I had the ex-girlfriend hound me for spending SO MUCH TIME ON THAT BLODDY OBLIVION GAME and telling me we were going to get outside and have together.

So you can imagine her face (and mine to be honest, I was just as flabbergasted at the words leaving my mouth) when I drove us over the lovely countryside toward Whitby on a bright sunny day only to round a hill, point to the fields yonder and pronounce that the graphics were very, VERY good.
PugMartin

Dimension slip
Didn’t happen to me but a friend of mine told me when he was driving to work, he came across a bridge and noticed graffiti on the bridge.

For whatever reason he thought for a second he was in San Andreas from Grand Theft Auto. I don’t think it has happened since but he has been playing less in the last few years, so it is probably a good thing.
Bobwallett

Thinking like Sam
I remember in the early 2000s, I was walking past some sort of warehouse one day and thought to myself how I could shimmy up the drainpipe to the roof, then get in through a skylight.

I had been playing a lot of Splinter Cell around the time.
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NNID/Twitter)

Having a moment
As soon as I read about this proposed Hot Topic I instantly recalled a friend and I calling out moments in real-life that we would call ‘Prince of Persia moments’. These involved the person who spotted the opportunity to shout out ‘Prince of Persia moment!’ followed by executing whatever opportunity they had found, whether it be running along a wall or climbing up something, but the most memorable one I’ll go into more detail about…

We were with my friend’s nephew and his dad in a playpark when I suddenly saw two swings with one lurching forward and the other swinging back and it looked just like a real-life version of the hanging scythes in Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time. Naturally, I called it and proceeded to run forwards, miss the first swing swinging back on itself then rolled and avoided the second swinging forwards again before standing up triumphantly; having safely executed a prime Prince of Persia moment!

Worryingly though, my friend’s nephew suddenly tried to mimic my antics and started running towards the dangerous swings before his dad intervened and scooped him up before he reached the first whilst shouting ‘No!’

The dad then proceeded to lament me as being a silly man and how he shouldn’t copy me. At the time I felt a bit irked that my heroics weren’t being celebrated but on hindsight I learned a valuable lesson of how to act around impressionable young children. Having just become a father myself in the past two weeks, it should come in useful for any future real-life video game moments!
Paul Conry

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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