For various seasonal reasons, I was thinking about the holidays and about the nature of the past and the present when suddenly “Entombed” popped into my head. “Entombed” was a video game from 1982 which was made for the Atari 2600. My family found our copy in a discount bin at Hills (a long defunct chain store from Middle America), and bought it for the picture…which made the game seem like a cartoon-y Indiana Jones sort of affair. Hilariously, the single online photo I could find of the package shows a similarly marked-down copy–so probably everyone bought this thing from a discount bin for the low price and the wacky package art. There was also a vague narrative blurb which made it seem like the player would be exploring catacombs and dodging phantasms. Fun!
Yet when you started playing “Entombed” you were immediately dumped into a rudimentary hell world the color of artificial cheese…and the only escape was death (which came with merciless speed). The player was a little purple stick man who had to keep moving downwards through twisting matching pathways in luridly colored walls which were marching upwards (if that description makes no sense here is a link to the stunning gameplay on Youtube). Occasionally little blue apparitions appeared which would kill you by touching you, however the cause of death was almost invariably getting caught in a tunnel and crushed by the top of the screen (which caused a grim noise and then oblivion).
The real problem was the walls moved upwards with relentless speed and they moved faster and faster as you moved down. A game of “Entombed” was about 45 seconds of descending an ugly zigzag and then being crushed with a resounding digital crunch. The game swiftly found its way to the bottom of the game cartridges and there was no question about how it ended up in the bargain bin at Hills. Something about 2016 and my progress through the world (or maybe our collective progress) called this long-lost memory to mind and now it is stuck in my head.
Well, time to head to bed so I can get up for a fresh day at the office tomorrow!