Fun fact – I once worked at a video store.
It was a pretty sweet gig, all things considered. The demand for pre-owned VHS tapes and DVDs wasn’t exactly at an all-time high, so I spent most of my shift watching movies, occasionally offering a quick viewing suggestion to the rare patron before closing up for the night. Sure, sometimes I’d have to deal with a punk kid looking to steal things, unable to grasp the idea that all of the discs were behind the counter or be asked to hold a conversation with a man doing who-knows-what in the adult video section, but those days were few and far between.
In a lot of ways, I miss that experience, not just because we were mostly dead, but for the times when someone wandered in and wanted to talk about movies or wasn’t quite sure what they wanted but deferred to my experitise to ensure them a night of satisfied viewing. It’s a very specific experience that I hope to once again be a part of if I ever fufill my dream of opening a record store, but it’s also one that I never thought would be emulated in a video game.
VideoHeroeS was part of the Experimental Game Pack, a collection of releases from well-known indie developers to support the LA Game Space. Unfortunately, they stopped selling it a few years ago, so initially I questioned whether or not I should bother writing about a game that’s no longer available. Considering how many people out there other than me have played P.T., I feel a little less guilty about it. Also, it’s an alpha, so theoretically there could be another version down the line, albeit in somewhat modified form.
The game really doesn’t do anything to hide the fact that it’s using real box art from real films. Honestly, for the concept to work, they really needed to, as you’re tasked with finding movies that will satisfy each particular customer’s rather vague request. There are thankfully multiple answers for each, so you won’t be left out to dry if you’re not entirely familar with all of the tapes. When all else failed, I would hand the customer Eraserhead. Sure, they were asking for a family film with dogs in it, but they really wanted Eraserhead. Oh, you wanted a martial arts movie? Try Eraserhead. A cartoon? How about Eraserhead.
To be fair, this isn’t just something I do in the video game world. Chances are, if you knew me, I’d probably throw that DVD in your face. It prepares people for the surreal nightmare that is being a part of my life.