Photo Credit: Remedy Entertainment

As 2019 comes to a close I’ve been doing a lot of reflection this past week about video games. There is an endless stream of articles recapping 2019 or recalling the entire decade. There have been so many games in the past year, let alone the past decade that have left marks in some way on me. There has been one game though that my thoughts keep drifting back to. It’s a recent game and in ten years I don’t think it’s the best game I’ve played but it has managed to do something that no other game in recent memory has done. It the perfect moment between me and the game. A moment where I became one with it and nothing else existed, I just played through pure muscle memory with no consideration for anything else internal or external.

The game in question is Control and the moment is the Ashtray Maze. Most games like Control are always teaching you something new. A new ability or power, a new tool or strategy to defeat a monster. Everything can be broken down to Rock, Paper Scissor rules. A new enemy appears and it’s immune or resistant to whatever the last power was that you attained and you now learn a new one. The next hour or so of the game is learning to master that ability before it’s back to the grind. Now you’ve got a new power that you have to integrate into your strategy depending on what you’re fighting. A lot of games follow this model and it’s not very often in a game where I feel like I’m not learning something new.

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The Ashtray Maze was a perfect moment in a great game that wasn’t perfect itself. Control takes place in the Oldest House, which is a building that lives on the edge of unexplained reality altering …stuff. Even after beating it I still don’t have answers. It’s filled with weird artifacts and crazy powers and the Ashtray Maze was designed to hold the most powerful one. It’s a series of shifting hallways and rooms that resemble a hotel out of an 80s movie. There’s a key to getting through though and that’s a walkman and some headphones. Jesse Faden gets this ‘key’ from the creepy janitor puts them on and Starlord style runs through the Ashtray Maze with awesome music blasting, defeating enemies of all varieties and the environment warps and changes all around her. I didn’t stop, there was no resting. I didn’t think about what moves I would use, I just played. I encompassed and engrossed in this moment for as long as it lasted just playing the game. Living in the Oldest House and experiencing Control for exactly what it was. Every bit of this game flowed through me as I slammed furniture into monsters, threw monsters across the room, emptied my clip into the wall and few monsters. It’s a moment that I can’t get out of my head and it was the most pure moment of fun I’ve experienced in a video game in a long time.

Have you ever experienced the perfect moment in a game? Anything that stands out among everything else you’ve ever played? Be sure to share it with us on social media!

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