The following is a transcript of audio recordings made by the attending psychiatrist Dr B. Head of the ACT’s primary mental health care facility. It documents games writer Matt Hewson’s decent into madness.
Dr Head: Morning Matthew. How are you today?
Matt: Not so good Doc. That’s why I’m here. I need to talk to you about something.
Dr Head: Sure Matt that is why I am here after all. What is troubling you?
Matt: Well you see I received this game from The Black Panel to review, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. It promised the chance to play as a member of the villainous Umbrella Corporation. How cool does that sound? I threw the game into Xbox and loaded it up. I knew it was a co-op game so I went straight for the multiplayer option. I waited Doc, boy did I wait. It took 20 minutes to find just one player and as soon as we started the game he disconnected. I then decided to keep playing alone, which, I might add, was a mistake. The computer AI was terrible. They just stood there and got eaten by the zombie hordes. I spent more time rescuing their useless backsides than I did shooting zombies. I started to get really angry, Doc, so I turned it off. That was yesterday and since then I have been feeling strange. It’s like I am losing my grip.
Dr Head: Matt, what you are feeling is perfectly normal and should be fairly simple to treat. Here are some relaxation exercises. Make sure you practise them before returning to play this game. If you have any further problems, please come back and see me.
Matt: Thanks Doc.
Dr Head: Matt, you’re back.
Matt: Yeah. Doc, things are getting worse.
Dr Head: How so?
Matt: Well, you know how I was telling you about the terrible AI? It just doesn’t get any better. There was one point where I was walking through a tight corridor and every two steps I would have to wait for an AI teammate to get out of the road. It was maddening. These guys were supposed to be the Umbrella Corporation’s crack troops but they couldn’t even walk down a hallway. Oh and Doc, I really do think I am going mad. While I was playing I swore that I saw my teammate get stuck in the walls with half his body in and half his body out. This happened all the time. I must be off my tree. The only other explanation I can think of is that the game is broken and buggy, but surely Capcom wouldn’t release a game like that, would they Doc?
Dr Head: Let’s not rule it out Matt. It would certainly explain some of the problems you are having. Was there anything else?
Matt: I am waking up at night in cold sweat thinking about the graphics, Doc.
Dr Head: Really? Go on.
Matt: Okay, so I’m having a reoccurring nightmare that the real world looks like this game. Every person is a variation on one of only six different zombie or soldier models. Everyone looks exactly the same Doc. I’ve also been dreaming that the world has lost all of its colours except for black and grey and every building looks like an abandoned warehouse containing just a few different objects. Am I dropping my bundle, Doc? Am I?
Dr Head: Look I will be honest with you Matt, it’s is too early to tell for sure, but something is clearly not right here. I am going to give you some tablets to take. I want you to take one in the morning and another at night. They should help. I want you to come back the same time next week for a check-up, okay?
Matt: Sure thing, Doc. See you next week.
Dr Head: So, Matt, how are you feeli-
Matt: NO TIME, DOC. IT’S COMING!
Dr Head: Please calm down. What’s coming?
Matt: THE END, DOC, THE END!
Dr Head: Here, Matt, drink this and then slowly explain what you mean.
Matt: Thanks. What was in that drink? I feel calm for the first time in days.
Dr Head: It is my own little concoction but that isn’t important. What is important is getting you better. You were talking about the end?
Matt: Yeah Doc, the end. Operation Raccoon City is so broken that I can’t stop thinking that everything is coming to a halt. The world is ending one buggy poorly programed AI character at a time. What’s worse is that the game teases you. Occasionally, when the planets align and you have a human player assisting, things feel a little better. Then the bugs rear their heads once again and that small ray of hope is destroyed. My God, Doc, my squad mates, they… they just won’t GET OUT OF THE WAY!
Dr Head: Nurse, quickly. Get this man a shot to calm him down. I’m afraid we’re going to have to admit him.
Matt: THEY’RE IN THE WAY DOC. MAKE THEM MOVE! MAKE THEM MOVE!
Nurse: Here, Doctor.
Dr Head: Matt I have given you something to calm you down. You’re going to be spending a bit more time with us.
Matt: MAKE THEM MOVE! Make them… *mumble mumble*
Nurse: I know this is probably a bad time to bring this up, Doctor, but who is going to pay his for his treatment while he is here?
Dr Head: His file mentions an Erin Marcon. I suspect we’ll have to bill him.