Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Five Years Ago: Grand Bank, Ghouls, And Goodbye To Sarah Jane Smith

Five years. Half a decade. It feels like such a long time, huh? A child born in 2011 is now old enough to be walking and talking, ready to enter kindergarten. Still a little kid, but hardly an infant. And yet, five years doesn't actually feel all that long when you think about it. I still have plenty of memories of it. Even 2013, three years on now, only feels like it was very recent. 2011 is just a stone's throw away. So, time for a little reflection. Actually a lot of reflection since I'm gonna pull some mirror talk out of my butt. (Hi, Rainiac!) April 2011 had a lot of weird intersects that have ended up changing me as a person. So, I'm going to write about those intersects and cast my mind back. So, step through the looking glass, the 144 mirrors I've set up to reflect you back into the past.


So I was in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. It's a very nice place that I have done video footage on extensively. I go once or twice a year. The previous day, April 18th, was spent actually driving to the place. About... oh, three hours before getting there, we passed a landmark. This big imposing cliffside. I remember looking out from the vehicle, up at that cliffside... and I thought something. I don't remember quite what compelled me to think it. It might have been the episode of the Retronauts podcast I had listened to during the early phases of the drive, but one clear mad seed of a thought embedded in my brain. A wild idea.

I was going to beat Super Ghouls n Ghosts.

Yes, it's a game that many say is impossible, and I gave it a try. I couldn't get past level... 2, I want to say. I found its controls rigid, its random spawns unforgiving, and its limited continues terrifying. So that was going to need some work. Come the next day, April 19th, and I'm using the tunes as background music for my video to document the trip. Here I am, five years ago, ranting about Pepsi Throwback and VHS tapes. The Pepsi Throwback was a mistake. I had a decayed wisdom tooth on the right side of my mouth, and the thing was a screaming mass of pain that rayed up into my right eye socket and even around my ear somewhat. Sweets did NOT help, even if I brushed my teeth immediately after. The sugar got in and did its work and made the pain continue. I ended up taking the maximum dose of over-the-counter Tylenols every day in order to kill the pain, and even that was a mess. Take every four hours, it said. Well, I'd take one and it would take an hour to kick in. Two hours later it would wear off, the pain would be back, and I'd have to endure for an hour more before I could take another. It was nasty, but later in the year I had the thing forcibly hauled out of my mouth once I could pay the dentist bill. Good thing I'm covered nowadays! This had nothing to do with Doctor Who or hard games, but while we're remembering. Come to think of it, the Super Mario Galaxy I rented from that video store? I think it's the last thing I've ever rented from them. The place got me into RPGs. 1996, I rented Super Mario RPG. 2001, I rented Final Fantasy 6 (Well, 3, but you know what I mean.). I've no recollection of what I'd rented in 2006, if anything. 2011, Super Mario Galaxy. Maybe I should do a courtesy rental of something, anything. I am hella rambling now, but let's move on.

1986 for Doctor Who saw the onscreen death of a companion, and on one of the DVD extras some talking head mentions that we actually don't see her death. We cut away, and when we come back there's an alien slug brain in her body. Somewhere in between that cut, we lost her. 8 minutes and 38 seconds into that vlog video, I'm rambling about Pink Floyd. At 8:41, I'm showing off stuff I bought. Somewhere in between all of this, I found out about the real-life death of a Doctor Who companion: Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith. I'd yet to delve into classic Doctor Who yet, but it was still a sad thing to see. Phil Sandifer wrote a little touching memorial to her on the day of, and here it is. What's interesting is his mention of a half-written Nintendo Project post about monsters. Digging it up, we find that it's about... Ghosts n Goblins and Gargoyle's Quest 2. I had no idea TARDIS Eruditorum or Phil Sandifer existed on April 19th, 2011. And yet, while I was lamenting Elisabeth Sladen's death and thinking about Super Ghouls n Ghosts, he was also lamenting Elisabeth Sladen's death and writing about Ghosts n Goblins. The coincidence here is astounding. For what it's worth, I said my farewells to her at 14:40 of that trip video, while the Space network up here was playing all sorts of Doctor Who in preparation for the Series 6 debut. 19:22 is where I react after 10 minutes, to all the weird bullshit that happened with Impossible Astronauts. Enough talk of April 2011. It's time to jump back.

The mystery of the Impossible Astronaut ended up being resolved pretty much exactly where I found out about it; on a Grand Bank trip in September of 2011. By then I had learned how to play hard games, how to motivate myself to learn them out of sheer attrition and spite for the patterns. I was there for a wedding, and between reception and dance, I beat the game. It was about the fourth time I did so, I believe. I would eventually write about Doctor Who, both on my blog and even once or twice on TARDIS Eruditorum, thanks to my silly decision to try and complete the Nintendo Project. I made a good attempt at it, I think. I've seen every classic Doctor Who episode with Elisabeth Sladen in it, and she really was pretty marvelous, wasn't she? Her and her Doctors faced off against mummies, mutants, and Morbiuses, and though they were scared, they always pulled through.

So, I guess Sarah Jane had experience in dealing with Ghosts n Goblins.