AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!: 3 AM

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!: A Reckless Disregard for Gravity is a game I’m coming to associate with 3:00 at night. I once used the phrase “a real 5 AM game” to describe a game that makes you lose track of time, the sort where you look up at the clock and discover to your amazement that the sun is going to rise soon and getting any sleep that night is a lost cause. That’s not what I mean here. I mean that AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! evokes the sensation of being awake at an unreasonable hour and knowing it.

It’s got the punchy sense of humor that I associate with sleep deprivation, with level titles like “We’re Not Bad People But We Hate Good People” and “What The Bloody Hell’s Tungsten Carbide Drills”. The whole premise of the game is an example of that kind of joke, and an example of the sort of thing people think is a good idea at 3 AM: “Let’s go jump off buildings in wingsuits. It’ll be awesome.” Going back to the level selection screen sometimes provokes an absurd and irrelevant radio announcement from “Nebin“, who sounds bored, or stoned, or possibly just sleep-deprived — either way, he’s definitely the sort of programming that gets put on the air late at night (even though his repeated “More news at midnight” line suggests that is isn’t actually 3 AM yet).

If you’re awake at 3 AM, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re not planning on being fully awake and alert for the duration of the day. It’s a kind of reckless disregard, just like in the title — the devil-take-tomorrow attitude of someone who’d engage in the kind of pointlessly dangerous activity depicted in the game. Note that Dejobaan’s previous title was The Wonderful End of the World. There’s a running theme here, a sense of apocalyptic desperation underlying the humor, like the desperation of an all-nighter. You’re cramming for an exam, wired on caffeine, listening to Nebin on the college radio station, unwilling to allow yourself to think about anything beyond your immediate concern. Your world ends with that exam, and it’s rushing towards you like the ground. At some point, you’re just completely unable to concentrate, but falling asleep would be disastrous, so you take a break with a videogame, to keep your nerves active while your mind takes a rest. When I was in college, I frequently used Wing Commander and its sequels for this purpose — the scramble/take-off music played on a Soundblaster was better than an alarm clock. But AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! in general seems even better-suited for the purpose. It even has an Achievement called “I Avoid Sleep Wherever Possible, So I Played AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! a Whole Lot”.

1 Comment so far

  1. Ichiro Lambe on 20 Dec 2010

    Sweet! I’m glad we could keep you up. Or make you think we’re keeping you up. One of the two things.

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