As far as I'm concerned, the 1980's was truly the golden age of home computing. No need to worry about your computer getting in with the wrong crowd and going off the rails, or hooking up with other computers behind your back and conspiring to fuck you over. No! You merely brainwashed that bad boy into submission with a few minutes of whiny tape-recorded noise, and (eventually, if you were lucky) you were away.
In the first few months following our family's procurement of a Sinclair ZX81, we hammered out game after silent game of Tower Of Hanoi, Racetrack and Chase, blissfully unaware of what lay in wait. Because the emergence of a 16K RAM pack brought with it an advancement in 3D gaming technology that would chill me to the very core. Oh yeah. I'm talking about 3D Monster Maze.
Nothing in my previous gaming experience had even remotely prepared me for the overwhelming fear this game instilled in me. It went like this; as you roamed the maze in search of escape, Rex would hunt you down, his status indicated on screen with ominous shouty caps messages. HE HAS SEEN YOU. RUN! HE IS BEHIND YOU! Oh Jesus, no!
By the time you clapped eyes on him it was too late, as he smashed through the TV screen, bursting your skull like a ripe melon with his powerful jaws and ripping your face to bloody shreds in a final, merciful act of sweet relief from the unbearable suspense.
All of which leads me to a confession. Having received a copy of Resident Evil 4 for my birthday last week, the disc has yet to make it into the machine. I am too scared to put it on. Having soldiered my way through the first three (I skipped Code: Veronica) I am more than qualified to kick this game's ass. But instead it has struck the first blow with its powerful, insurmountable hurdle of dread. And so the game is already afoot. Now that's what I call value for money.