Kurt Plissken reloaded his gun. Then he reloaded it again. Sneaking behind an enemy guard he raised his combat knife and prepared to perform a stealth kill. Then he did a forward roll directly into the back of the guard's knees and set off an alarm. Spotlights and red laser sights swept to his position, and a dozen gunshots later he was dead. This wasn't how things were supposed to go.
Back in the 90s Kurt had been the best of the best, the foremost name in tactical espionage action. He and his player had been an unstoppable team, training relentlessly together until every mission had been mastered and every secret unlocked. In the fifteen years that followed, he'd been content to gather dust in the loft, secure in the knowledge that he'd done everything there was to do and seen everything there was to see. His legacy would live on in his player's pro skills, and his save file stood as a monument to his illustrious career.
He'd been happy up there, but it had come as a pleasant surprise to be dusted off and unboxed. It was true that his story was 100% complete, but he'd be lying if he said he hadn't missed the tactical espionage action. He and the player were reunited, ready to relive the glory days.
That's when the player betrayed him.
The player's nephew looked at the dull grey console with derision, and his expression had only become more punchable as the game booted up.
“These graphics are laaaame,” he'd said.
The next few hours had been the worst of Kurt's life. Death after embarrassing death made a mockery of his flawless hardcore run. Even simple tasks became insurmountable with this idiot child at the controls. He threw grenades at his own feet. He ran off of cliffs. He jumped every time he wanted to open a door. He threw a grenade at his own feet every time he wanted to jump.
Then came easy mode. Kurt would have died of humiliation had he not already died of landmines.
Just when things were at their darkest, the player stepped in. Kurt crawled through crowds of guards unnoticed. He sniped far off targets without wasting a bullet. He disabled security systems and infiltrated secret areas to obtain the powerful weapons therein. He was perfect. He was whole again.
He reached the boss, Bert Plissken, his nanomachine-enhanced evil twin brother. Time to earn his honour back. He remembered all the ways he and the player had prevailed in the past, switching strategies on the fly in beautiful synchronicity. The cut-scene began to play.
“You are conglaturation,” said his twin. “But the line ends here.”
Kurt delivered his poorly translated lines with renewed conviction. “Enough of your words. You are the one for whom the line ends here.”
It was just like the 90s again. Kurt felt good. He felt confident. He felt...
The player handed the controller back to his nephew and Kurt threw a grenade at his feet.
Respawning at a checkpoint, he yearned to be put back in the loft. The indignity was too much. He watched with relief as the player's nephew reached for the power button.
Do it, he thought. Please, just end it. Leave me in peace.
“Oh wait,” said the nephew. “Almost forgot to save!”
The pause screen turned to the save screen, and the nephew highlighted the first slot. The full slot. Do you really want to overwrite this save? asked the game.
Kurt watched on horrified as the nephew selected 'yes'.