Chris, I said. Look. Look behind you. I’m scooting along on my bum.
We were sat in a disused stable just outside of Manchester, wrapped up in coats and drinking tea to stay warm, playing Resident Evil 6 on an Xbox wired into a generator to keep it going because when you’re a journalist sometimes that’s where you play games, apparently.
We played one of the campaigns – there was a Senator involved, I think – and Chris, my friend and cameraman, played the girl whilst I played the guy with floppy hair. I’m not big on names. We trudge through twenty minutes of exploration, and at one point we’re defeated by some balloons blocking our path so we have to choose a different way. We were just about ready to give up when he discovered the slide function.
It’s a measure of how far the games have progressed and evolved – some might say devolved, but I’d disagree with them – from their survival horror roots, based in a tradition of taking freedom of movement away from the player when they try to engage in combat with bad guys.
Now every character can slide by pulling aim when they’re running, in which they throw themselves onto their back and aim their gun at whatever’s in front of them. What’s more, if you hold down the aim button, you can move around on the floor. Excellent for backing away from a crowd of zombies, say. Or, as you can move forwards too, for playing the entire level sat on your bum.
That’s when I told him what I was doing, and we laughed, and then zombies attacked him.
Leon Kennedy (I looked up the name) leapt down a flight of stairs and landed hard. Pulled out his survival knife, low as he was on bullets, and started scooting towards his partner by wiggling his bum back and forth. Hang on Chris, I said. I’m coming. Try to stay alive. I’m coming to get you.
Leon bum-shifted around like a dog with worms trying to itch itself on the carpet.
Chris was dying.
Leon was still scooting toward his partner. I took a few practice swings with his knife. Everything seemed fine. Chris’ health drops dangerously low and he’s taken down by the undead.
Hold on, I say. Scoot scoot. Scoot.
I arrived in glorious technicolour and waved that knife around like I was fucking Zorro, cleaving through zombie kneecaps like a moulinex with the glass smashed off. Shattered lumps of patella filled the air like bone confetti and it’s in my hair and all over my face and I’m laughing, scooting back and forth to finish off the others that tried to crawl away and I am become a terrible thing, a God of War on my arse. Scooting. Always scooting.
I punch Chris right in the chest and he gets up all groggy, and I spray him with first-aid spray and say come on, let’s go, and run off towards the objective and throw myself flat on the ground and he follows and we both scoot past the bodies of our enemies, me facing forward and him backward to cover our rear.
Then there’s a metal detector security unit and we can’t go round it or under it so we look at each other and realise that the only thing for it is to scoot through it at the same time so we do and we laugh and laugh and it goes off and ZOMBIES EVERYWHERE.