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Things Adventure Games Lied To Me About Part 27: Crowbars

Watch out, car windows

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I have never used a crowbar. Meanwhile, adventure games have told me since I can remember being able to sit up that crowbars are a part of everyday life. So where am I going wrong?

Yes, of course, Half-Life has perhaps made crowbars more famous than any other game, but in terms of genre ubiquity it’s the adventure game that holds the flag for the bendy metal tool. Since text could be displayed on screens, games have informed me that wielding a crowbar is a normal part of a person’s daily routine. And yet I have never held one.

In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen one.

I’ve been to hardware stores, you know, a regular amount. I was in one on Monday choosing paint colour for our new garden fence. I’ve wandered up and down their towering aisles searching for items like gate hooks and shower rails, passing through corridors of pipes and tools of the like I hope I never have to use. Being in a B&Q or a Homebase feels like stepping behind the scenes of real life, seeing how normality is made in a way that breaks the fourth wall of my own reality.

And in all these visits, amidst the trowels and guttering, I’ve never seen even a sign for a crowbar, let alone one of the mystical objects themselves.

But adventure games have told me that they’re lying around in all sheds, garages, car boots, dresser tables and attic trunks, there to be grabbed and slid into one’s pocket, inevitably to be used multiple times before the story is through.

There’s a door that can’t be opened, and the lock is broken? Crowbar!

There’s a hidden trapdoor under the rug in the main hallway? Crowbar!

There’s an enemy looking the other way who has the secret code? Crowbar!

There’s a dime in some gum glued to the floor? Crowbar!

In fact, most adventure games eventually take the crowbar away from you, since it can be used to solve pretty much any situation.

How many situations in my own life would have been better if I’d only had a crowbar?! It’s hard to even guess – so far removed from my personal reality has the option felt that it’s never crossed my mind to consider the possibility. I daren’t even reflect on the matter, lest it leave me in a regret-fuelled funk of self-condemnation and lamentation.

So can you even buy a crowbar? Goodness me, yes you can. I just looked it up on Amazon, and they’re like, £6. On Prime! I could get one delivered today! I’m… I’m so tempted to buy a crowbar.

I’m going to do it.

I just bought a crowbar.

My Amazon recommendations are going to be so bloody rugged from now on, baby monitors and plastic cars pushed down the screen.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to use my £6 crowbar for, but I’ll be darned if any puzzles thwart my progress for the next few weeks until I forget where I put it.

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Who am I?

John Walker

Disposable

Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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