Spooky season might be behind us now, but man, it’s still pretty scary out there. My inbox sits at 576 unread emails, and in another tab I’m browsing heated clothes airers; things that I now realise are frighteningly expensive. But it’s not just mundane things in real life that give me goosebumps, it now extends to virtual white goods as well.
Right, so, there’s this fridge in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy and no matter how many times I close it, it won’t stay shut. At first it was funny, but it’s since morphed from a sly chuckle to a howl of agony. My relationship with the game is like that thing Yoda from Star Wars says, “Fear leads to the Dark Side”. Well, I’m almost there, let me tell you.
In Guardians, you play as Peter Quill, aka, Star Lord, who owns a spaceship called the Milano. It’s both a futuristic shuttle that’ll ferry you from one part of the galaxy to another, and a place to wind down between missions. You can pop into your teammates' rooms and have deep chats about the past, or simply stick on a delightful selection of 80s belters. The little details are impressive here, with constant banter flying between hull and bay as you gaze at the stars, or turn treasured possessions in your hands.
Right in the centre of it all, though, is a fridge. No matter how many times I snap it shut, I’ll return from a mission and one of my bastard colleagues will have left it wide open; a gaping chasm in the heart of space. Yet that’s not the reason why it’s scary to me. Physically, it doesn’t make me recoil in fear, or my heart stop. It’s an unremarkable fridge that keeps – when closed – beverages cold. Ha, I know these cubes like the back of my hand. So what’s the fuss?
What strikes fear into my heart is the gross negligence of my workmates. The sheer audacity of my fellow Guardians who think it’s acceptable to leave the fridge door open when taking a can of fizzy pop. I understand they’re meant to be ruthless killers and misfits, but it’s horrifying how their defective moral compasses also turn away from an object that’s built expressly to benefit them. They all have murder charges and robbery convictions and whatnot, but it’s their gross negligence that frightens me the most.
What's even scarier? The implication Peter himself is also capable of leaving the fridge open. Throughout the game you’ll take control of Peter as a teenager and explore his family home. Without spoiling anything, you can interact with a wide variety of things in these segments. Photos, posters, clothes... everything prompts some form of response, and it’s often a great insight into Peter’s complicated history.
But in Peter’s den, there’s a fridge. A fridge that’s left wide open, streaming cold air into nothing. Swing it shut and Peter doesn’t even say a word. There’s no whisper of an apology to himself or his mum. Just stone-cold silence. Clearly, gross fridge negligence runs deep in his past as much as his superpowers.
There are many things to confront in this game, like aliens and futuristic demi-gods. But perhaps there needs to be a scene where the Guardians gather round the Milano and have an open discussion with themselves, about how they need to do better when it comes to fridge usage. Until then, it’ll continue to haunt me.