So I know I said my next RPGDad installment would be about level-based childhood, but RPGBaby came early and I had to change my plans. Who woulda’ thought a child would require something like that? I wrote the below while we were in the hospital, and I hope it does not offend too terribly much 🙂
In case you never noticed it before, childbirth is much like a good first-person shooter designed solely for female players. Some people may tell you it is co-op, but just like in most co-op games, you will be doing all the real work. As a man, I have perfect insight into this matter and am happy to share these truths.
You can start the game with tutorial levels, named after those famous level designers Braxton and Hicks. These are usually very easy and unlikely to damage your character, though they may provide some scares. However, as with most tutorials, they really do not prepare you for the real thing.
The first true levels bring small waves of opponents (contractions) and allow you plenty of time to recover and power back up between them. As you become more skilled in dealing with these waves, they build in intensity, duration and rapidity, just as good game progression should. Thus, when you think you have mastered the game, then the designer ratchets up the difficulty.
There is a water level where the dam breaks and your character can get washed away in a flood. There is even a fire level (the crowning). This is the stage where the game designer is sending wave after wave of punishing attacks against you. The difference between early contractions and the ones where you push are like the difference between imps and cyberdemons in Doom. By end game you are sure you have nowhere near the resources you need to battle the big boss, but you do it anyway and win the game.
If you are playing in hardcore mode, you avoid picking up the health packs (painkillers) along the way. Okay, I’ll admit it – every woman in childbirth is playing hardcore mode, since they refuse to pause or even save the game 🙂
PS. There is even an extra mini level after the big boss battle where you can deliver a placenta, but like most mini levels it is somewhat anticlimactic.