Let's go round again
New Game+, the rolling mode that just keeps on giving. Where once we players merely completed a title, before bidding said game a sad sayonara, nowadays its remains perfectly possible to recommence our adventures without missing a beat. Buoyed on by our successes and emboldened by high-level attributes, we bravely stride back into the starting lands to do it all over again. It's a little bit like reincarnation, a process of death and rebirth in which the affected claim to retain memories of their past lives. But what if instead of 'switching bodies' we simply rebooted back into our own, younger selves? What if New Game+ occurred in real life too?
Today's big nonsensical list of stuff looks at what exactly might happen if New Life+ (catchy, right?) were an real life possibility. What lessons could NG+ have to teach us about starting over with (the majority of) our skill sets left intact? Well, for a start
Say goodbye to your stuff
If New Game+ allows users to bring a lifetime's worth of loot back to the beginning, then it stands to reason that New Life + really ought to do the same. Except of course that fitting all that tat inside of an already swollen womb isn't going to be easy. Though fans of physical comedy would certainly get a kick out of seeing a clown car's worth of homeware issuing, Mary Poppins-style, out of a thoroughly befuddled cervix (go ahead, write something weirder that that today) this particular method may not be ideal.
Instead, we're going to imagine that it all just warps into view at the exact moment you're born, daubing the entire operating theatre in a thick layer of quasi-futuristic gadgetry. Depending on when exactly you hit the reset switch that stuff might vary from a smartphone two decades ahead of the date to an XL can of mecha-dinosaur repellent. Just trust me on that last one Sadly, you won't be in any kind of position to enjoy these reverse-Terminator theatrics, with half the room likely to panic, while the rest prepare to sell your stuff to the real life equivalents of Skynet. Sorry about that.
If ever there was a reason to return to your childhood, to the halcyon days of sugar highs and summertimes spent scoffing down sweets, it's this: kids - lucky little buggers that they are - enjoy all of the best toys. Toys, it should be mentioned that every thinking adult could feasibly afford, and yet remains socially prohibited from actually enjoying. Take the classic swing set or sandbox for example. There's not a man or lass alive who'd say no to a good hard swing, or so the folks at Tinder tell me, and yet not a one of them would actually consider buying one, at least not for themselves.
Indeed, its estimated that a whopping 900% of fathers sire their offspring with the express purpose of re-gaining access to these kinds of youthful amusements. "Move over Timmy, daddy has to test the structural integrity of your new Omni-playground 5000. Best come back in eight or nine hours" New Life+ (and yes, that name is starting to sound like a Scientology pamphlet) would grant access to all sorts of similarly simple pleasures. Pedal powered cars, water guns, and all the diapers/nappies you can fill. Okay, so some of the Tinder folk are still totally into the latter as well, but here you could do with with complete social acceptability. What more could you possibly want?
Alright, I admit it, that last entry may have painted an overly rosy picture of the New Life+ experience. It wouldn't all be fun and frolicking, you know? There'd still be school to contend with, along with all of the associated sufferings. Coursework, homework, group work, work work... There's a reason most folks enjoy their 20s far more than their heavily scheduled teenaged years. On the plus side, everything up to the age or 18 (or more, depending on your IQ) should be an absolute breeze - a crushingly easy cakewalk that winds up winning you the reputation of a pint-sized Einstein.
Sure, you'll eventually level out, catching up to your genuine brain age before thoroughly disappointing your parents - "what do you mean our Valedictorian is lounging around in a pair of sweat-stained Y-fronts?" - but it'll be a hell of a ride while it lasts.
Speaking of associated sufferings, hitting the hard reset key would also involve an inevitable return to puberty. For some that will mean spots, for others, everything from violent mood swings to gangly growth spurts. Oh, and don't forget about all that unabashed narcissism. "Yes, daddy I know you've just worked an 89 hour shift in the salt mines of Grashkalanekt, but who else is going to drive me over to Todd Douchekowsky's ultra important party?". Apologies if that last excerpt seemed a little off base. I've decided to opt for the classic 'American-style adolescence' (as gleaned from watching movies) over the rather more mundane British equivalent. As stereotypes go, keggers and beer pong are a damn sight more glamorous than slurping cheap cider in a Tesco's car park
The one advantage of tackling puberty in a New Game+ scenario is that you'll be far better prepared to handle it the second time around. Sure, you might've forgotten most of the particulars - who fancies who, what constitutes cool, and why any of this stuff actually matters - but a broad strokes understanding ought to be enough to give you the edge. Hell, you might even use your 'sports almanac'-like advantage to become the hippest kid in school.
Eat it teacher
Nothing wins popular acclaim quite like a deftly delivered comeback. Fortunately for you, you're now rocking an adult-sized brain in a teenage frame, which, as anyone who's ever pondered what it might be like to return to their younger years can attest, means only one thing. Yes folks, It's finally time to take revenge on those grim-faced and god-forsaken teachers. Now that's not to say you should be using your newfound powers to ridicule every educator. These skills ought to be reserved for the absolute worst of the worst. 'The patronising bastard', 'the power-mad moron', 'the shrill disciplinarian', and so on.
New Life+ would grant us all that opportunity to gaze on in smug-faced satisfaction as a hated enemy buckles under the pressure. Grill them with questions, belittle their abilities, lure them into a carefully considered trap before going full Good Will Hunting on their arses. It'd all be a little like returning to the starting area in a Dark Souls game. A one-time source of dread turned fertile hunting ground. Better get used to the endless detentions though
Romance on hold
Video games are chock full of figurative roadblocks, from simple level requirements to coloured key cards. The likes of Mass Effect even put the kybosh on our ability to hold a simple conversation, forcing players to complete a set number of 'stages' before any new info can be added. Sure, those crewmates may trust you with their very lives, but for some strange reason, just aren't comfortable discussing their back-stories prior to the next mission. Fancy sweet talking Ashley before the game says you're ready? Tough luck chump, come back when you're ten seconds away from the complete heat death of the universe.
Romance in the New Life + environment would likely prove to be even more galling. For one thing, you're going to be starting out as a baby, baby. A tiny little toddler with a keen appreciation for swimsuit models and/or manly grown-up man-types, but a tiny little toddler nonetheless. Now assuming you don't automatically regress to having the mind of a child - thereby invalidating this entire premise - the odds are that you aren't going to fancy anyone below the age of 18 at the very bare minimum, and potentially way older depending on when you restarted. That's at least 18 years of being the perviest little tyke around, locked out of your own libido and going flat-out crazy with it. So err yeah enjoy that. New Life+ is starting to seem a little less appetising.
No Mo' (tor) skills
Kid's toys are all well and good, but what about the video games? Will you still be able to play all of those at an 'adult level', dazzling the other children with your next-level flips and tricks, insider info and first place podiums? Erm no, probably not. The issue here is one of simple coordination. In short, kids just don't have it. And neither will you, at least not for the foreseeable future. Your mind may know exactly which buttons to hit at exactly what time, but just try telling that your mushy, disobliging little body.
The mind may be willing but the flesh is just sort of stupid, actually, with every single action suddenly becoming akin to clutching at an oiled up electric eel. Hell, even if you could fire up the ol' neural pathways, youd still have to contend with having two sets of miniature cocktail sausages for hands. Try reaching triangle now, you chubby-thumbed goof. Hmm, this is all going rather wrong now, isn't it?
Harder better faster stronger
Crafting an effective NG+ mode must be an awfully tricky task. After all, not all players are alike. Some will want to indulge in a glorified victory lap, lopping off the heads of their previously perilous enemies and giggling as they go. Others will crave an even greater challenge, one in which even the level 1 swamp rats fight with the fury of a 7th stage end boss. Many of the entries on this list assume the former scenario, but what if New Life+ conformed instead to the latter? To the type of setup in which every single scrap of knowledge must be utilised in order to survive. One in which the player must endure the extra perils of
Extreme flatulence, excessive sweating, atrocious acne, abundant body odour, flat feet, squeaky voice, meagre hearing, muddled eyesight, glandular goofs, bloaty head, slack tongue, spare ribs, heaped piles and so forth. The fun wouldn't stop there either. You might, for instance find yourself sentenced to a lifetime in prison, simply for tasting a grape at the supermarket check-out line prior to purchase. People would spit at you, exams would last for aeons, and otherwise harmless critters would make a mad-eyed dash for your larynx on sight. It's a mad, bad, harsh new world, remember?