There was a time when the Red Wings scared the hell out of me. But not anymore.
As a young hockey fan growing up in the 90s, the Red Wings were THE TEAM to fear. While I hated other teams more than the Wings, there was no team that could rival the Red Wings when it came to sheer "oh hell the Sharks are going to lose again" trepidation.
And you know what else used to scare me a whole lot when I was young? Underwater levels in video games.
I don't think I'm alone in having felt this way. I'm sure there are other people out there who know what I'm talking about when I say that video games where you had to monitor your oxygen levels to avoid drowning were some nightmarish shit when we were little kids.
And Ecco the Dolphin was just above the worst offender of the bunch.
If you're not familiar with the game Ecco, the following GIFs should sum it up for you pretty well:
Look at this idiot. He's so happy. He has no idea what's coming.
Oh lord what is this?
Oh god and now there's a dinosaur?
Ecco the Dolphin was full of weird shit that was way too complicated and heavy for children to understand. There was stuff in the game about saving the environment and protecting the oceans mixed in with time travel and magic crystals and sea monsters and even horrible aliens.
Even with all that freaky stuff going on though, the number one thing you had to worry about in Ecco was drowning. You drown all the damn time in Ecco: the Dolphin who Drowns and It's All Your Fault Young Child.
Ecco had a pretty generous oxygen meter, but it didn't matter because you'd constantly find yourself in tunnels deep underwater surrounded by deadly enemies who seemed to know that they didn't have to chase after you to kill you, all they had to do was wait while the lack of live-giving oxygen did the job for them.
In case you want to see what it's like when Ecco drowns, here's a video made by some sociopath.
Drowning in video games was a horrifying thing when I was a child, but today it doesn't frighten me at all. These days underwater sections of video games are much more likely to just be maddeningly frustrating than actually frightening.
Some childhood fears go away gradually over time, while others may vanish once they are finally confronted directly. The Detroit Red Wings grew significantly less scary after the Sharks beat them in the playoffs two years in a row, and now that they've been relegated to the Eastern Conference they're nothing more than an amusing curiosity. The fear is gone. Somewhere along the way, the Sharks discovered the Game Genie code that allowed them to beat Detroit.
Today the Red Wings have joined underwater levels in video games on the list of childhood fears that have now been soundly conquered. Neither one can ever inspire the slightest fear in me, ever again, forever.
Oh god, no! I've created a monster!
Prediction: Pavel Datsyuk does something amazing and the Red Wings lose 4-1.