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I'm replaying some PlayStation 4 hits right now. I saw God of War through to its quietly powerful climax the other week, and I'm now plugging away at Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Been here, done that, got the t-shirt already - there aren't really any surprises awaiting my arrival in Italy, Scotland or Madagascar. But what did blindside me was how I felt replaying the fourth chapter in Naughty Dog's 2016 release, 'A Normal Life'.
If you've played Uncharted 4, you know exactly what part of the game I mean. It begins with Nate in his loft - attic, I guess - which he's using as an office. All around him are memories - trinkets and tokens of adventures past. He can pick them up, spin them around in his hands, and give the player a little rush of nostalgia. Been there, stole that, ripped the t-shirt. He plays with a toy gun - there's a trophy for that - and is called downstairs for dinner by his wife, Elena.
We got our first proper look at Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in the forthcoming Uncharted movie as part of Sony's 'The Voices Of...' video, below
Nate's attic is pretty roomy - something I would have seen, obviously, in 2016 when I last played this game, but it hits differently in 2021. In 2016, I had a younger family, two sons happy to share a room, and a lot less stuff. Five years on, my Victorian terrace - two bedrooms, a bathroom on a rear extension, so narrow you could swing a cat but not a cat holding a mouse in its jaws - is groaning under the weight of larger humans with greater privacy needs and so, so much more stuff.
Nate's attic, man. There is so much I could do with all that space. It already has natural lighting, and is fully boarded out - no chance of putting a foot through into the en-suite below. And en-suite? Oh my god. We're a one-bathroom family here, and let me tell you that two sons under 10 equals a lot of pee around the toilet, and not so much in it. To have a bathroom just for my wife and I - what a dream, a fantasy, an ambition that I quite probably won't realise for several more years yet.
Taking Nate down his loft-ladder and onto the landing, the rest of his home unfolds. A master bedroom - not huge, but with a walk-in wardrobe and the aforementioned en-suite. A smaller bedroom that's being used by Elena as an office - with its own bathroom attached. (Well, a place for the ones and twos, at least.) Downstairs and there's another bathroom, a utility space, and a roomy kitchen-lounge-diner all-in-one space that, TBF, you couldn't really do anything else with but works wonderfully well for two adults without too many messy tendencies.
Three toilets, in a two-bed (seemingly semi-detached, looking at the window layout) house? I don't know what part of America Nate and Elena laid their roots down in, but to get a two-bed semi around where I live in the south of England, right now, with that kind of extra amenities and loads of potential to extend into the loft properly... You're looking at £350,000, easy. That's a heap more than I can afford - and hell, two bedrooms would be too small anyway, come the next move.
So cheers, Nate, for taking a moment in your fourth and final (so far) game to pause the action for some domestic downtime, and immediately make me incredibly anxious about my home life, and lack of wherewithal to make a necessary next step. House swap, sometime? I'll beat your Crash Bandicoot score and you'll love it here... with the walls that are all at weird angles, the port at the end of the road, and the goddamn spiders. And the smell but, when you have kids, you'll get it. (And yeah, I played it to the end, smartarse.)
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