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EPISODE 9: TUTORIAL
SFX A CD-ROM is placed in a CD-ROM drive.
SFX Quid Pro Euro 96 launch music.
SFX Rain, sea, a steamer ship founders and is wrecked (on screen terrible 90s CG is doing a cold open to the game in 800x600 resolution).
SFX Deserted harbour atmos.
GUIDE: Would you like to start a new game? Press YES [SFX YES] or NO [SFX YES].
SFX Mouse Click + YES.
GUIDE: Would you like audio narration? Press YES if you would like audio narration or NO if you are happy reading the text.
SFX Mouse Click + YES.
GUIDE: Would you like to play the TUTORIAL?
SFX Mouse Click + YES.
SFX TRIUMPHAL MUSIC.
Europe! Birthplace of the Alps! Europe! If weekend breaks were a continent! Europe! Where little weekly markets roam free and graze on the Spanish scrub of the south, in the Finnish forests of the north, and all over the French massive central. Europe! So good, they named it Europe.
SFX Explanatory music.
The European Union loves to grow. Beginning with its founding members when the Benelux countries (that’s Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) joined with the Gerfrit group (that’s Germany, France and Italy), the European Union has since welcomed Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1973, Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986 and, last year, Austria, FInland and Sweden were all given the welcome hamper and new member complementary first six volumes of mattress flammability regulations. And soon, in the twenty-first century, the European Union will get a whole lot larger as it plans its biggest growth yet: that’s right, in 2004 expect the greatest house-swap ever when Ireland trades places for a year with Australia. [SFX Construction vehicles and waves]
SFX Downbeat music
However. These last twelve months, the European Union has not grown. In fact it’s shrunk. After the ceremony of ratification of the membership of Switzerland was thwarted by a helicopter full of octopuses, Swiss officials rallied against the European Union and, with the help of their not very exciting allies in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, launched a counter-offensive! [SFX Army marching through the streets, tanks rumbling] The tedious EFTA army may have the exuberant lust for life of an all night participle, but it has proved remarkably effective at powering through neighbouring areas of France, Germany and Italy with its boring soldiers and their trite tanks.
ATMOS Dusty cellar
So what’s the best way to beat this insipid insurgency? The best way is with a bit of flash. In the city formerly known as Lyon, now Lausanne-Ouest, someone is agitating a resistance.
[SFX footsteps] Who is this fellow, marching up and down in his light-up trainers, barking orders in a breaking voice, with the downy blonde tufts of a moustache dancing over his top lip. Is it Field Marshall Nils Van Hoet, the Dutch soldier so decorated he uses medals as spiky bullets? It’s not Field Marshall Nils Van Hoet, he died pinning a grenade to his chest. Is it Dr Josefine Larssen, the Danish Minister of Defence who never sleeps but perches at the highest point of Denmark (1m08) to keep watch over her people? It’s not Dr Josefine Larssen, she’s got gum on her shoe and is stuck in place. Is it… little him?
It’s little him! Little him is the undisputed leader of the ragged remains of the European Union, our beloved thirteen year old ruler, Silver Fox! [SFX Silver Fox theme] Silver Fox always had a soft spot for Switzerland but he’s learned his lesson. Now he tries his best to inspire confidence in the people who were overrun by Genevan commandos in a secret cellar under a brasserie. His tool to rev up the fighting spirit is a presentation he’s made consisting of a large piece of paper with photographs of soldiers cut out of an army gear magazine glued on and the word FIGHTING written at the top in brown felt tip. [SFX Paper, an adolescent cough] However, his would-be resistance fighters are tired and sad. [SFX Sigh] Each one sleeps in the cold underground room with nothing to wrap themselves in but a 2 metre baseball cap. If you don’t mind my saying, you’re going to need to find a little inner strength, Silver Fox.
Silver Fox pauses from reciting the dictionary definition of weapon and... what? [SFX evolving noise] Silver Fox is evolving! Silver Fox evolved into Silver Barracuda!
[SFX Silver Barracuda theme]
Silver Barracuda: a lithe twenty something whose bright white hair reaches to the ground, whose pupils are vertical like a snake, an action hero who can always find something to swing from, whose plastic body can be articulated in up to five positions!
What’s that feeling in the air? Could it be excitement?
The Action Leader swivels his arm up at the shoulder [SFX plastic twisting] to reach for a light fitting and swing from the ceiling. [SFX applause] The assembled fighters burst into applause as he dangles, including the ones who helped him up. Here is a general they can believe in, one with a changeable coat and an attachable rocket launcher, helicopter propellers or oxygen tank for Silver Barracuda’s SCUBA Safari! [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting] With Silver Barracuda leading the charge on his Silver Barracuda Camouflage Dirtbike [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting + dirtbike], the EFTA occupation will surely be given a bloody nose. This woman, inspired by Silver Barracuda’s Construction Vehicles With Real High Visibility Safety Jacket [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting + big engine reversing], picks up and crushes a fine example of Liechtenstein’s chief export (SCART cables). If the European Union is to stay true to its core values of Peace, Coal, Steel, and Silver Barracuda’s Let’s Have Guests Mansion With Movable Table and Chairs [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting], it must be ready to fight for them.
And guess what?
It is. [SFX Music crescendos and…]
Which leads me to you. Are you ready to fight? If you’re playing Quid Pro Euro 96, perhaps not.
[SFX Contemplative Music]
Quid Pro Euro 96 is a computer game. It was commissioned by Silver Barracuda wearing his Water Cooler Talk Pinstripe Suit and Detachable Coffee Mug [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting] to help train up those citizens of the European Union for whom reclaiming the occupied EFTA territories is not a priority. Citizens who can look at the twelve stars of Europe without crying in pride, or ones who don’t wake up every morning thinking about all the lovely triumphal arches, [SFX Haarlemmerpoort in Amsterdam] like this one in Haarlemplein.
What a very good arch.
As you play Quid Pro Euro 96, here’s what you won’t find. You won’t find a dreary text to read and learn, like that most boring video game, Tomb Reader. There will be no dry paragraphs explaining the value of patriotism. Silver Barracuda Real Learning Is Fun With Apple and Chalk! [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting] believes that real learning is fun, that it engages your natural curiosity!
[SFX Island noises]
Instead, you’ll find a mysterious island. As you explore and unwrap its secrets, you’ll learn all about the European Union without even realising you’re learning! If you see anything interesting, point at it with the mouse and click to find out more. Learn the story of Rachel, the woman from Fife who contracted Dream Flu, or Oliver from Aalborg who lost his faith and found it in an unexpected place, follow the incredible story of how a man made out of white tires became the foremost expert on restaurants, and even learn what will happen to you if you continue down this path, a path which eventually leads Outside Europe [SFX Outside Europe screams and distortion begin but are interrupted by: ] In full 600x800 resolution!
But why you? [SFX Journalist noises] If you’re playing this, you are a journalist, one who has been reporting dispassionately from the frontlines, filling our breakfast bowls with bad news as the EFTA armies claim one more coal fishery or one more peace garden. You are: bad news. Bad news for Europeans and bad news for yourself. The constant string of negative headlines takes a toll. But playing Quid Pro Euro 96 will help.
[SFX Explanatory brain music]
Here is your brain. The pre-frontal cortex, here, interprets the bad news first registered in your amygdala, here. [SFX A happy squishy noise of brain work] Look what happens when too many bad headlines pass between the two. [SFX Again but it's broken down halfway through] They have a corrosive effect on these synapses, muscling out necessary neurotransmitters with their acidic ideas. The pre-frontal cortex disconnects and now floats around the head. [SFX gentle bumping of a brain lobe against a skull] This one wandered down to the liver, bonded with it, and is working with nothing but a load of old bile. [SFX Sewage pump]
[SFX Listless walking]
That’s why you’ve been walking aimlessly through the country roads of what’s left of the European Union. Your eyes vacant and watery. Your shoulders rounded. Your back in pain. Look, here is somebody just like you, she’s walking past one of the latest European agriculture technological marvels: a goat with stripes. [SFX Bleat] Does she notice? She doesn’t.
[SFX Underground military operation]
Back in Lausanne-Ouest, the cellar beneath the defiant brasserie is being transformed by dozens of resistance cleaners. Tunnels are created to link the lower floors of brasseries, bistros and café-restaurants across the city. Collections of aged wine bottles are distributed among the insurgents. Another city grows underground. The best military minds talk tactics around long tables, the corridors hum with excited chatter and striplighting, the community grows together: some create the beginnings of industry, an alley of shops [SFX Shop bell], a dentist [SFX Bzzz], a doctor [SFX Cough], a falconry school [SFX Squawk], children are taken to the playground [SFX children playing], love affairs are quickly forged in the underground heat [SFX Giggles] and just as quickly finished [SFX Slap], courtrooms [SFX gavel], criminals [SFX prison bars], scientists [SFX SCIENCE!] and, above all, soldiers.
[SFX marching] They march in single file down the corridors, they sleep in hammocks and eat at the mess hall, and always at their head is the gleaming light of Silver Barracuda Underground Messiah With Glow In The Dark Head. [SFX Silver Barracuda Sting]
But what’s this? An empty hammock? A whole room of empty hammocks?
People are flocking from all over the European Union to help repel the humdrum EFTA forces. We want you to be one of them. Stop your column inch moaning! That could be your hammock. These could be your boots. This could be your wine. Wouldn’t it be nice, for the first time in your life, to have a purpose? To have a point?
Save the Union and Save Yourself. Begin by playing through Quid Pro Euro 96. All you have to do is: Start.
SFX We return to the Start Menu and fade out. Some lovely music over the top.
Credits: Quid Pro Euro 96 was a podcast written and narrated by Felix Trench. The producer was Zachary Fortais-Gomm. It was a European Videos production.