Greetings, readers. That you have taken the time to cast an eye over this burning missive is, in itself, impressive and I thank you for it. Today, we turn our attention to a problem I didn’t even know existed until now. I speak of what I have decided to call “late-onset phobia acquisition” or LOPA (if there’s an acronym, it’s legit) and I have it. I always thought you grew out of fears over time, not into them! But it seems I thought wrong.

Until recently, I would have described myself as “not arachnophobic in any real sense”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the little blighters, I’ve just never found them overly scary or creepy. Most times, I’ll catch an 8-legged freak if I find it in the house, and set it free in the front garden. An empty glass and a piece of paper is all I need to emancipate a huntsman or, heaven forbid, a white tail. No need for wholesale murder, just a relocation program, right?

That was all well and good until I started playing a new video game called “Grounded” recently. The game puts you in the shoes of a child who has been shrunk down to a microscopic size and who has to survive in the backyard of a suburban house. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not. Because when you’re not much taller than a grain of rice, backyard insects and spiders become a BIG problem, both literally and figuratively.

In this game, a ladybug is roughly the size of a Holden Barina. Ants are about as big as a great dane, and spiders? Don’t get me started. There are wolf spiders in this game that are absolutely f**king enormous. Think a minibus with legs and that’s roughly what we’re looking at here. They’re fast, they’re aggressive and they scare the absolute snot out of me.

I have yelped, I have screamed, I have dropped my controller in fright, all because a virtual spider is chasing me down on a TV screen. And it’s started to creep into the real world too. I had a run-in with a non-virtual white tail spider yesterday at my place and it wasn’t cool at all. I’m actually developing proper arachnophobia because of a video game, friends! How stupid is that?!!!


Think you’re cool with spiders? Give Grounded a go and see how long that stands-up.