The summer of being eaten alive

I actually have been enjoying the cool/rainy weather we've been having here, since it's delayed the oppresive heat of summer for a few weeks. The downside, however, is the record mosquito population we will have to endure this summer (Washington was formerly swampland). The worst is when I'm bicycling up the W&OD trail and get bugs in my mouth; it's much harder trying to power a bicycle up a hill when you're also choking on mosquito carcasses.

Summer here in D.C... you know what it's like? Back in the day, little James used to play Atari 2600 all the time. I remember staying at a friend's house one night and popping in the Raiders of the Lost Ark game cartridge. Now, I was only seven or eight, so I had no idea how to play this game; I assumed that, like most other 2600 games (e.g. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong) that it would be fairly self-evident. Not so; it turns out that you're supposed to use both controllers to do stuff, even though it's just a one-player game, and that you're supposed to use the grenade to blow a hole in a wall, or something, to get past the first few rooms. Way too complicated for my seven-year-old mind.

So without this knowledge, you're pretty much stuck wandering between two rooms. There's the room you start in, from which you can move down. Then you apparently fall off a tall cliff, and into this swamp, which is really just a red screen with some green splotches:

The manual describes it thuslike:


The Valley of Poison is inhabited by the black-cloaked Thief who will try to steal your possessions and leave you defenseless. If you can shoot him before he leaves the screen, you'll get back whatever he snatched. If he gets away safely, however, he can trade your possessions for bullets. Once he has bullets for his revolver, watch out - he shoots to kill!

The Valley is also home to a swarm of tsetse flies. The flies will bite you and put you to sleep for 1 to 7 seconds. If the flies put you to sleep while the Thief is picking your pockets, you have no defense until the fly poison has worn off. You can run through the green bogs to escape the Thief, but the mud in the bogs slows you down to half speed.
So you can imagine seven-year-old me being frustrated by being unable to navigate Indy past this room, constantly being slowed down by green mud or those GOD DAMNED tsetse flies, and then having all my shit stolen by the thief, who would then shoot me. Ironically, 20 years later, this also accurately describes my summers in Washington.