Time Crisis

@clairelow challenged me to revisit my youth, Armageddon-style with items of:

The end of the world + Woden Plaza circa 1990s + a former Canberra Times journalist.

Black Screensnakepitpartial Masthead of CanberraTimes



Mr J Vedder

62 Blair Street

Chifley ACT 2605


Dear Mr Vedder

Thank you for your letter of 10 May 1994 regarding a recent power surge in the Woden area. I’m sorry to hear that the surge caused you such inconvenience, and prevented you achieving a high score on a video game, which you claim to have been playing at the time. Unfortunately, I can only apologise on behalf of CanberraPower. I do not believe there is anything we can do to restore your lost game or ensure you are able to defeat the computer, as you asked. I suggest you take this up with the business owner.

I do not wish to comment further on your suggestions about the consequences of you not achieving this high score. I assume many of your claims were meant in jest.  Nonetheless, I would urge you not to repeat your claim that there is some sort of telecommunications link between the Metro Video Games Arcade in Woden and the Pentagon in Washington. Others may not see the funny side of such a claim.

Yours sincerely

D Albarn

Customer Relations


Transcript of answering machine message. 12 May 1994. 4:02 pm

“Hey Jeremy, Matt here from Metro Games Arcade. I’m sorry about the power surge, but really was out of our hands. Time Crisis is a bitch of a game, and it sounds like you were going fully sick. I know it can feel like the end of the world when something like that happens. How about you come in on Friday night and I’ll sort you out with ten free credits so you can have another shot?”

Transcript of answering machine message. 15 May 1994. 9:05

“Hey Jeremy, Matt here from Metro Games Arcade. Dude, you have to chill the <beep> out. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get close to beating the Time Crisis game , but harassing my staff on the night was not cool. You won’t be welcomed back if you keep acting like this.

And dude, seriously, it will not be the end of the world if you don’t defeat the computer in Time Crisis.  I own a video games arcade business, and even I think you need to get a life.”

ASIO Australian Security Intelligence Organisation


Mr J Vedder

62 Blair Street


Dear Mr Vedder

Thank you for your letter of 20 May 1994 raising a number of matters.

On behalf of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, we ask that you cease allegations of a telecommunications link between a computer in the Washington area of the United States of America, and a video game in Woden, Canberra, Australia. I also have no comment to make regarding your imputation that the Callum Offices building, currently the home of the Canberra Institute of Technology,  was designed either for covert operations or alien experimentation.

We will enter into no further correspondence with you on this matter. If you continue publicly discussing such matters, we will consider criminal sanctions.

Yours sincerely

M Albright
Securities Officer
10 June 1994

Transcript of answering machine message. 1 September 1994. 11:05

“Jeremy, Matt here from Metro Games Arcade. Dude, you’re banned. Don’t come back. And for <beep> sake, stop watching that War Games movie. .”

Philip Ice Skating Rink Pty Ltd


62 Blair Street




Thanks for your note. Just confirming that we have no plans to renovate the ice rink. In fact, our plan is to keep it in exactly the state it is in now for decades to come. The small-town North American vibe is exactly the sort of ambience we’ve been aiming for, and I see no reason for us to ever change a thing about the place. It’s literally taken us years to make it feel like when you walk through our doors, you are on the set of a 1990s Canadian made-for-television movie.

If this helps you regain the ‘zen moment’ you had last year in that computer game, then I’m glad we can help.


Darren Hayes
3 April 1998


Building a better shopping experience for you


Mr Jeremy Vedder

Unit 4A

Oasis Street

Lyons ACT 2605


Dear Mr Vedder

Thank you for submission of 1 September 1999 to our community consultation process for the planned redevelopment of the Woden shopping precinct. At CentresUnited, we are committed to consulting with our customers and broader community about the best shopping experiences possible.

Notwithstanding your concerns, we believe that the planned redevelopment of the Woden precinct will lead to an enhanced shopping, leisure and commuting experience for all users of the area. As such, I cannot accede to your request that the Centre be retained in exactly its current state to assist you feel comfortable enough to win a video game.

I also have no information before me to support your claim that there is a telecommunications link from the premises of the Metro Games Arcade and international governments. I also take many of your claims to be figurative not literal.

Your threats of armageddon aside, I believe there are sound practical reasons why we should not proceed with your proposals. Firstly, you raise the so-called ‘snake pit’ seating area of the bus interchange. This area falls largely within the domain of the ACT Government, but I personally believe it was an eye sore and a haven for misbehaving teenagers and skateboard users. We would however support a different use for this area, and will petition the Government to remove the boards and replace the previous seating area with a more suitable public space.

Secondly, while I agree that the Canberra Tradesman’s club’s use of retired trams was a charming and whimsical addition to the Woden streetscape, I have no power to mandate their expanded use in other restaurants in the area. I also don’t support your assertion that former, broken down ACTION buses would provide the same ambience.

I, like you, enjoy a toob at many a social occasion. However, I have been unable to source a local supplier and so cannot accede to your request that large bowls of toobs be provided throughout the Centre.

Finally, I can’t agree to your request that ‘Ice Ice Baby’ be continuously played on loop through the Centre’s public address system, simply because this song was playing when you came close to defeating the arcade game you refer to.

Kind Regards

P Smythe
Centre Management

Transcript of answering machine message. 1 September 2000. 1:05 pm

“Hey Jeremy. Daniel Johns here from Video Game Hut in Newcastle. Yep, I’ve got the Time Crisis game you were looking for. In fact I think I’ve found exactly the same machine that was in Woden. Your name is still on the high score list. We can probably lease or sell it to you, but we generally don’t go direct to members of the public. And sorry mate, I can’t do anything about the metro arcade in Woden closing. They were a good client, but I can’t force them to reopen and I can’t help you trespass on their old premises to put the game back where it was. You can play it just fine at home, there’s nothing special about the arcade.

Let me know if you want the game.


Oh, and by the way, you were right about that Ethernet port. Not sure why the machine shipped with that. Never seen one like that before. I got it from the U.S, so who knows what that was about. Maybe some sort of future networking of games.”

ACT Municipal Services

Sewerage, Rubbish, Wildlife….we’ve got it covered so it doesn’t cover you.


Mr Jeremy Vedder

Unit 4A

Carnell Street

Lyons ACT 2605


Hi Jeremy

Thanks for your email regarding the ‘snake pit’ at the Woden Interchange and other matters. Your positive feedback regarding the 2001 restoration work of Nick Summer’s wonderful mural is very much appreciated, and I have forwarded your comments onto Nick, Bernadette, Wang and the organisations that participated in the restoration including Woden Youth Centre, Woden Senior Citizens, Nindetrana Aboriginal Art Mob, Action buses, Woden Community Centre, Woden Community Services Inc and ourselves.

I agree with you, it is indeed wonderful to have the ‘snakepit’ back. I’m not sure I agree with your suggestion that this takes one stroke further away from the midnight clock, or that further restoration of ‘1990s Woden’ is needed to avert disaster, but thank you for that information.

Bob Hosking

ACT Municipal Services

1 July 2002

Transcript of answering machine message. 2 March 2003. 2:02 pm.

Hi Jeremy, Alanis here from the Times. Thanks for your earlier call and sorry I missed you. I’ve got some sympathy with the arguments you made. I too long for a return to the old Woden. Unfortunately though, I’ve spoken to my editor and he doesn’t think it will make a very good yarn. He’s conscious of our older audience not liking many things about the old place, including the snakepit.

Still, you got me thinking, and as a result of your call, I’m wearing my old flannelette shirt around my waist at work today. Good luck with it Jeremy.

Transcript of answering machine message. 2 March 2003. 2:02 pm.

Sorry Jeremy, Alanis again. Meant to say, I wouldn’t repeat those things you said to me about the changes to Woden meaning the end of the world. Not sure everyone would understand you like I did.

Take care.

From: mbroderick
Sent: Friday, 30 August 2004 1:09 PM
To: jvedder@sizzler.com.au


Don’t know how you got my email address, but leave me the hell alone. I’m not going to reopen the metro arcade, and I’m certainly not going to do it because of your crazy idea that otherwise nuclear war will commence in ten years.

Don’t write to me again!


From: gbusey@centresunited.com.au
Sent: Friday, 30 August 2004 1:09 PM
To: jvedder@gamesgamesgames.com.au
Subject: Re: 90s Woden must be RETURNED!

Hi Jeremy

Thanks for your email. I’ll start with the positives first, what little I could find in your message. Glad you liked that we reopened the snakepit. I’m sorry the mural has faded a little bit over time. Unfortunately, I don’t support your suggestion that mural again undergo a restoration process.

As for the other matters you raised, I really need to reiterate the comments I made on the phone. Your threats of violence aside, albeit violence apparently delivered by a foreign government inadvertently, I don’t agree with your ideas about the future of the Woden shopping precinct. At CentresUnited we are extremely proud of the enhancements we have made to the Centre, and have no plans to return it to its former 1990s accommodation. In particular, I must categorically rule out the following which you claim to need to prevent a nuclear war:

  • A return of the computer games arcade to the snakepit area, complete with the original version of the Time Crisis game connected in its 1994 configuration;
  • Changing the Centre’s name permanently to ‘Woden Plaza’ and installing a 30-metre high neon sign at the front of the building reflecting this;
  • The reinstallation of the Cosmopolitan Twin Cinemas complex
  • A new bowling alley being built in the precinct, as an exact replica of the former AMF bowling alley.

I’m sorry Jeremy, I don’t think there is more we can say on this subject. Please stop calling and emailing.


G Busey





Mr Jeremy Vedder

Last known address

Unit 4A

Carnell Street

Lyons ACT 2605


Dear Mr Vedder

Psychiatric Treatment Order

I am writing to inform you that a hearing of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will be held on Wednesday 28 November 2007 regarding an application from the Chief Psychiatrist for you to be subject to a psychiatric treatment order.

This is the last known address we have on file for you. I strongly encourage you to attend, as an order can be made in your absence.

Yours sincerely

Brad Clyde


Transcript of answering machine message. 15 March 2009. 4:00 pm.

Jeremy, it’s Alanis, you’ve got to stop calling me. I’m not getting on well with my editor as it is. If you keep calling and visiting, I’m going to have to get the police involved. Thanks for sending through the mix tape, but I don’t own a cassette player any more.

<pause, only breathing is heard.>

I think you need to move on from this 1990s obsession. Threatening to blow up the cinema if they showed the new Star Wars movies wasn’t a good idea, particularly while dressed in a storm trooper outfit. I don’t actually think Cosmop0litan was as good as you remember it.

I know you believe it Jeremy, but you’ve got to get past this idea that Time Crisis was somehow connected to a pentagon computer in 1994 and as a result of you losing the game the computer began a twenty-year long sequence to commence nuclear war. For one thing, it is a total rip off of that War Games movie, and just too farfetched for a Canberra audience to buy.

Bye Jeremy.

Jeremy Vedder

Adult Inpatient Unit




I’m sorry I couldn’t see you today. I really wanted to speak to you about what is happening. The news was full of a Wikileaks story, saying some of the things you’ve been talking about all these years . Some worldwide network of pentagon computers, disguised as arcade machines, that were supposed to be spying on us, but went rogue.

I’m afraid there is nothing else we can do.

I hope you’re ok, and I’m sorry I doubted you.


From: Alanis Morissette
Sent: Friday, 2 May 2014 7:09 PM
Subject: The End

Hi Jeremy

I hope this message finds you, wherever you are at this time. I wonder if the Internet will still work by the time I click send. I can’t believe we’ve come to the end of the road.

I resigned from my job at the paper last week. Not much good it will do now. But I resigned because of you. You were right, we all should have listened. All the things you believed were true. I’m still amazed that a computer sequence began in a Woden video games arcade twenty years ago is going to result in the delivery of nuclear weapons all over the planet.

Still, there is no denying it now. The news says the bomb will land here in the next hour. .

If only they’d rigged that game up for you to have one final crack at defeating it. I reckon you could have done it. I would have been there singing ‘Can’t Touch This’ if it would have helped.

I’m taking some solace in the sound of Kris Kross on my stereo, as I bounce around my living room wearing my slouch jeans around the wrong way. I’ve managed to time my bouncing to be in time with the noise of looting around me.  I know it’s too late to do anything about what is happening, but I’d forgotten how much I liked the music.

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the 90s.

Good luck Jeremy, wherever you are, and I’m sorry. We’re all so sorry now.



4 thoughts on “Time Crisis”

  1. This is a work of fiction and the corporations, government agencies, newspapers and other entities mentioned all use deliberately fictitious names. However, the names referenced regarding the snakepit mural and restoration are taken from the dedication pictured above, still visible on the mural today.

    1. Awesome job Yarner!! I recall days of hanging around the Snakepit doing lots of things I shouldn’t. Bring back the 90s!

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