Category Archives: Silly Video Game Inspired Fiction

Run It in Recovery Mode

Electricity surged through the cold, steel fence and emitted a faint bluish hue. My plan was to hop over said fence, but first I had to cut the power source feeding the fence’s deadly defenses. With the power cut, my character jumped but didn’t get far. I heard a zap sound and the brightness on the screen blinded me for several seconds. My character’s limp body fell to the ground with a thud. He was gone.

I slammed my controller on the coffee table in front of me, and it shook my beer. I watched in horror as the bottle tipped over and spilled its golden liquid all over my console. As a result of the spill, my console started to fry and then smoke billowed out of the top. The screen began to wobble, the picture quality was out of focus and looking at the video game made me feel dizzy as if I was wearing beer goggles.  I sat there, on the couch, and my only thought was, “What is going to happen to the machine?” My face started to turn red and sweat poured down my cheek as I ruminated on this question. To counteract the heat, I poured some of the cold beer on my face and slapped my cheek. I shook my head until it hurt and my eyes opened wide. I could see the light: I knew what I must do to fix the machine.

I “ran” to the back of the console, which was only three feet in front of me, and bruised my knee after nearly tripping over the coffee table. I saw a shiny, red button covered by a glass case on the back of the console. There was white text scribbled on the glass that read, “Run in Recovery Mode.” The glass cover, I noticed, seemed to have a tractor beam: it pulled the index finger on my left hand closer and closer. Yet I had no idea what would happen if I tapped this button.

I stretched out my right hand, intercepted my index finger and pushed it away from its glass-cover trajectory. However, my index finger broke free and continued its initial flight path toward the cover, inching closer and closer to its mysterious target. With my free right hand, I splashed more cold beer on my face and took a swig of the bottle’s final droplets; this steadied my shaking legs. By now, my finger had made contact with the glass. In a flash, I flipped open the cover and tapped the button. Now I had done it.

As I stood in front of the console, I felt what I can only describe as part of myself “breaking away”. I turned around and saw a ghostly version of myself, featuring a pale blue and fuzzy white aura, as it walked in reverse until it both reached and sat down on the couch. The aura’s appearance reminded me of something like the quality one would get from a VHS tape. I looked straight ahead to see the smoke fly back into the console; the beer bottle stand at attention, with its contents refilled; and the sounds of button tapping as the controller flew back into my hands. That’s when things got weird.

Both versions of myself melded together again, then I shot through the ceiling and propelled out of this universe. I flew so fast past countless sparkly planets and nebulae that my head was spinning like a vinyl record. After traveling this way for some time, I stopped seeing planets and only saw bright neon colors and strange abstract patterns. It was a bit like speeding down the Las Vegas strip at speeds that defied one’s imagination . Instead of crashing at a dead-end, I landed in what I can only describe as a soup or lava lamp. Blobs of red lava, against a turmeric hued yellow background, bounced around and gravitated up. I reached the top of whatever structure was holding me back and jumped for freedom. I was free — for the moment.

After jumping out of the structure, I lost all control and hurtled through earth’s atmosphere. The wind was rushing through my hair as I burst through collections of clouds. You know, I slept through the cloud stuff in science class, my head and body somewhere down on the ground, but I can confirm these things are not made of marshmallows. With only the clouds to slow me down and no parachute, I crashed through my roof and landed on my kitchen floor.

Several minute later, I blinked, my eyes opened and I found myself standing near the fridge with a cold beer in my hand. I glanced at the ceiling and saw no damage. I glanced at the console and saw it was in pristine shape. All I can say is think twice before you run recovery mode.

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To The Sources Themselves!

The story begins as I steeled myself to enter a cold, concrete archive.  The building itself was a grotesque accident of twisting and turning stuff, but that did not matter. I was there to retrieve the past, to recover sources thought lost and to write you a story. Before I opened the door to the past and entered the building, though, I put a bookmark in my diary and closed it. Then I took a deep breath and walked through the door.

“Greetings!”

An archivist sneaked up beside me, and her smile seemed to melt the icy concrete exterior and interior of the building. I smiled back, but the warm exchange didn’t last long. After I exhaled and rolled up my sleeves, a huge “claw” hovered into view, dangled above my head and then prepared to swoop in for the kill.

I thought I was about to be gored by the “claw” and suddenly recalled my pet fish, Mr. Fishy, from two years ago. I covered my eyes to avoid seeing the gory spectacle unfold. Then, just as quickly as I had spotted it, the “claw” swooped away in a different direction, slicing off the tiny tips of the hairs on my head along the way.  I wiped the sweat from my brow and stopped shaking.

“Whew! That was close! What is that thing anyway?”, I asked.

“It’s the Armed Book Retriever 2000,” said a different archivist who was working behind the information desk. She rolled her eyes as she replied to my question.

I watched as the “claw” backed up and beeped, like a forklift moving in reverse, then moved forward, lurched to the right, then beeped and move backwards again. It — at last — grabbed a book from the shelf only to drop it. The process of picking up the book began again.

“Couldn’t I just walk up to that stack and collect the book myself, and isn’t that machine’s claw grossly oversized to pick up tiny objects?”

“Sir,” the same archivist said, ” the Retriever 2000 is $6.50 an hour. Please stop asking so many questions and let the machine do its job in peace. It wants a safe and respectful workplace too, you know.”

At that moment, the “claw” turned around to face me for a moment and, as if it were raising an eyebrow, it lifted one of its two metal blades.

“N-n-never mind,” I said.

I backed away from the machine, and it carried on in its merry way. I decided I should do the same and carry on with my research.

I opened my diary to the bookmarked page, and landed on a quote I had highlighted, which read: “History is done in the footnotes.” The footnote to this insightful quote, yes there was one,  included a list of sources I had come to collect. I showed my diary to the archivist at the information desk and said, “Excuse me, ma’am, do you know where I can find these items.”

She glanced at my diary before saying, “Video games, huh? No one has seen or played those in a long time. They’re somewhere deep inside this place. Head down the stairs there all the way to the bottom. Keep going ’til you reach the rare technology section.”

“Ok, thanks,” I said. I muttered “I guess” under my breath.

I found myself walking down a rickety wooden staircase that wobbled every time I took a step. The steps also creaked like a squeaky, old door that someone was pushing open with all their might.

Snap!

My third step nearly killed me. My ankle almost twisted because my foot broke through part of the wood and got stuck for a minute. All of me could have fallen through the stairs, but I managed to break free and decided to skip a couple planks of wood.

“I’m okay!”

Crickets chirped. I turned around half expecting someone to come to my aid, but I guess they had stuck their noses in books. I did what little I could: I left a yellow sticky note near the hole in case someone else stumbled upon it.

When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I waddled past doors covered with cobwebs in search of the sources. The flickering torches on the brick walls did not offer enough light to illuminate my surroundings, and I bumped my head. I could already feel the resulting mountain range with my fingertips when a voice interrupted my self concern. It seemed to come from on high and provide hope in the darkness.

“How can I help you?”, asked a different archivist. I showed her my diary and she added, “Ah, yes, this way please, sir.”

I walked past several rooms as the archivist led me toward the sources. One room was full of crates, stacked to the top of ceiling, marked “Top Secret”.

“Hmmm that’s odd”, I thought to myself, as I raised an eyebrow.

Carrying on, I caught a glimpse of a crypt complete with a badly bandaged mummy sticking out of a sarcophagus. I turned away at first and kept walking. Then I shook my head and said, “Hey, wait a minute, what the hell was that? What exactly is going on here?”

I pointed at the crypt, and the archivist laughed before saying, “Oh, that’s just our Halloween decoration room. Please follow me.”

“Okay, if you say so,” I said.

We moved forward, smiling, without a care in the wide world. Suddenly a school of bats swarmed and flew over our heads.

“Alright,” I said,  “now this is getting weird. I mean…”

“Never mind, sir,” said the archivist, “we’re here.”

We entered a cavernous room with a large brown treasure chest in the center of it. I opened it and the glittering objects inside forced me to cover my eyes. I was so shocked at the discovery that I fell backwards and only caught myself by landing on my palms. When I stumbled back to my feet, I rubbed the dust off my palms and noticed a bunch of video games had tumbled out of the chest. I saw Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Metroid.

The archivist said, “No one has played these games for years. I’m not sure the technology even exists to run them. Sir, I don’t envy the difficult work you have ahead of you, playing all these games. There’s so many.”

“I don’t care; I’ll find a way to make it work. It may not be a pretty job, but it’s my task to make the past alive. By golly, if I have to, I’ll stay up all week to play these games. Nothing can stop me.”

“What about the writing?”, she asked.

“Oh yeah,” I said, “that too.”

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I Angered the Video Game Gods

I stared out the window as the sky’s tears fell to the ground. These droplets also ran down the pane of glass, and for a second, I thought I was crying, as if I lacked an awareness of my own feelings. I a took a closer look at myself and realized I was crying on the inside; the droplets were tears of boredom (the ugly cousin of tears of joy). My depressing thoughts pushed me to inhale a toxic cloud of cigarette smoke before I butted out in an ash tray and dragged myself to the couch to play video games. What happened next, minus the cigarette part because I do not smoke, is a true story. I swear.

***

I booted up a cart racer and proceeded to zip past fools, leaving them dizzy, dazed and confused. Some sore loser, though, decided to ruin my fun. The sore loser was in last place and could not handle breathing in my exhaust fumes. He decided to thwart my plans for victory. He somehow managed to creep up on me and get very close, and I saw his username was SonofCronus99. “Huh,” I thought, “That’s a weird name. I wonder who that could be.” Before I could think any further, SonofCronus99 zapped my cart with a massive lightning bolt that blinded as it emerged from behind a cloud in the heavens. My cart flipped over and landed with so much force that it flattened on the ground, like a pancake. Frustrated at this race-ending disaster, I ejected the disc and slammed it back in the case because, although I was irate, I still like to keep my games in their proper boxes.

I then turned on a different console and started playing a Smash Bros. game. Things were going well enough: my opponents were not destroying me, but I wasn’t winning every match either. I was about to win a match when a Pikachu, this one named “The Big Z”, electrocuted me with a thunderbolt attack. I went flying off the stage and landed somewhere in oblivion. This sudden defeat caused steam to shoot out my ears, so I dashed outside and into the rain to alleviate my pain. In fact, the water cooled off my hot head.

I was now feeling better until there came a roar from above and a golden lightning bolt hit me faster than I could blink.  Zap! The ground beneath me shook so hard that it seemed like an earthquake was happening, and there was a massive crater beneath my feet.  Although I smelled like burnt toast and looked like it too, I was able to rest on my knees and shake my fist at the sky.

“Hey, that’s not fair! I wasn’t even playing video games that last time.”

Zeus did not care.

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You Learn by Playing

The stairs told a story about the family living there with each creaky step that Sandra took. The staircase could fill volumes with details about its occupying family’s life. It saw laughter strong enough to hurt one’s sides, as well as tears of sorrow and joy. Each step Sandra took was deliberate and firm enough to startle a nearby centipede, which scurried into a corner before disappearing. Her steps were firm enough that any person, not just insects, should have been aware of her approach, yet Ryan hadn’t noticed.

Sandra reached the top of the stairs when, from across the hallway, a hot, white light almost seared her eyes. The light came from behind a crack in a nearby door. Though squinting, Sandra relied on the light to guide her on the path to the door. Meanwhile, flickering images from somewhere behind the door cast ten-foot-tall shadows with giant jaws and towering teeth. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw these monstrous images and got giant goosebumps, but she pressed forward, focusing on the door. She took a deep breath, pulled the door knob, covered her eyes for a moment and entered the room.

She smelled funky gym socks, heard strange sounds that sounded like explosions, saw a dusty calculator and several dog-eared paperbacks of Plato’s dialogues. Then she looked deep into the source of the white light: it was a T.V.., and Ryan was playing video games.

“Ok dinner’s ready in ten,” she said. “Hey, wait a minute. Aren’t you supposed to be studying?”

Ryan said, “Uh, well, I was talking to this really old guy named Socrates, and I realized all I know is how little I know. So I decided, as a starting point, to learn more about my video games.”

Sandra tilted her head, raised her eyebrow and rubbed her chin in response to Ryan’s comment.

“Well,” she said, “that’s fine as long as it came from Socrates. You can keep playing before dinner and some more afterwards.”

Then she walked out the door with a smirk on her face. When she had closed the door behind her, Ryan snickered to himself.

“Pfft! She thinks I actually talked to a dead ancient Greek dude.”

Meanwhile, as Sandra closed the door behind her, she laughed to herself.

“Haha he actually thinks I bought his story about speaking to Socrates. But I’m glad he’s reading.”

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The Video Game That Doesn’t Know Itself

The little video game sat alone on the mahogany shelf. The weight of its own existence felt like a boulder slung across it’s top corners. The weight was multiplied because it never thought to leave its place on the shelf and wonder forwards — until now.

It stumbled during its first few steps as it wandered around the store, staring wide-eyed at the other games. It saw row after row of different genres, such as action, adventure, RPGs and more. It stared at others hoping they could help it better understand itself, for it couldn’t yet read the writing on its own cover that told it who it was. It could only make out a few fragments when it glanced inward.

The other games saw the little game wandering around and approached it. They could sense that it was ruminating on existence as they started to speak.

“Look, friend, you already know who you are. But allow us to make things clear.”

They spun the little video game around and placed it in front of a mirror.

“I see it all now. I know who I am,” it said.

“Where do you see yourself going from here?”, the other games asked.

“Why, I see myself staying here with all of you. This is where I belong.”

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The Case of the Haunted Controller

The floor creaked as the five gamers stepped on it. Outside, thunder cracked from on high and split tree trunks in half. Rats scurried into cobwebbed corners and chased after nonexistent food.

The five gamers wore poker faces, moving forward without scanning the surroundings. They reached a large, iron clad door that dwarfed them all, even if all five were stacked on top of each other. Sweat pouring down their face and palms, they slowly twisted the dust covered doorknob and opened the door. Most people would then see the massive couch staring them in the face as they entered the room, but the gamers were staring straight ahead at the TV screen.

They saw a controller on the couch, not spiders. They swooshed away the arachnids, booted up the console and sat down to play. They tapped the left joystick and the character moved right. They tapped the right joystick and the character moved left. They tapped up on the d-pad and the character moved down. They hit pause to calibrate the control settings when the controller developed a mind of its own. The joystick zipped by ten different submenus without end; it went all the way to the far right. If they tried to move left? The controller would simply plant it’s joysticks in the sand.

The gamers tried to unpause by hitting start, but the settings menu would only flash and re-appear before their incredulous eyes.

“Noooooo! It’s haunted!”

They ran past the spiders, through the door, over the creaky floor before rolling out of the nearest exit.

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A Scene from The Living Room

“Did you mop the floor yet?”

“Yes, Mom.”

Sandra glanced up from her paper, spectacles perched low on her nose, about to pass judgment like a learned jurist.

“Yes, that’ll do,” she said.

She stuck out her lips unnaturally after she said this, and fine lines appeared around her eyes. She was suppressing a large grin because she didn’t want to tell Billy the truth: the floor was clean enough to see her reflection on it. And she was none too pleased about the wrinkles she saw.

“Alright,” she said while wearing a poker face, “you can go play video games.”

Billy’s eyes lit up and, unlike his mom, a smile overtook his face. His smile was as impressive as a bright display of fireworks.

“Wait!” She raised her eyebrows and her round eyes grew as large as an owl’s. She had to ensure he deserved this game time.

“Did you also clean the living room?”

Billy, undaunted by this inquisition, wore his smile as he pushed open — and held — the swinging door to reveal the living room.

Sandra saw a veritable sultan’s tent: neatly arranged and colorful pillows, the smell of foreign and pleasant spices, and a large bowl full of grapes on the coffee table. The dam she had constructed around her mouth collapsed. Her smile burst forth and flooded the room with warmth.

“Ok Billy,” she said, “you can go play.”

Billy let go of the door and, in a flash, was already playing his game.

What happened next happened in an instant, but time seemed to slow down for Sandra. The swinging door swung back and forth four times before it closed. Each swing gave Sandra a different glimpse into the room’s fluid state.

The door swung back and forth the first time. She saw the living room pillows tossed around carelessly in some kind of a messy salad. The door swung back and forth a second time. She saw socks twirling around on the ceiling fan at hyper speed. The door swung back and forth a third time. She saw greasy pizza boxes littered the coffee table. The door swung back and forth a fourth time. The grapes were scattered on the floor and had turned into wine from constant stomping. The door finally closed.

Steam came out of Sandra’s ears, she clenched her fist and shook it in the air.

“Ugh! Video Games!”

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