I’m ashamed to admit this. I think the Three Stooges had more of an influence on my life than video games.
Category Archives: Video Game Misc.
“Hey Max,” said his mother, Kathy, “whatcha playin’?”
Max had his back turned to his mom. On screen, his character was firing a rocket launcher while dangling from the bottom of a hovering helicopter. The rockets whizzed and screeched out of the launcher and turned enemy choppers into massive fireballs.
“Huh?” he asked.
A couple of seconds later, Max’s character was touching the ground and was driving a Mercedes-like car. Kathy, still behind Max, sighed.
“Ah I hate this mission. I can never get there in time to drop the people off before the timer runs out,” said Max still staring at the screen.
Max could feel a pair of eyes, with laser-like focus, burning a hole in his back. He shot his mother a quick glance and saw she had folded her arms and was glowering at him. He put down the controller.
Max said, “Alright, alright I’ll go do it now. Sheesh! I never get any me time.”
When Max left, Kathy reached for the controller with a shaky hand. She stopped herself. First she looked left, right, under the couch. “Is anyone here?” she asked herself. After one could see all doubt was removed, she plopped herself down on the couch and started playing.
The current objective was to drive two kids to basketball practice on time. “Haha hmmm”, she thought, “well why not?”
She took off in the car, but the car lurched forward when she tried to stop at a red light.
A torrential downpour fell down her forehead because she saw a cop car on the opposite side of the intersection. Nothing happened. The cop car drove past. Kathy went on her merry way in the game world.
“Well that’s strange,” she thought as she sped up the car a little bit.
Kathy wiped the sweat from her brow and checked her left and right blind spots before she continued driving. She slumped down a little in her seat, as if she felt a little small for what she planned to do next, and she accelerated faster than any sane person would in this world.
She smiled when she heard no sirens and saw no kids. Kathy thought she could do whatever she wanted to accomplish her mission. After a while, she did not even see other people or drivers in the world. In fact, after a couple of minutes, she came to an intersection that only had tumbling tumbleweeds.
But as she revved her engines and slammed on the gas, a pedestrian rounded the corner, and she “bumped” into him. A slight delay on screen ensued between the bump and the pedestrian falling over.
Kathy put her hand over mouth and muttered something inaudible.
And she spoke up, “Oh dear, oh I’m so, so sorry!”, she said. She had her character roll down the car window and searched for a button to say something. All she could find was a button that made the character taunt the pedestrian with rude thrusting gestures.
“Oh no! This is even worse,” she said.
The pedestrian didn’t turn around. He just wiped the dirt off his shoulder and kept walking. No one stopped Kathy or said anything to her.
She moved her hand away from her mouth, and her demeanor changed. She thought, “Oh, what the hell; I’ll just keep going. No one seems to care in this world anyway.”
She smirked and lifted one corner of her mouth much higher than the other. She revved up her engine and was counting to three.
Suddenly, the expression on her face changed. She hit pause and put down the controller. Kathy pushed her hand under chin and lurched forward on the couch until she looked Rodin’s “The Thinker.”
“Wait!”, she thought, “should I be going faster? Should I keep doing this? How should I treat others and what am I even doing here?”
She concluded it was a good game, picked up the controller and kept playing.
“Oh dear, little Ricky is going to be late for glass blowing practice!”, Lucy said.
She locked Ricky into his seat. She flicked “the button” next: the car transformed, with the obligatory sound effects from the Transformers 80’s TV show, into a mobile fortress, or depending on your perspective, it transformed into a train that runs through a mad, mad, mad world.
Lucy zoomed through the first intersection and stopped at a red light, just as a yellow butterfly fluttered in the wind and landed like a gentle leaf on her windshield. Meanwhile, a helicopter hovered overhead, sending trash flying in all directions on the street. Five cop cars ducked, dived and dodged their way through lanes, their tires red hot, in pursuit of a rogue red car. The rogue red car swerved all over the road and tried to spray clips at the coppers behind it. Instead, the bullets riddled nearby buildings. Lucy stared straight ahead; her eyes hypnotized by the red stoplight.
When the light turned green, Lucy accelerated so fast that pedestrians’ heads were spinning as they craned their necks toward her car. Lucy zipped through three more intersections before she arrived at the glass blowing building. As she ran inside with Ricky, a tank rolled by, crunching cars and flattening trees. It was a typical night in Capital City.
Lights lit up Sam’s name with a rainbow of colors on the leaderboard. His pockets, adorned with hand-stitched dollars signs, were overflowing with gold coins. John and Mike, by contrast, were less talented gamers who could use some of Sam’s extra coins. The smell of Mike and John’s characters’ clothes sent digital rats scurrying, and the pixelated moths on the screen found their rags provided little to pillage. Mike and John extended their hands to beg for some spare gold coins, to help their characters reach a dignified level.
But Sam pushed past them; his haughty head held high, and his nose slightly upturned, though more than usual after his rhinoplasty. Sam figured there was no need to look out for the people below. Note: Sam had enough gold coins and experience to share but didn’t think about helping.
Sam’s focus had been on reaching the next level, on furthering “my” game, on increasing “my” experience and how he rose to the top by tightening his own bootstraps. But, as he sat on the edge of the leaderboard and towered over the world below, he begin to question himself and what he was doing. He started questioning after he looked to his right and looked to his left and saw no one. He sighed, clutching his heaving chest. “It’s not all a game that I need to win,” he thought, “there’s more to life than leaderboards and shiny coins.”
On Day 01, the developers created the sky and filled it with the rays from two suns. They tweaked the brightness until they could barely see white text on the black background. And the developers said it was decent.
On Day 02, the developers created a huge, blue ocean and spent some time perfecting the shimmering light on the rippling waves. They filled the sea with scaled creatures of every kind. And the developers thought that it looked okay.
On Day 03, the developers stayed up past midnight to create the land. They covered it with mountains, ridges, bridges, golf courses, and yes, sand traps. And the developers saw that it was good.
On Day 04, the developers implemented their dynamic lighting and music engine. And, while bopping their heads, they said the game both sounded and looked great.
On Day 05, the developers filled the land with medpacks, explosive barrels and vehicles that could fly, cruise and traverse any terrain. And they saw that this was cool.
On Day 06, the developers noted the land looked barren and lacked character, so they created the main character and his partner. And they saw that these people were excellent.
On Day 07, the sky fell, the planet shook and the uprooted trees went flying into the air. And the developers said, “Oh no! This is not good!” But they worked through the night to make things right.
“I think I lost It.”
Sam breathed so hard after mumbling these words as if his lungs were trying to escape his chest. Sweat poured down his face and left him glistening wet, as if he had walked through a rainstorm. He hunched over and rested his hands on his knees. He was desperate to catch his breath. Alas his breath was moving too fast for him to tackle it into submission, let alone to get a grip on it. Staying in his mind and considering his body’s feelings were luxuries he could ill afford.
The wall next to him crumbled like a cookie, except no delicious chocolate chips fell to the ground for him to scoop up and savour. Sam ignored this event and bolted straight forward, forgetting what his body and brain were telling him; he left those thoughts and feelings in the dust he had created with his feet.
Behind Sam, he could hear It. The sound was a constant rolling rumble, like a rusty wheel on an old cart that a beleaguered donkey was pulling. A citrus smell, especially of oranges, pervaded the area around him. The rumble become louder and louder.
Munch! Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw It devour the wall to his right and burst through the rest of the blue concrete. Sam had fallen to the ground, he stared at It with his mouth open and his eyes wide. He tried to cover his eyes with his arm but could not stop looking at It. As It crunched and digested the wall, Sam’s stomach churned with disgust, he was able to look away and focus on moving forward.
But he had already memorized the look of It. It had one large eye in the center, and a giant mouth, which never shut, took up one-quarter of the body. It’s mouth was always ready to eat everything in It’s path, including the red cherries Sam had dropped from his pocket. It was a giant, thin disc and one side was shiny silver. The other side was purple and had some white text scribbled on it.
But Sam never saw the text: he shot forward as if a cannon had fired him. He turned left. Then he turned right around a corner. Then he turned right five more times. He was not going the right way and had made no progress; his head spinned because he ended up where he began. He decided to let his heart guide him. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and made one more right turn. A huge smile overtook his face when he saw the exit, but he tripped and stumbled to the ground.
He heard It again making a strange bleep and bloop sound effect as It flapped It’s yap. It rounded the corner, rolling forward, and locked on to Sam. He covered his eyes with his hands as the mouth moved closer and closer.
Sam sat bolt upright so fast that his neck almost snapped; things began falling off of his body as he did so. He was sweaty, his eyes were wide, and he searched around the room as he breathed loud enough to waken the neighbours from their slumber. He hopped to his feet and shook himself like a wet dog, and as if insects had covered him, he rubbed his arms and legs to get rid of any clinging critters. Soon his breath slowed down, and his vision became clear as if someone had put clean glasses on his eyes, as opposed to the beer goggles that he wore when he first rose to his feet.
His improved vision made it clear he had shaken off video game discs. They had covered his eyes, head, mouth, legs, torso, arms and heart. Free from this burden, he walked towards a door, he could already see something bright appearing through the cracks, and opened it. He walked outside to a place covered with light.
[I started texting Gordon Freeman to “catch up.” I’ve decided to be polite and not share his number or address on my blog.]
Me (April 2, 2009 3:10 pm): Gordo! How ya been, buddy!? It’s your ol’ pal, Adam. I haven’t heard a peep from you in years.
Me (April 2, 2009 3:11 pm): Hey, it’s been a minute since I sent my message. Did you get it?
Me (April 2, 2009 3:12 pm): Cause I’m still here… It’s cool though. I can wait.
Me (April 2, 2009 3:14 pm): Hey man, jus checkin’ if you got my three other messages. I can re-send them if you didn’t. Let me know.
Me (May 1, 2009 12:09 pm): Can I at least come by to play games?
Me (June 19, 2009 2 pm): Alright, it’s been a while, and I won’t lie: I was hoping to talk to you about something I’ve been looking forward to.
Me (August 13, 2009 11:00 am): I can’t believe you’d give an old friend the cold shoulder like this!
Me (December 7, 2009 10:26 am): You got some nerve ignoring me after all these years! And after all we fought through together? All I’m looking for is one thing. You know what I want.
Me (December 26, 2009 1 pm): Screw you, Gordon!
Me (March 22, 2010 6 pm): I’m so sorry for what I said to you in the supermarket the other day. I should have put the pineapple down and stopped screaming. You were so stoic in the face of my sojourn from sanity. I didn’t mean any of it. I wish I could take it back. I hope you’ll forgive me.
Me (March 22, 2010 12:30 am): I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately. I haven’t been myself. I got a lot on my mind and a lot I’m looking forward to.
Me (November 19, 2010 8 pm): Did you get the present I left you on your front doorstep? I’m not expecting anything for myself but I got another surprise for you… we’re neighbours now! 😀
Me (February 27, 2011 10 pm): Gordon, you hard at work on smthg?
Me (February 28, 2011 12:15 am): Got any new projects to announce?
Me (February 28, 2011 3:06 am): Please, Gordon, I’m dyin’ here, man! You got any leads for ol’ Adam?
Me (February 28, 2011 4:32 am): Okay, okay. I’ll give you 1 mill for some news about HL3. You know I’m good for it. So please tell me! And I won’t tell a soul.
Me (February 28, 2011 5:13 am): I’ll take ANYTHING man!!! Come on!!!!!
[Message from Cell Service Provider:] Click to view a report about the last message you wrote.
[My internal monologue at 5:15 am: What’s this? I knew you couldn’t stay mad at me! I knew you’d respond.]
[Message from Cell Service Provider:] The previous message to G. Freeman could not be delivered.
[My internal monologue at 5:17 am: Well, at least I didn’t embarrass myself.]
Me (February 29, 2011 7:03 pm): I was such a fool last night. I’m better than that.
Me (March 1, 2011 2 pm): I’m so sorry for my behaviour the other day. I lost it again. I think it’s best for both of us if I disappear for a while.
Me (October 1, 2017 4:16 pm): I’m much better and care free now! Thanks for asking.
Me (January 1, 2018 2:12 pm): Oh, I see what you’re doing ;). You’re playing that old game where you pretend not to know me. Well, two can play that.
Me (February 7, 2018 6 pm): … ???
Me (August 9, 2018 7:08 pm): You’re really good at this game, Gordon. You can give it up at any time now!
Me (April 8, 2019 5 pm): It’s my bday today! 😀 Any updates? 😉