Category Archives: Video Game Technology

Where the Video Game Consoles Roam Free

“As you can see, Mr. Pants, we’ve doubled down on making our business socially responsible.”

“I see. It’s very impressive. What’s going on at the corral down there?”

“Those are our free range consoles; we don’t keep them locked up in living rooms. They need fresh air and plenty of space to run properly.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yes siree, our consoles are all certified humane: we treat them with the greatest care.”

“What about the gamers?”

“That’s not part of our business model.”

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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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Welcome to the Firm of Console, Disc and Joystick

Hi Mr. Console, I was told I needed a “machine” that never tired of working for me, that whirred and gurgled without end.

Hi Adam, you’re in the right place. I’m a specialist in whirring and gurgling for hours on end, and sometimes I dabble in spinning discs.

Oh great! You do that too. When can we get started?

Oh, I’m sorry; I’ll have to refer you to my colleague Ms. Disc. Fortunately, she’s right across the hall.

Hi Ms. Disc, I heard…

Yes, I’m a spinning expert. Mr. Console and I work well together. Rest assured that you’re in good hands. However, in order to start, we need you to retain our partner Ms. Joystick.

Ms. Joystick popped her long, slender neck around the corner.

Adam, so nice to meet you. Now, we could go in any direction, but I suggest we move forward together.

Thank you all. I think I’ve assembled quite a team, and I’m eager to get started.

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Do Video Game Machines Get The Blues?

They are grey and cold to the touch.

They sit there expressionless all day.

Does that mean they do not feel anything, or just that they are not plugged in?

This much is true: when you touch them, they spark you.

And they light up when you get close and spend time with them.

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The Video Game That Was Never Unleashed

I found myself standing in front of a video game studio that had a secret. It was a warm, sunny day and the sky was care free, which contrasted with my furrowed brow and shaky hand. I was waiting to be ushered into Crazy Video Games Inc. to meet a killer. My blood ran cold at the mere thought of a paper cut, and here I was about to face a scary secret.

You might think some games are never released because they are left unfinished. But I went to this studio because I heard they had a game that posed a true public safety hazard. This sounded like a one-of-a-kind video game, a story no one had dared to uncover. With this visit to the studio, I hoped to change that.

The studio’s front door swung open and smiling faces greeted me. They seemed to smile so much that I wondered how their jaws did not crack. Their smiles distracted me but not did not disarm me, did not stop me from my fear of the unknown that could have been around any corner.

Suddenly the cubicles and smiling faces disappeared, and my studio guide and I entered a cold, rocky room. It was like a cave in the middle of this game studio. There was the constant, distant and discordant sound of dripping water in the background. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on guard.

After the cave, we descended into a giant warehouse-like area of the studio. Towering shelves, covered in dust, greedily consumed every ounce of real estate in this area. The tops of the shelves, as we passed them, seemed to stare deep into one’s soul, for at the top each had two large slits that looked like a pair of stern eyes. The contents of the shelves, though, did not seem worthy of security. They consisted of prototype consoles and forgotten games that never saw the light of day. These boring grey shelves and their dusty contents seemed to go on forever — until I heard something strange.

It started as a low-pitched groan, and then started to sound more like a bark. As we moved closer, I saw a video game that howled like a wolf, foamed at the case and revealed its terrifying fangs. If it hadn’t been chained to a shelf, it would have come sunk its fangs deep into my flesh. The sign above it, which labelled it “The Killer App,” confirmed this for me. Then the game stopped howling long enough for my guide to speak.

“Every once in a while,” he said, “we throw The Killer App a bone: we say we’ll release it soon. But we never will. The game will languish in here forever. Anyway, we hope you enjoyed your stay. Have a great day.”

My guide led me to a secret back door but not before I turned around to steal a final glance at The Killer App. As the door closed behind, me I could see its fangs gleaming in the darkness, and I knew it would forever haunt my dreams. I swore I would never return to this ghastly scene. I hoped The Killer App would never be unleashed.

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If My Human Calls

Joy the Joystick wore a permanent smile on her face when she helped others. She had always been an authentic Sorny Inc. controller: she longed to love humans, video games and consoles alike. Her secret for happiness and authenticity was to play video games and to get regular exercise.

Exercise, for her, consisted of regularly working and oiling her buttons to make sure they didn’t atrophy. She did this while playing hours of sports games. She calibrated herself well enough to belt fastballs out of the park at a major league rate. Most gamers would be lucky to have such a joyful and skillful controller in their lives.

Conrad the console, however, was everything that Joy was not. His rugged, square shape had rounded a little over the years. The kids from across street had borrowed him a few times and slipped him out of their sticky soda stained hands. He was quite fond of sitting around all day collecting dust. He had developed many vicious habits while sitting there, wondering about the meaningless of life. Conrad had gotten into such bad shape that it hurt when he played video games and when he did not. He just did not care what Jimmy, his human, did.

Jimmy was not the most thoughtful of humans. He would often eat cheesy nachos and rub his greasy hands all over his controller. He would sometimes leave Conrad running all day without reprieve. Jimmy’s friends often said he did not appreciate all of his video games and console. They thought he took Joy and Conrad for granted.

One day, the phone rang and Joy overheard a conversation between Jimmy and his mother. A smile burst out across Joy’s face as soon as the call ended. She had heard that Jimmy was coming home from a trip abroad.

“He can’t wait to play a new video game he bought! Isn’t that swell?,” Joy asked.

Conrad spit out his chewing tobacco, and the dark wad flew across the room before plopping into a flower pot. He downed a swig of whiskey to freshen his breath. Then he chomped into a cigar, filling the room with the incense of Cuba, to clear the heat out of his head. He let out a puff of greyish white smoke that matched the colour of his stubble.

“Meh,” Conrad said, “he can go play with himself.”

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A Video Game Cold War

Dave and the video game console were not seeing eye to eye. The two of them sat on opposite sides of the room. The console turned toward the wall and turned off. Dave, for his part, was staring out the window on a chilly day as a summer storm soaked passersby to the bone.

Dave felt the chill in his bones as he stared at the torrential downpour outside. He felt as if he might turn into a snowman, even though he hadn’t even turned on the air conditioning. The icy console didn’t help the matter, for it had no drive to play.

The console felt a chill deep within its circuits. It wasn’t playing video games, so it was wasting away without a purpose, showing advanced signs of aging. The machine’s colour faded to grey, not the shade associated with wisdom. No, this was the grey of decay and neglect. If only something could fire up the old console — maybe things would be better.

Dave sat in the apartment-turned-igloo, meditating on this coldness that was turning the walls blue. It surrounded him and the console. Suddenly, his meditating sparked an insight: he had to fix this deep chill before he turned numb. To do that, he had to turn on his video game console, play and find beauty in this world again.

Dave felt a spark as he reached to turn on the machine.

“Finally, I’ll get to play!” he thought to himself.

The console retorted, “I’m afraid I can’t do that Dave.” And it shut down his attempt.

“Ah to hell with this. I’m playing video games, nothing can stop me and the world will be better off because of it.”

“What do you think you’re doing?” the console demanded.

Dave flipped on the console’s switch. Then the console felt a fire within it that it hadn’t felt in a long time. It nearly overheated. Dave sat down to play, and a warm smile overtook his face. It was good to be back home.

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