Category Archives: Video Game Technology

The Transmission of the Tradition

“I’ve done it, Susanne! It was a Herculean effort on my part, but I’ve done it.”

Anton’s tears were the only liquid that had cleaned his desk for months. While he worked on this project, some of his fingers were bloodied because, for hours on he end, he had scraped them against shiny, sharp steel microprocessors. Sweat poured down his face as if he had a fever or as if he was delirious with excitement.

The wall clock seemed  to tick tock forever before Susanne raised an eyebrow. Then one of her eyes locked on to Anton. The second was still glued to her newspaper. Anton never understood how she could do that, especially with all the excitement in the room.

“What’s going on?”, she asked after shrugging her shoulders.

Anton held his baby in his hands and stared at it lovingly.

“I didn’t tell you why this project took so long. Did I?”

Suzanne sat there stone-faced, like a statue from Easter Island. She opened her mouth to speak, but Anton interrupted.

“Well, since you asked, it was a real challenge because the technology didn’t exist, so I had to invent it first. Now I hold here, in my mortal hands, a storage device with every video game ever made on it. Future generations will forever be able to partake in this art.”

“Great,” said Susanne, “How do you get them off there to play?”

“Well, you see, it’s not that simple…” Anton’s forehead started to wrinkle. “You start by…” His eyes became downcast and he bit his lip. “Noooooooooooooooo!”

Anton pulled out a clump of his hair and fell to his knees, sobbing.

Susanne sighed. Then went back to her paper.

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How to Fix a Broken Game

I bought a game the other day that was buggy. I don’t mean insects infested it, though there were some of these critters featured on the disc’s artwork. I mean some of the non-playable characters’ faces melted off — in a Raiders of the Lost Arkesque way — during normal conversations. I wish that was the only bug. I  also had a problem where diminutive elves looked like towering giants and towering giants looked like diminutive elves. It was madness! How could anyone release a game plagued by such problems?

I thought I could fix the game’s problems by myself. I took hours of coding classes. I took so many classes and studied so hard that I no longer saw 1 and 0’s on the screen; instead, I heard beautiful music and saw wonderful stories unfolding on the screen. But I still couldn’t figure out how to fix the problems.

I though about writing a letter to the game developer to draw the problems to their attention, and have them use their skills to fix them. But I thought they wouldn’t listen to a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. I thought it would be better to rally others to my cause, so I started a petition to get the game banned. But I still wanted to play it and thought someone should fix it for the world to enjoy.

Then I realized how to fix the game. I picked up the cracked disc, taped it back together again, and it’s been working ever since. Thanks, Scotch Tape!

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A Massive World for You to Explore

There’s a massively multiplayer role-playing world-building game that you might have missed. You start off in this world with nothing and you are naked. Then you have to figure out how to make something of yourself.

You can figure this out partly alone and partly with the help of others. There is plenty of time explore the world on your own, but since you are a social creature, you will want to share your time with others. Get to know and love these people so that they become more than others, and ask them for help because you’ll need all the help you can get on your journey.

As you journey through the world, you will slowly progress from one level to another. Your experience will slowly ratchet up, and many years will pass before you reach level 99, if you make it that far. Along the way, you will laugh so hard that your sides will hurt, fail so hard that you’ll feel bruised and sore and cry several pool’s worth of tears.

But the good news is: this world and all these feelings, both positive and negative, is free to play. Indeed all the best things in this world are free. You might feel pressure to spend money on useless things, to “upgrade” your appearance and buy unnecessary accessories. Avoid this! All you need to do is open the door and walk outside.

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Seeing the Same Old Thing in a New Light

Touching the video game console sent a chill running up my arm and straight to my spine. It felt as cold as a short visit to Pluto would. I longed to thaw the block of ice on my hand and to feel warmth after touching the machine. Taking a closer look at the console, which I did to sate my curiosity, did not reverse the deep freeze effect it had on me.

I noticed the machine had a clinical appearance; it was spotless, shiny and clad in all white. It worked assiduously and seemed detached from everything around it. The console seemed to run all day as if it was plugged into an outlet that was keeping it alive and feeding it energy. The sight of some thing with all those wires in it made me cringe; it reminded me of my mortality and fears of death. Overall, the machine’s non-stop work and coldness stunned me.

Suddenly, a ray shone through a nearby stained glass window and helped me to see the machine in a new light. The ray was bright red. It stained my hand like some damned spot that would not wash away — no matter how hard I scrubbed it. The red light bathed the console, made it seem warm, and made the machine seem like it had blood flowing through its chips, circuits and plastic. I never looked at the console in the same light again. My vision and my thinking had forever changed.

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Luke Screenwalker Goes on an Epic Journey

Luke felt like going for a walk, but he was bored with the world around him and the blue sky above him. He decided, instead, to stare at his screen while walking. Here’s his story.

***

Luke walked passed two women who texted and talked, and he bumped into one of them hard enough to leave her sore for days. It was as if he thought himself a harmless bumper car that could hit others without causing damage. But he nearly caused her serious damage because he knocked her phone loose from the iron grip of her left hand. Fortunately for her, she had good enough reflexes to catch the delicate thing before it smashed into a thousand pieces of plastic.

“Ugh! Scuse you,”  she said.

“Whatever,” said Luke.

He crossed the street like a sleepwalking zombie who was completely unaware of his surroundings. Yet, he didn’t seem as scary as a zombie because he blended in with the pedestrian horde who were also glued to their devices as they crossed the street. Luke was the last in the crowd to finish crossing and, while ignoring that the pedestrian timer had run down, came within a hair’s length of becoming a hamburger. See, a cabbie pumped his breaks, his tires screeched like a banshee and passersby gasped at the close call. The cabbie put down the device he was holding with his left and horned Luke.

Honk! Honk!

“Hey buddy, you don’t get bonus points for nearly getting hit by me. Watch where you’re goin’, alright?”

“Hmm? Sorry, I’m in the middle of something important.”

Luke walked around the car and continued on his merry way as if nothing had happened.

Then Luke started adjusting his phone between landscape and portrait mode and, as if life imitated technology, he swerved back and forth while walking on the sidewalk. He then had a small fall off the curb, plopping his massive feet into a puddle. The water rose like a wave and splashed a cyclist who was zipping by in adjacent bike lane. The cyclist could barely see, swerved and nearly clipped Luke with his handle bar.

“The sidewalks are for walkin’, pal. Stay in your lane.!”

Luke looked up for a second, sensing someone was speaking to him, and said, “Can’t you see I got the game on here?”

At long last, Luke came to a quiet area without bikes, cars or any other visible person. The cars must have frozen somewhere up ahead at the nearest intersection because only tumbleweeds were visible. He was now free to walk defiantly down the street’s sidewalk while glued to his phone. He and his screen were alone until a door on a nearby side street swung open and a stranger emerged. The stranger accelerated down the sidewalk rapidly, as is her right, and nearly collided with the wild-walking Luke, who couldn’t stay in a straight line for more than two seconds. His erratic behaviour almost led them to share bloody noses.

“Hey, hero, get a life! I’m sure you got a high score, but put down your phone and keep your eyes off of that screen.”

Luke kept walking until he reached the end of the block before he stopped to process what had occurred.

“Huh,” he said, “what was that sound?”

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The Left and Right Side of the Console in Dialogue

Yesterday, I conducted live research on the left and right sides of my video game console. Allow me, dear reader, to make the obvious observation: I do not purport to be a clinical psychologist with years of experience. Furthermore, it’s nearly axiomatic that one should not snoop on another person’s conversations. However, I decided to make an exception for two reasons. First, I do not consider video game consoles to be “persons.” Second, I thought it would be fun.

***

“I’m the left side of the console. I enjoy processing massive amounts of data and turning it into bleeps, bloops and colourful images. I often sit here in the dark and have a dark mood to match.”

“I’m the right side. I like to take the colourful images and sounds that the left side creates and project them on the screen for you to enjoy. We can’t play video games without me!”

“Sure, you so all the work, right side.”

“Oh, brother, this again. You always ruin my good time.”

“Hey, righty, I asked you stop saying ‘always.’ You promised.”

“Yeah, you promised to say more positive things about me when we introduce ourselves to people.”

“Look, righty, I think we’re moving in different directions here. Why don’t we go run some video games together and forget this whole thing ever happened.”

“Sounds good.”

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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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