I used to strut around town, thinking I knew everything about video games. Then I bumped into Socrates. He questioned me until I realized I knew almost nothing about games. Since then, I’ve committed to playing them nonstop, and I’ve learned so much!
The two henchmen were so small that they could barely reach the knob of their boss’s door. One had to hop on the other’s head and, while shaking, managed to knock on the door. The butler took two minutes to answer because he could not hear the tender tapping at first. The butler then ushered them into a room with a fireplace and a large chair, facing away from them, that cast a monstrous shadow over the henchmen. Their knees trembled, their fangs chattered and they turned white before they started stuttering.
“Argh! What do you want?”
The boss opened his massive jaw and blasted a huge fireball from behind the chair.
One of the henchmen scampered behind the other one. This hidden henchman, shaking, peered out from behind cover only to duck its head again after seeing the fire had not subsided.
“W-we came to give our report.”
“Did you take care of Mario and Luigi once and for all?”
“N-n-n no sir. They got away with all the coins.”
A second fireball, which dwarfed the first and seemed to go supernova, scorched the ceiling. For a second, the fireball also illuminated the mantelpiece above the fireplace — where a row of milky white skulls sat like ducks in a row. The fire dissipated, but a small puddle of liquid had already appeared behind the henchmen taking cover, who now steeled himself for an attack.
“Where are they now?”, the boss demanded.
“We don’t know.”
“Do you think you can find them?”
“We don’t know.”
“How many gold coins did they get away with?”
“We don’t know.”
From behind the chair, the boss let out a thunderous roar. It shook the china in the cabinet until it fell to the ground and shattered. Then he issued his decree:
“Come back when they’re dead. Then I shall have another trophy to place atop my fireplace.”
“Y-y-y yes boss!”
They trembled all the way as they walked towards the door and stumbled out into the night. Soon a lightbulb went off in one of the henchmen’s heads, and he shared his idea with his friend.
“Hey, wait a minute. We don’t have to do this or take that from him. I mean, we could just take the gold coins I stashed in my pocket and run.”
“I don’t know… You heard what he said. I don’t want to end up on his mantelpiece because we didn’t finish this.”
“Oh, come on. He can’t tell us henchmen apart, and if we don’t use these coins then Mario will probably just steal and waste them. Look at these coins: they’re practically begging for us to spend them.”
“Alright, but we better start running now and never look back.”
As they dashed away into the night, they dropped some glittering gold that showed everyone their path.
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.
“Hey Steve, I was playing this really great video game the other day. I slid down this pipe and entered a strange new world.”
“Yeah, yeah, I want to tell you about my day, man. I went to the market to get ripe tomatoes for my sauce, but can you believe they didn’t have any?! I wandered into the blazing heat, sweat pouring down my face until I nearly I drowned in it, to find provisions.”
“Ah-hem! Steve, can we please return to the subject? I was talking about games.”
“I searched five more stores but… Arrrgh!”
Suddenly — in mid-sentence — Steve started foaming at the mouth and fell over. He had babbled like a brook just fine, but the flow of words had increased and grown into a huge foamy, wave that crested and overpowered him.
“Oh, great! He’s barely conscious. I guess I’m alone with my thoughts again.”
“Hey Dad, check out all of these first person shooter games I bought at the store. I love these games so much; I can out shoot all the other players and dominate the map. I can hear them plotting against me through my headphones, but they always fail. I always win!”
“Uh huh. I see, son. I noticed you’ve got a bunch of video games set during historical wars.”
“Yeah, I’ll be knee-deep in the trenches, dodging shells, evading rats and saving the world with the good guys .”
His father let loose a billow of smoke from his pipe and stopped rocking his chair. He furrowed his brow and said, “Are you sure there are ‘good guys’ in war? Who or what are the ‘good guys’ And why should we go to war?”
The adolescent scratched his full head of hair. It was a contrast to the wispy, grey tangle on top of his father’s head.
“Huh? I guess you’ve left me something to think about, Dad. But, anyway, I’m going to play these games until my eyes are sore, and I can’t take anymore.”
The the clock seemed to spin in fast forward mode. The hands of time moved so fast that one could swear sparks were flying in the air. Then the adolescent emerged from his room once more. He appeared as pale and cold as a cup of cream straight from the fridge.
“How did the games go? Did you learn anything?”, asked Dad.
The adolescent was shaking but managed to gibber:
“I – I’ve seen some stuff, man. I went through WWI, WWII and Vietnam in ten hours. I want nothing to do with war — ever!”
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.
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.”