Tag Archives: writing

Bear in Mind

Mike’s eyes became wide as a full moon, and a chill ran down his spine. There was a massive bear squatting in his living room! Every time the bear moved an inch, priceless porcelain fell out of the cabinet and shattered into tiny pieces. The bear cared not. And Mike cared not how his mother would react to the porcelain shower on the floor.

Mike was more worried about the bear. The saying that hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn, Mike could now confirm, was patently false. Hell hath no fury, Mike thought, like a ravenous bear’s sharp teeth.

The hungry bear clawed at the couch Mike sat on and, in one swift stroke, sliced it in half. The bear bit into a pillow and shook it until the living room was blanketed by fluff. Then the bear moved in for the kill. Mike was the next target.

“Huh? No, stop! Ahhhh!”

Mike thrashed violently on the couch and covered his eyes. He opened them a moment later to notice the couch was once again whole. He took a deep breath and let out a tentative sigh. He was shocked.

“You were playing that hunting video game again, weren’t you?” said Sophia.

“No, I swear a bear was on a rampage in here. I swear. Please believe me.”

Mike seemed to have conveniently ignored that the room was in fine shape. The porcelain platters were fine. The pillow was stuffed.

Sophia considered the evidence against Mike. She saw a large, opened bag of Cheetos on the far end of the couch. As she dragged her eyes toward Mike, she noticed yellow crumbs on his chest. As she glanced at the floor, she saw a large orange hand imprint on a video game controller.

“The bear was here, and we better run before it comes back,” Mike said.

“Uh-huh—sure,” Sophia said, “I think it was just a bear in your mind.”

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Filed under Silly Video Game Inspired Fiction

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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Filed under Silly Video Game Inspired Fiction, Video Game Technology

Can You Breathe Life into the Old Machine?

The last generation console was called “Old Faithful” by everyone who knew it.

In days gone by, the machine could run all day long without tiring, without breaking a sweat.

There were signs of overheating, to be sure, but the temperature did not reach a feverish pitch.

Was the problem what the console consumed? No, it was fed a steady diet of simple, old school games known to be easy on the digestive system.

Now dust covers the console that once entertained everyone.

Its formerly black wires have become ashen; these are not the grey whiskers of wisdom.

As we ponder the machine’s future, it lies dormant in its own dust.

Will the old console run again?

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I Can’t Quit You, Game

I glued myself to the couch from the moment the images flickered on screen.

Outside night was starting to cover everything across the land. Inside, I felt like someone had locked me in a reinforced concrete bunker with a dying light petering through a crack in the wall. Note: that’s a fun reinforced concrete bunker. Or maybe some accident left me stuck in an elevator with no means of escape. Hmmm wait, no, it couldn’t be that one. That’s no fun.

The fun started after I picked up the controller. When I started playing, the clock “ding donged” three times. Then time flew by so fast that the hands fell off the clock and landed, as I later discovered, on the floor.

Suddenly, the rooster crowed and the light from outside blinded me.  One minute I picked up the controller at night and the next minute the sun pushed through the crack to light up everything around me. The shower and food that I needed yesterday had faded away from my memory. “How could that have happened?” I asked myself.

I guess it was because I wanted more, more of the same. Sure, it sounds like an awfully long time, but awful had nothing to do with it. For I was playing a video game.

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

My Friend is a Box

I pressed the button.

You came to life…

or you woke up from a deep sleep…

or a thawing-out from a summer hibernation caused by a lack of play.

Remember how there was nothing for you to do but sleep during those summer doldrums? But now…

Hot air and electricity flow through your veins (read: circuits).

A whirring noise, some clattering and stuttering meant you were getting to work.

It also meant a dust, built up for months while you sat there untouched, filled the room and clogged my nose and eyes.

The dust storm was a small price to pay: an image flickered on screen.

Time was dead.

We must have played for hours and hours without end before we both went to sleep.

Then I said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And all is well, all is right with the world now that I’ve had time to play.

I’m ready to be who I am, and I am at my best.

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Time Traveling to Play Video Games

Super Mario Bros is a good game because you get to save a princess.

Mario goes on a journey to save her. He jumps so much and picks up shiny coins. Jumping and collecting coins is fun. Jumping on bad guys is also fun.

Sometimes Mario jumps, falls and disappears. Where did he go? Do you know? I don’t. Tell me. Come on!

Then he comes back and everything is great. I get to play the game again.

It looks so good. There are flying turtles and mushrooms. I wonder if they taste good? Does Mario cook them?

You have to move forward to reach the end of the world. Fireballs burn. Run! Run! I hid in a pipe for a moment to escape them.

Then I found the princess because my big brother helped me. Mario loves her and saves her from a bad guy. Do they get married?

This game is fun if you like to jump.

P.S. Time for my nap.

By Adam age 10?

Anyway, to write this post, I channeled my inner child. When that didn’t work, I traveled back in time with a certain device to write with my childhood self.

Nah, I tried to imagine how the ten-year old me would write a post about video games. You read the result, but I have no memory of how I wrote as a child. It’s a guess.

Have you ever tried to write like your childhood self? Did you ever write anything about video games as a child? Are you willing to share and embarrass — maybe — yourself?

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The Death of Graphics in Video Games?

If you visit a video game site, you’ll be struck by all the beautiful high-definition videos and photos that capture life-like moments. Turn on the TV and game ads will hit you in the face with their large explosions. Walk down the street and . . . you get the picture.

One might think that these ubiquitous fancy graphics and explosions are what defines video games. But you could be forgiven, if you looked only at advertising, for thinking that.

In case you didn’t know, popular games can have simple graphics.

“But wait,” one might say, “you’re talking about games that were popular. You’re talking about the old school.”

Not quite.

I can think of at least two popular indie games that have simple graphics. By indie game I mean a game not produced by a large studio, without a traditional publisher, and it doesn’t look like its mainstream counterparts.

One example of an indie game with simple “graphics” is Zach and Tarn Adams’ Dwarf Fortress. In Dwarf Fortress, a player controls a group of dwarves who try to build — you guessed it — a fortress and survive.

Better yet, check out the pop cultural heavyweight Minecraft. Will you fight monsters or just hit things with a stick all day? Well, you can do both of those things and more in the pixellated world of Minecraft.

Would you believe that these two games are making plenty of money? Of course, everyone knows Minecraft is a success. Microsoft also seems to love it and paid $2.5 billion for it. In addition, The New York Times says Tarn Adams earned $50, 000 from Dwarf Fortress in 2010. That’s not bad.

The Next Big Game?

So we know indie games with simple graphics can do well.

But I wonder what the next major indie game will do to stand out from the rest. I mean, and I say this somewhat facetiously, can developers keep out-doing each other in simplicity?

This would be like a tech striptease where eventually there will be nothing left to strip. Just a black or white box will remain on the TV screen, and maybe a contemporary art museum will mount it on a wall.

But maybe there’s one way to stand out from other games with simple graphics. A developer could make an old school text adventure. You know, the ones were you see nothing but text on the screen. I mean, you can’t get much simpler than only having text.

Also, it would be nice to see a game that focuses primarily on telling a deep story. We all like a good story.

Now, I like games with gorgeous art work and graphics. You probably do too, and that’s why so many games have stunning graphics. But who knows for sure what the next major indie game will look — or read — like?

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Filed under Video Game Technology