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Wanna Play a Video Game?

Date: 3-Jan-2005/15:53+3:00

Tags: , , , ,

Characters: guy one, me, guy two, guy

I was fidgeting with a big plastic walkie talkie. By pressing it, it started ringing like a phone. This surprised me, and when someone answered it I hung up. It had an LCD display which started running through all kinds of numbers, as if it were scanning them. I tried to make out the name, it was something like "TOMEISUMANON".
Turning the device over, I made a bit of progress reading through the directions. Yet I was distracted when I noticed two guys watching me, seated in front of a nearby computer monitor.
guy one: (to guy two) "He's very sharp."
me: "Yes, I am."
I looked over their shoulder at the screen, and there was a little 3-D Einstein-looking character on it. As I moved, it moved. When I talked, its mouth moved with my mouth.
It looked vaguely like the Microsoft Office Assistant that looks like Einstein:
...who is named "The Genius".
me: "Oh, look, a little avatar-thing, how about that. And it moves when I move. Of course, it looks nothing like me, so that's lame."
As I watched, it got re-rendered as a new solid--in phases--as a monkey with a big head. It would still move when I moved.
Although it was a relatively cute cartoon monkey, like this:
...I still took it as an insult, and that they were suggesting I was monkey-like.
I refocused on being myself from my own point of view, turning my attention away from the thing on the monitor. Again I could see the guys who I decided were responsible for setting the avatars.
me: "You may be able to change things with a computer, but I change things with my mind."
I made his nose get very long so it hit the wall.
guy two: "I can change things too!"
He flattened the monkey head, which had no effect on me as I perceived myself as sitting elsewhere in the room and looking at him and the terminal. Done with our brief show of power, I was now alone with the first guy. He walked over to a stereo and turned it on.
guy: "It's perfectly tuned!"
Note I couldn't tell if he was trying to make some kind of audiophile point about music inside of a virtual reality, or being sarcastic...like the infamous "It goes to 11" from Spinal Tap.
Because the music was too loud and distracting, I turned it down and asked questions.
me: "Look, I need some grounding. Is this 3D or 4D? What's your conception of time--does that have meaning? If so, what's your reference point--what year is it? Tell me some things."
He turned the music back up. It was playing Phantom of the Opera, the part where the organ is going all nuts. I turned it down, and he turned it back up. Angered that he wasn't paying attention, I was tempted to knock his CDs around the room...but I decided to just examine them. They were still in cellophane.
me: "Look, it hurts my brain to do this, it's like having my eyes crossed. I don't have much time. Other than the wonders of a perfectly tuned stereo, what do you want to show me?"
He walked over to the corner and pulled out a small mechanical foosball table, and held it out to me--grinning.
guy: "Wanna play a video game?"
It was a cheap toy, like you'd buy in a toy store to put on a tabletop:
...with no electronic parts. I understood his joke to be that in a Matrix-like virtual reality, everything can be considered a "video game".
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The accounts written here are as true as I can manage. While the words are my own, they are not independent creative works of fiction —in any intentional way. Thus I do not consider the material to be protected by anything, other than that you'd have to be crazy to want to try and use it for genuine purposes (much less disingenuous ones!) But who's to say?