You all know video games. If you don't, I can't help you. But I bet barely any of you know what video games are.
You see, video games are a manner of entertainment. For us to relax, and have a good time. But, of course, everyone has different tastes. You may like Pikmin, and your best friend may like Sonic. It doesn't matter. But, of course, not everyone can like the one video game. There is not a single video game where no person has said "I'm not fond of this", or something like that. Video games are unique in their own way, each one different from the other (excluding all the new Mario games). That's why I find awards for "greatest video game" stupid. Because there is no greatest. The only way a game would be the greatest is if it was always the way you wanted it, when you wanted it. It would have to be anything you want. So, allow me to tell you a story. And, for this story, we must be under the illusion that such a game CAN exist. Now, onwards.
AYW Video Journal #1Edit
Hello everyone! My name is Ashi. No, I'm not Japanese. My dad found it cool and my mum found it suited me. I'm constantly explaining that to people. But I'm going to tell you what happened to me about a half a year ago. Trust me... Hearing the story that changed my life may even change yours. Who knows. So I suggest you get comfortable, because this one's a big one. So... I think I'll start with saying that... I'm nothing special. I'm just your average bloke, who spends all of his time home or at the pub. But I did quite a bit of gaming too. I never actually realised how much until I pulled all my old junk down from the attic and realised I was just shy of 110 games. I also had quite a few consoles as well. So, I sold a lot of the stuff (even the broken games and consoles. Take that, GameStop!) and ended up with a lot of money. So, with this, I thought I would go buy that new Pokemon game. I think they ran out of colours or something, because now they're using letters. So, I found a nice place nearby that had it cheaper than at most places. Seemed pretty convenient. So, I went on down to the store, and immediately found the game I was looking for. I came up to the cashier. The following conversation went a bit like this:
Me: "I would like to buy this, please."
???: "Who doesn't, these days?"
Me: "Die-hard Christians."
???: "Hehe, that's a good one. What's your name?"
Me: "Ashi. And, don't ask. I'm not Japanese."
???: "Well, aren't you lucky that you have an uncommon name? I'm Greg. Yeah. Not kidding."
Me: "At least it's better than being asked if you're Asian every five seconds."
He then scanned the game and pressed a few buttons on his cash machine.
Greg: "Here you go. Have fun playing with chopsticks."
Me: "Fuck you too."
I then left the store. That place is nice, I come there often. After a while I got to be good friends with Greg. But... It wasn't until months later that this story gets kicked into gear. I'm sorry, but I haven't got much time left on this video recording. I'll tell you some more next time.
AYW Video Journal #2Edit
Right, so... I'll skip The intro and kick on from where we left off. Two months had passed since I met Greg. We became good mates. But good things never last, I'm afraid. After those two months, Greg began to act strange. I first noticed this when he came into the store with bags under his eyes and he was a little jittery. Although barely noticeable to most people, it was quite noticeable to me, because he always makes sure he's in good shape for work each morning. I was sure he just had a rough night. But after a while it got more severe. Every one else he talked to says the same. And eventually he'd start running away while I was talking to him. No, seriously. He'd say he was late for something, run away, and give a bad excuse the next days. And then there was this one time when he seemed almost insane. He was still acting like normal, but he was limping as though he hadn't used his legs in ages, shaking like a blender, etc.. And, after that, I did not see him. No one did. Not even at his house.
After about 3 days we sent out people to look for him. I thought the first thing I'd do is talk to one of his relatives. His parents were deceased, but he has good connections with his brother. I went over to his house to see him with his head in his hands, mumbling:
Greg's brother: "Ugh... What have I done...?"
Me: "Umm, are you ok?"
Greg's brother: "Yeah, I'm fine. So, let me guess. You're that Japanese guy I've heard about and you're looking for my brother."
Me: "I'm not-- ugh, fuck it, I won't even start. Just because my name is Ashi it doesn't mean I'm Asian. But, yeah, you're right about me looking for Greg."
Greg's brother: "Well, first of all I'm Geoff. Yes, we both just so happen to have very generic names that start with G. Our parents weren't particularly creative. But take a seat, I'll explain everything."
He sat down and began to explain what happened. He warned me it would sound crazy, but he said "I can show you my proof, later." Apparently, he was just sitting down watching the tele when Greg shows up, with a weird thing in one hand, and a gun in the other. He didn't even bother to look at the weird thing to see what it was, he was busy worrying about the firearm. He asked for him to take him away to an old, abandoned house. He also asked for his tele. Now, according to Geoff, he would have laughed it off if it weren't for the fact that Greg was absolutely insane. So, he complied, and came back to his house. All the while, he never once saw what the weird thing actually was. He said it was some sort of cube. And, that cube, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm here. You'll see next ti--
AYW Video Journal #3Edit
Fuck, I pressed the button early. I was going to say "time". Anyway, back to the only thing of mine that gets listened to: the story of me, Greg and the cube. Geoff drove me down to where Greg was. When we got there, we found the decaying house, and inside the living room was Greg. He was playing a game on that cube. As soon as he saw us, he switched the game off, and ran for his gun. I grabbed it first (although I wasn't even going to aim it at him, never mind shoot him) and persuaded him to get in the car. Where do you think we drove to first? A fucking therapist. But the whole time, he was holding the box tight, and staring at it the entire trip. In fact, I bet that house was haunted. I say "was" because the ghosts probably left as soon as they realised Greg didn't even see them, never mind care about them.
The therapist said he just had a very serious addiction to video games. But I happened to have my DS to hand, so I gave him it, and he was still staring at the box, cradling it (to make that funnier, look up "objectum sexual" and the girl who married the Berlin Wall). So, he had the cube taken away, to which he had a fit and ended up kicking me in the face. Worst part is, this guy always wears steel tipped toe caps. I'm still picking out bits of my jaw bone to this day. He was kept in a small yet pretty cozy room, with only a bed, a lavatory, a couch, a really long lamp and a tele set. He had the tele because he needed to watch videos about social behaviour and why video games are bad. But one lingering question still remains: what is this cube? I finally had a good look at it. Have you ever seen those sci-fi movies, where they have the black, void-like shapes such as floating circles or that monolith thing from that one movie? It looked like a cube version of those. Mostly because it seemed to suck you into it, from the extremely dark colour. You could put it in a pitch black room and the rest of the room would seem practically white because of this thing. I found that you could slide a part off of the front and back, with the front being for controller ports and the back being for the plug. But we found no disc/cartridge drive, so we assumed the game was built-in. We needed to find out exactly what it was.
We waited about 5 days when Greg was approved for release from the nut house. He WAS back to normal. He was still playing the same video games as before, started hanging out with his friends more, and all-in-all it was like nothing had ever changed. So I asked him what that cube was. His answer was very vague, or so it seemed, for I did not know what he meant until I played the game for myself. His statement?
"Anything you want."
AYW Video Journal #4Edit
The therapist had kept the box aside for when Greg left, so we could play it without having some steel toe caps to the face. Geoff was afraid, because he thought the same would happen to him. The therapist wanted to do it, but I decided to play it myself. Hey, I already played lots of games before of all kinds, this one can't be too bad.
We found the controller for it. It was a little weird. It looked like those Logic 3 Playstation 2 controllers. That's the best I can describe it. We plugged it in, started it up, and were greeted by the company name. It said Dark Tales. We found stuff that match that name, but none of them were a company. The title screen read a bit like this:
Anything You Want
I then understood what Greg meant. And then there was two options: "PLAY GAME" and "SETTINGS". Not even a "LOAD SAVE" function was there. So I went ahead and started up the game, wondering what kind of game it would be like. It started to ask me a lot of questions about what kind of game I liked, what kind of character, etc.. I filled in a few, then it was this really fun 3D platformer, were a silent protagonist that keeps most of his face concealed with a scarf went around slashing at enemies. It was really fun, but I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Maybe an Easter egg he found by accident? But... Wait a second... Did this cube generate that game based off of my answers?! To make sure of this, I went back to the menu and started again, and it asked me the same questions. I noted them down this time. They are as follows:
Q1: What is your favourite genre? A: Platformer B: Action/Adventure R: FPS L: More... (If you clicked on this, more would come up. It listed just about everything, from horror to party games)
Q2: Create your own character. Character: (here, you could choose a few hairstyles, colours, clothes and whatnot)
Q3: Do you like Easter eggs? A: Yes. B: No. R: Some. L: Indifferent.
Q4: How difficult do you like your games? A: Easy enough. B: Average. R: Hard/challenging L: Indifferent.
Q5: What kind of weapons/other? A: Firearms. B: Magic. R Futuristic. L: All. ("None" would be the only answer if your game genre does not actually need weapons, such as party)
Q6: Age rating? A: 3+ B: 12+ R: 16+ L: 18+
And, from those questions, it generates a game. You want more than that? Don't worry: it's so good at guessing that the rest of the game is also in a way you'd love. We now see why he was so addicted. So we have to be careful ourselves.
AYW Video Journal #5Edit
This is were things get serious.
I played the game for about two hours when the therapist stopped me, and said "it's best to leave it now, until we know more about it." I agreed, although I did want to play that game some more. I tried my best not to think about it. Meanwhile, the therapist got more people to test this game out. I'm actually surprised to see how much the therapist has been doing, as if he was a policeman or something. Two of the people sent in to play the game, had to play it for 6 hours a day. A little hefty, but they obviously didn't mind getting paid to play the greatest video game ever. Another person and myself were supposed to play the game for two hours a day. And so it began. Our team was going fine. Nothing out of the ordinary, although the other person started asking if he could play the game more, and once even begged. As for the other team... Well, they ended up going insane in a week. I'll explain:
First day: The game was very fun, they liked it.
Second day: They really got into the game. They almost couldn't even shift their eyes away from the screen.
Third day: First signs of addiction; one complaint of nausea, one complaint of the other player "cheating", and that he shouldn't be allowed to play the game. They had to be dragged out of the room after the six hours.
Fourth day: First signs of insanity; hearing voices, feeling odd creatures crawling all over them, not looking away from the screen or the cube. They were put under sedatives so they could be removed from gameplay.
Fifth day: Although the test was stopped for them, they broke in and played the game for about 7 hours until anyone got there and got them out.
Sixth day: Players were put in a mental institution (temporarily). Players started carving words into the wall and whispering to themselves.
Seventh day: Players found dead. Player 1 carved a cube shape into player 2's stomach, player 2 ripped one of player 1's arms off (and apparently ate some of it), player 1 bled to death and player 2 had smashed his head against the wall until it broke open.
Sooo... Yeah. Although the game was fun, it was also pretty dangerous. We couldn't dispose of it for two reasons: 1, There's only this one in existence (as far as we know) and 2, we tried. And failed. No matter what. At that point, I seriously began to think it was a piece of the monolith from that one movie. And, although I could've kept the game for myself, I gave it to the therapist. I didn't want to end up like "Players 1 & 2", so he could keep it. The next day, he was found dead, with only a stab wound and a note carved into the wall with a knife. It read: "I'M TAKING MY GOD BACK".
And I had the strangest feeling I happened to know who stole it.
AYW Video Journal #6Edit
I rushed down to Greg's house and found out he was dead, with a knife in his heart and a note in the wall that read "WRONG", as if this person thought I'd come here. And, then, I realised the only living person to play the game was the other person who had played for two hours each day. I thought he would be fine, but... This game IS addictive... So, I grabbed the knife and went looking for him. I found his address in one of the files that was in the therapist's office. I went there, and he stood at the window, as if we was expecting me. I grabbed the knife, and he grabbed his. Well then. I never said this would be easy.
He ran out the door, rushing at me with the knife. He was very easy to dodge, though, so I didn't have much of a problem. I simply jumped out of the way and stabbed his hand.
"AAARGH!!! I CAN HAVE YOU ARRESTED!" He yelled out in blind fury.
"Says the murderer. I only hurt you in self defence." I replied.
He grabbed the knife with his other hand and rushed at me again, but this time he hit my upper arm. I let out a loud "Ow!" and then sliced his wrist on the other side from before. He couldn't hold the knife, so I took it off him and threw both knives in a nearby black bin. I went inside his house, took the game, and ran off to the police. In court, they thought he was crazy and sent him to the mental institution. Surprise, surprise, he died! And yet another note on the wall. And this is the one that still gives me nightmares.
"IT WON'T EVER LEAVE. SOON YOU WILL BE LIKE ME."
But he was right. Sure, in court I got away with attacking him because it was in self defence, but still. I would become like him if this goes on. The only option was to bury it were no one will find it, until mankind is ready. Or until someone decides to dig a hole in Greg's back garden. But still.
That is my story. That's the story of how I made a good friend, and lost him, all over a black cube. And I have nothing else to tell you than this: perfection is impossible, for too much perfection leads to defection.
I made this story as a sort of thought experiment. What if the greatest entertainment system ever was actually possible? And would we, us humans, ever be ready for it? It's an interesting thought. And it also gets an old message out: nobody (in this case, nothing) is perfect. But why is that so? Well, now you may have a good idea. So, keep an eye out, I may be making a sequel (and maybe even a prequel) soon.