Right about that point, I went schizoid.
Literally. Into three different people. We’ll call them Ego, Id and Agape just to pluck random names out of the either.
“Oh, that’s terrible!”, Agape cried. “That poor child! 9 months old… just a baby!”
“Hm, this could be a pretty big story,” Ego mused. “‘Evercrack Takes Another Life’. Or maybe ‘Baby Failed To Zone In Time’, that would attract the more morbid segment.”
“Oh, WHATEVER. Another kid bites it,” Id yelled. “LIKE YOU CARE. His dad was a FUCKING LOSER who couldn’t KEEP A JOB AT McDONALDS and BEAT HIS KID FOR KICKS. It’s all here in the other story. GET A GRIP. You could as easily blame Milwaukee’s Best Beer as EQ for this ‘oh so horrible tragedy!'”
“That’s HORRID!” Agape screamed back. “Life is precious, and that child did NOTHING to deserve an early death! We must all take responsibility for our part in this disas…” She broke off, as Id had begun mockingly mouthing her platitudes, head jauntily rocking to and fro.
“Stop arguing, you two.” Ego was lost, deep in thought. “This could have pretty serious ramifications for the MMOG industry. Obviously, MMOGs by their nature are addictive, both for the social aspect and the gaming aspect – the combination, when done well, for many personality types is like pure liquid heroin. So how can we capture the essence of this — make our readers understand the ramifications of what a truly immersive experience entails? I mean, those same readers are the target market for that pure liquid heroin. Like attracts like.”
“Well, it’s our job to educate…”, Agape begun.
“FUCK THAT, BITCH!” Id screamed. “It is our *JOB* to *AMUSE*. To be FUNNY. TO MAKE YOU GO HA-HA. You know, we just fucking SUCK right now. Go read OLD LUM. HE ROCKED. NEW LUM SUXORZ!”
“He grew up.” Agape responded icily.
“He-grew-up”, Id mocked. “And you know what? Growing up SUCKS! NO ONE wants to grow up! THAT’S WHY THEY PLAY FUCKING COMPUTER GAMES! JEEZUS KEERIST! YOU PEOPLE HAVE STICKS SURGICALLY IMPLANTED UP YOUR ASSES!”
“SO WHAT ABOUT THE CHILD!”, Agape screamed. “He will NEVER grow up! EVER! EVER! And WE ARE RESPONSIBLE! WE ARE!”
“DON’T GIVE ME THAT SHIT!”, Id shouted back. “WE AREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR SHIT! YOU WANNA KNOW SOMETHING? KIDS DIE EVERY FUCKING DAY, BITCH! THE WORLD FUCKING SUCKS! PEOPLE ARE FUCKING BROKEN! WHO SAID THAT BEFORE, HUH? THAT WAS YOUR FUCKING MANTRA, WASN’T IT! WELL GUESS WHAT! THEY ARE! DADDY COMES HOME AND RAPES LITTLE MOLLY BECAUSE HIS WIFE WON’T GIVE HIM ANY! MOMMY SELLS LITTLE BILLY TO THE PUSHER DOWN THE STREET FOR MORE CRACK! BOBBY’S LEFT HOME ALONE TO FEND FOR HIMSELF BECAUSE MOMMY AND DADDY ARE BOTH AT WORK PUTTING IN NINETY HOURS A WEEK FOR THE DOT-FUCKING-COM REVOLUTION! THE WORLD FUCKING SUCKS! FUCK YOU! I’M PLAYING A GAME!”
And with that, Id pulled up a desk with a computer on it and booted up Deus Ex.
“OK,” Ego said calmly. “Obviously we have to say something about this.”
“Obviously.” Agape added icily.
“We really need to hammer home the addictive nature of online entertainment. Not just MMOGs… online in general. The Internet really fills a niche in the lives of many…”
“BOOYAH! HEAD SHOT! One shot, ONE KILL! Mastery of Pistols, BITCH!”
“…and really, since MMOGs are just simply the most advanced form of online interaction available, we’re seeing what could be the cutting edge of the results of that addiction…”
“YEAH, BITCH! EAT IT! ONE SHOT, ONE KILL! TO THE HEAD, BABY!”
“…and since society in general encourages the development of addictive personalities with the development… the refinement of capitalism, isn’t this really the end point of the development cycle?”
“ONE SHOT! ONE KILL!”
“What responsibility do gaming companies really share, in a society, a culture that DEMANDS ‘extreme’ entertainment? Is Everquest and Jerry Springer really that far apart on the spectrum? After all, both pander to a lower common denominator, and both bring the lives of others into the homes of those where none would otherwise…”
“Hmm. Does this work?”, Id asked, pulling the 10mm Pistol out of the screen. “One shot…”, he said, thrust the pistol into his mouth, and fired.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t any blood, any gore. He simply flickered, and lost resolution, scan line by scan line.
“Wow…”, Agape breathed. “Like in Tron.”
“This introduces… complications,” Ego mused, as he began slowly to de-rez as well.
“I forgive you”, Agape mouthed, as she dissolved completely.
“NO! I MUST EXIS…”
I sat in front of the monitor for the longest time. Then I grabbed my coat and went outside, into light.