The Other Side

April 29, 2018
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Bang!  My hand slammed down on my coffee table in frustration.  I was playing Xbox with my friends, and I kept losing.  Not this time, though.  I had the advantage this game, and I was definitely going to defeat them this time.  I was slightly distracted by the rumbles of thunder outside, and I told myself to focus.  I was in position, ready to win...only a few more seconds.  Before I could finish the game, however, I heard an ear splitting crack, and a flash of light appeared in front of me.  Before I knew it, I was surrounded only by darkness. 

    When I awoke, almost everything was still black, except for two words in front of me.  In big white letters was the word PONG, and below it, the word start.  Disbelief rushed over me.  PONG?  As in the old 1970s video game? I was really confused.  Where am I?  How did I get here?  Suddenly, I remembered.  Lightning flashed in front of me while I was playing Xbox.  That doesn’t explain how I’m in the PONG loading screen, however.  Anyhow, I might as well play.  I walked closer to the two words, and laid my palm over the word start.  Suddenly, I was transported, and I don’t know how to explain this, but I was a white block.  I was starting to worry about how I would get out of here when the ball launched at me,  It went slightly below me and passed me, and just like that, I was back in the loading screen.  I guess I’ll try again.  I pressed on the word start, and I was a white block again.  When the ball came toward me this time, however, I told myself to slide downwards, and I did.  I ended up with 30 points that time.  Frustrated, I slammed my hand into the start button once again, and transformed again into the familiar white block.  Sliding up and down, I watched the number above me slowly tick up, until I hit the glorious number of 99.  Once I hit that score, everything around me froze, and I was surrounded by darkness.

    Later, when I was fully awake, I looked forward and could make out what looked a bit like a landform.  Confused, I sat there, slowly drifting forward towards wherever my next destination will be.  As I drifted closer and closer, I realized that what I was seeing wasn’t just a landform.  It was THE landform that was host to the world of Super Mario Bros.  My heart started pounding from excitement.  I was going to be Mario!  I was actually going to be Mario.  I willed myself to float faster, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to.  After what seemed like hours, I was finally on the ground.  Everything was super bright, and a familiar tune played in the background that I recognized as the Super Mario Bros. theme.  I grinned, and jumped forward, launching myself into the course.  I did everything that was available for me in the level, I broke blocks, jumped on goombas and turtles, collected coins, and too soon, I jumped onto the flagpole granting me a level completion.  Breathing heavily from exhaustion, but still grinning, everything froze once again, as it did when I completed PONG.  Seconds later, I was once again swallowed up by darkness.

    Continuous drifting.  It was awful.  I had been drifting forwards the longest I had yet.  It had been days, I was sure of it.  I still had no idea where I was besides it having something to do with video games.  I was half awake when in the distance, I could sort of make out a structure.  I dome of some sort.  I couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but I was anxious to find out.  I willed myself to sleep, so that when I woke up, I would be closer to wherever I was going next.  When I finally woke up, I was laying on grass.  I could hear people roaring and cheering around me, but beyond that I had no idea what was happening.  That is, until I sat up.  I was surrounded by NFL players.  I was in an NFL stadium, I had figured out, and the roaring and cheering were from fans.  They looked almost real, but not quite.  That’s when it hit me; I’m in Madden 18.  The new football video game.  So this was the next stage in video games.  I examined my jersey, and the opponent’s jerseys, and I figured out that I was on the Bengals, playing against the Steelers.  I checked my number, #14.  I must be Andy Dalton, the quarterback.  Wow.  This is amazing.  I walked out to the 20 yard line with the rest of my team, and called the play.  When we got in formation, I got the ball, but held on to it too long and got decked.  Ouch.  Apparently, in this odd video game realm, you experience everything, including the pain that comes with it.  I got up, got the ball again, and launched the ball down the field for a 50 yard game, and it only got better from there.

    The rest of the game was a blur for me, as I had adrenaline rushing through my veins the entire game.  All I know is, I played great.  300 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions.  The final score was 35-3, and so that meant I had to be moving on to the next game, right?  Or was that it?  My question was answered, when I sat up, and started looking around a bright room, blinking hard.  Where was I?  Was this a new game?  I didn’t understand until a handful of doctors rushed into my room, yelling that I was awake, and then they checked my vitals.  They explained to me that I had been in a coma for 2 weeks, and they weren’t sure I was going to live through it.  So, does that mean the video games were just a dream?  To me, they felt like so much more...






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