It's Just A Game

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Alfred inserted his quarter into the machine, and pressed the little red button. A slot opened up in the machine, and Alfred reached in and pulled out two little wires with black circles on the end of each. Alfred took both wires, and attached them to his head, one on each side. He then pressed the red button again, and an LED display on the machine read, “SCANNING…”. After a few seconds, the display read, “SCANNING NOW COMPLETE. NOW BEGINNING PHASE TRANSFER…” Alfred felt a sharp pain in his head, and shut his eyes. The pain quickly went away, and when Alfred opened his eyes, he was in the arcade. “But it wasn’t the arcade,” Alfred thought. “It was the virtual arcade.”


Alfred unplugged the sensors from his head and started to wander around. Everything in this world was the same.
But then it wasn’t. It was all a game. Alfred loved this world. His favorite thing about it? It would have to be how you could do anything without consequences. Even if you died in the game, it would simply end, and you would be back in the real world, with the wires still strapped to your head. Alfred spotted a short, round man who was holding a chainsaw and slicing people’s heads off. The man saw Alfred, and raised his chainsaw. Alfred immediately ran up to the man and pulled a Bruce Lee kick across his face, leaving him sprawled across the ground. Alfred picked up the chainsaw, climbed up a lamppost that was a few feet away from the round man, and jumped off. As he was falling, he swung the chainsaw, so that the man’s head went rolling and stopped about five feet away. The man’s head and body simply fizzled away. Alfred chuckled, dropped the chainsaw, and walked away.

After wandering around in the virtual world for a bit, Alfred was shot in the head by a sniper on top of a rooftop. His virtual self died, and Alfred was back in his real body, with the wires still attached to his head. He took them off and left the arcade. After getting a cup of coffee, he headed back to his apartment on the thirty-fourth floor of a building, which he shared with his roommate, Tom. When Alfred arrived at the apartment, Tom was sitting on the bed. As Alfred came in, Tom looked at him. “You’re playing too much of that game, Alfred. It’s dominating you. Everyday you spend more and more time playing, maybe you could just take a break for a week, eh?” “It’s none of your business, Tom.” Alfred sighed. “Just leave me alone.” “I’m your friend, man, let me help. Just try not playing for one week. If you have to play… at least don’t spend so much time doing it.” “You don’t understand, Tom, It’s not just a game, it’s life. But it’s a better life. Man, you should try it. It’s like… Ok, today I kicked this dude across the face and then chopped his head off. I mean it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?” Tom just stared at Alfred. “Come on man, I’m not hooked, I can stop anytime if I wanted to.” “Then stop now.” Tom said. “I don’t want to.” Alfred replied.

Alfred didn’t see Tom when he was awake after that. He spent too much time in the game to bother with real life. Alfred would wake up way before Tom to go to the arcade. He would finish after Tom had fallen asleep. So he didn’t really notice Tom until one day, when he showed up in the game… “Hello, Alfred.” “Tom! What are you doing here?” “I wanted to see exactly what was taking up so much of your life.” “Well, come on! Grab a pipe or some weapon and follow me!” Tom and Alfred walked around the city for awhile, but eventually decided to take a car and drive out to the airport and catch a plane to Europe. “Europe is the weakest continent, Tom. It’s a good place for new players like you to start.” Tom nodded in agreement. When they arrived, Tom and Alfred went around killing people. “Here, Tom,” Alfred handed Tom a pistol. “It’s better then that pipe you have.” “Can’t I use a better gun?” Tom asked. “You have a machine gun.” “The pistol is the only gun you can equip at your level, you have to kill more people to level up and use better guns.” Tom and Alfred went around shooting people. At his high level, Alfred didn’t die once, but Tom, who was both inexperienced and at a low level, died lots of times. “Don’t worry,” Alfred said. “Nobody’s good at this in the beginning. It just takes practice.” They eventually moved back to America, because Europe had become too easy for Tom. After killing a lot of people, Alfred and Tom decided it was time to get off. So they died and didn’t go back on. They had spent eighteen hours playing the game.

When Tom arrived back home, Alfred was sitting on the bed, with a strange look in his eye. “Wow, Alfred, that game was great.” Tom said. “Yes, Tom. It is great.” Alfred replied, looking a little dreamy. “You feeling okay, Alfred?” “You always feel ok when your in the game, Tom.” “I don’t see how that’s relevant.” Tom stated. “How can it not be relevant?” Alfred whispered. “Well… We aren’t in the game.” “Yes… we are.” “What are you talking about, we are NOT in the game!” “But we are Tom, you just can’t… tell. However, that’s besides the point.” Alfred walked over to the window of their apartment and opened it all the way. “The point is, Tom, that we have to log off. Too much of this game is bad for you.” “Alfred what are you talking… oh, man.” Alfred had just swung one leg over the window. “ Alfred, come on, man, just… step back inside.” Alfred swung the other leg over, and now, he was just sitting on the window sill. “I can’t, Tom, I don’t want to play anymore. Remember I said I could quit anytime I wanted to. Well… I want to.” And with that, Alfred slipped over the edge of the window, fell to his death, and this time, he didn’t come back to the arcade, with the black circles connected to his head.





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