The date was December 8th, 2030.
The night sky loomed over the brightly lit city street. Snow fell in flurries as the temperature slowly fell lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There I stood waiting in line of a video game store.
Originally, I wasn't interested in these forms of entertainment. Well, quite frankly I've never been interested in any. Today was different however. I'd gone many years without any enjoyment in my life, probably for as long as I can remember. The non-privelaged people have it good. They don't always get everything handed to them, they have to earn it.
"Ah hey Allan?" Asked a tall blonde guy next to me.
"What, Trevor?" I asked back.
"Thanks for coming with me for the launch of this new MMORPG. I appreciate it." Trevor said cheerfully.
"No problem, I don't have much to do on my down time anyway. So, may I ask? What exactly is an MMORPG?" I asked.
"Oh yeah, forgot you weren't very in tune with pop culture. You were very confused when I showed you some of the pictures I had saved on my phone." Trevor out his palms together, and tilted them to point at me. "An MMORPG is short for 'Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game'." Trevor explained. "Do you know about games like Final Fantasy XIV' or 'Elder Scrolls Online'?"
"I've heard of them, though I've never gone near those types of things." I replied.
"Allan, do you like the medieval European types of stuff?" Trevor asked.
"Well, no I'd say. History doesn't really interest me so much as anything else." I said.
Trevor face palmed. "Oh, this'll be harder to explain than I thought."
"You don't have to spare that much time for someone like me you know." I said.
"I understand that, but I want you to experience video games. Especially this one, I need a gaming buddy to queue up with." Trevor said enthusiastically.
"I'm not really worth it anyway, I'm only buying this game just to see if it's something worth investing time in." I said.
"Man when you said you come from a very business oriented family, you weren't kidding. What business do they run again?" Trevor asked.
"They own a large corporation named, Itsuki International or something." I said mono-toned.
"Oh, are you Japanese or something?" Trevor asked with surprise.
I flinched for a second and turned my head toward him, he's tall so I had to look up. "Was it not obvious?" I asked.
"Well, I mean, you don't really look like anything, but everything at the same time. You could probably pass off as any other Asian race. At first, since we live in Minnesota, I'd thought you'd have been Hmong or something." Trevor explained.
"What's a Hmong?" I asked in confusion.
"Eh well nevermind that, I'll finish explaining MMORPGs for you." He said.
"Have at it, I can listen all night. This line isn't moving anytime soon." I said.
Once we entered the video game store about an hour later, the huge display that took up about half of the store itself, was nearly empty. Apparently this game has been in the works for over ten years after the hit console, the 'Dream VR' by SEGA was released to the public. From what Trevor told me, it was a truly immersive experience that practically transports you into the game. According to Trevor, the system puts the user to sleep and links all of it's sensory parts to the nerves and has you see and feel the game, like it's real life.
First of all, I have a lot of problems with this. Trevor mentioned in the game you have to fight, like with swords, bows, axes, etc. So I only wonder what kind of pain comes from getting hit by one of those weapons would feel like. Apparently large monsters like minotaurs are in the game, now thats a whole other world of pain. Second of all, how do they program pain? This has me really curious, so curious in fact that I ask him myself.
"How do they program pain into a game?" I ask back.
"Oh, uh I don't really know myself. From what I know while making these types of VR games is that you have to record the pain itself." He said.
"So does that mean someone has had their arm cut off or something to record the pain level?"
"Uh, I don't think they do to that level. I'm sure they record a cut or something and elevate the pain level by whatever triggered it. I'm not so sure though."
"Why would anyone want to play a game where they feel extreme levels of pain?"
"You know what, you have a good point. Maybe the pain isn't that bad then, to sell the game better. Either way, it doesn't mean anything until we try."
The line finally opened up and we looked through the display. We searched for any copies that could have been leftover. Luckily for us, there was.
"You know Allan, judging by your knowledge of video games, do you even have the console?" Trevor asked me.
"Console? Do I need one? It's a headset isn't it? I have a headset at home." I said.
"No, the headset is an add-on to the main console." He said.
"Well then no, I don't. I'll just buy it, and would you look at that? A perfect three for one bundle. The console, headset, and game for a price of $599.99. Capitalism at its finest."
"Saying $599 like it's no big deal, very strange." Said a voice to my right.
I turned my head and saw a brown haired girl with glasses and a shorter Asian girl next to her.
"Oh, Bridget I didn't to see you here. I'd expect you to be studying for midterms." Trevor said with surprise.
"Well I did expect you to be here. Oh my, how rude of me! Introduce me to your friend!" Bridget said.
"Ah well this is-"
"I don't need someone else to introduce me, thank you very much." My mom taught me introductions and I've never used them, business talk. "My name is Allan I. Satou, at your service." I reach out to shake hands.
She accepts the handshake. "Ooh very professional, I like him. Well may I return the favor? I am Bridget M. McLoughlin at your pleasure." She says as she curtsies.
The short girl decided to talk too. "Uh, m-my name is Nia. Nice to meet you."
"Sigh, you need a little more fanciness to that introduction." Bridget said.
"Oh, um sorry! My name is Nia N. Tamura, at.. your service?" She said a little nervous.
Bridget laughed. "Good enough I suppose! Anyway, you guys buying the game too?"
"Yeah, launch day is probably the only day to get the game, it is the most anticipated game of the year. It's holiday season too." Trevor said.
"Smart of you to do so! I'm proud of you Trevor!" Bridget said.
"Yeah, okay, well let's go checkout Allan, these girls already have, look at their bags, you girls should head out now." Trevor gestured them out and they left.
About an hour of endless line passed and we were leaving the game shop. I had a large box to carry inside a flimsy plastic bag and the ice on the sidewalk made me weary of walking back home.
"I suppose it's time to part ways." I said to Trevor.
"You sure you don't need any help?" Trevor asked.
"No, I'll be fine." I said.
"Alright I guess. When you set up we should play later tonight alright?" Trevor said.
"Yeah we'll see." I re-adjusted my scarf to cover my mouth and we left in opposite directions.
I never played that night, I was too exhausted.