The last time I played a Castlevania game was during the Reagan administration. So how in the hell do I know Alucard’s backstory? How do I know who Trevor Belmont is? This isn’t knowledge that arrives via osmosis, like talk radio or work conversation.
Throughout the game, players make certain decisions that funnel them into one of nine conclusions. In some, Vincent ends up with Katherine. In others, he ends up with Catherine. In yet others, he ends up single; in one of these, he even saves enough money to buy a solo commercial ticket into space. And I have to say it did surprise me that Vincent’s fate branches this way.
In a series of fifteen sparse poems that flit across the page like half-remembered meditations, Vince’s speaker visits the psychic remnants of their life, the intersections and edges of their experience within a landscape that has turned them into “a / Body rounded / to Zero.”
Sonic, for all its hedgehog oddity, never had that extra. It seemed forced, a sped up, dumbed down, pallette-enhanced non-entity. It had the soul of Bennigan’s, the magic of made-for-TV adaptations. And without that 9th dimension, it was only a rapid platform, an artificial barrier to a journey explored and experienced.
I’d say half of everything I write concerns a character’s survival through some kind of game, often one they’ve made up. As a kid I used to deal with all my problems by treating life as a game, and I still do sometimes as an adult I admit. I’d say many of us do. It’s powerful but dangerous; imagination is a savior but it’s also damning.
I remember playing DDR in 1999 when I visited Osaka as an exchange student. The children in my host family had their own in-home dance pad, and we played it for hours: the perfect, wordless icebreaker.
Start any video game and the beginning is full of fail. Games requiring high levels of twitch facility (think Ghost and Ghouls on the NES or Fallout 3 on modern consoles) result in a lot of deaths early on, until the player masters the dexterity required and the particular skills that respective buttons are mapped to.
I was in awe at the prospect of a same-sex marriage in this world. It was so casual—less than casual, really. The game, being a program, didn’t have any opinion whatsoever about whether my female player-character married a female non-player-character.
The most basic rule, of course, is this: If you feed the cats, the cats will come. If you do not, they will not. A lesson in ephemerality; no conclusive objective. The mementoes changed this.
There was a little icon of a square on the screen. And I was the square. And it was the first sense of existing as a multiplicity (obviously, I didn’t think of it in those terms at that age).
Really, this is all me engaging with the game in different ways. I’m having a conversation with it. I often do this way in my writing. For example, I have responded to Bowie lyrics, Doctor Who dialogue, and Barbie commercials.