I do quite a bit of messing about on computers in my down time between missions and training exercises. It’s mostly because I feel rather shy and uneasy in social situations. Things are much easier when I show up and am expected to play the part of the Action Hero: anything I do or say is part of an Oscar-winning script guaranteed to rock the box office. Nassir tells me he likes “blowing the shit out of everything” because when it comes to explosives, they’re hard to mess up. If you don’t blow it up hard enough the first time, just add more.
When the opportunity came for me to take an intermission during a mission one day, I jumped at the chance. My respite came in the form of a laptop in the middle of a camp full of hostile, filth-infected Orochi agents. Well, former agents. I was doing my best to provide a body to satisfy the “dead Orochi agent plus laptop” trope that seems to prevail in every day and age I’ve visited thus far. I popped the half-ejected SD card back into the side of the laptop and, after the brief whirring of fans and spinning of drives, was presented with a text screen. An error message? Did the game fail to launch?
Oh, a text game. One of those old MUD things that were all the rage before I was born. I sat with it for a while, reading through the descriptions of rooms and directions and items and so forth. It was a meta-game, one that used existing environments as fodder for the game’s locations. I tried my best, but wasn’t able to figure it out. I opened up a web browser and, sure enough, there was a guide for it. One minute and twenty commands later I had conquered text-land.
Later, back at Dragon HQ, I was talking to one of the young initiates who seemed to be intent on setting fire to the world. I told her about the game; she had beaten it and the four sequels.
“There are more?” I asked.
“Oh, yes. They’re hidden like Easter eggs all over the world. The only thing more fun than finding them was solving them!”
“I didn’t enjoy the game,” I admitted.
“Well, maybe you’re just not in the right mindset. It’s probably you, not the game.”
I didn’t want to argue, so I nodded my head and listened to her rattle on about all the things she was going to do when she got done with training. In reality, it was probably a combination of the two: I don’t enjoy text-based games and I’m not terribly good when it comes to parsing written words. I’m more of a visual person. I was able to beat one of the in-house First-Person Shooter training games, Crouching Templar: Hidden Dragon, with relative ease. I asked my compatriot about her progress in CT:HD.
“Ooh, that’s a hard one. I stopped playing at level 10 because there were way too many enemies in the warehouse. I don’t like those types of games, anyways.”
If you ask me, we each enjoyed games that catered to our tastes and strengths. So it was probably was me who wasn’t having fun with the text game. It was also the game because it wasn’t visual in nature, which is one of my strengths. That settled it. I let my “friend” continue to talk about her notions of “fun” and, in the end, agreed with her point of view. I didn’t see the point in arguing: the issue had already been settled in my mind.
That’s what I always liked about Eastern philosophies: they took reality to be the basis of things and went from there. Western philosophies seemed intent on denying the existence of the manifestly apparent or debating the correct words one should use to talk about non-words. (“It’s not called fun. It’s actually called entertainment.” “I disagree. We should call it enjoyment.”)
I think I’m silent most of the time because words just seem to complicate things.