Fishing for games
Being a hardcore gamer, I can proudly boast about how my biggest life achievements include a Steam library filled with over 1,000 titles, getting obese at the age of 15 (at some point, my mother would buy me a pack of Chesterfields over a can of pop), developing severe asthma at the age of 16 (thanks, mom), and getting rid of all the friends I once had, and who added up to a dazzling total of one (it was so sad to flush you down the toilet, Mr. Bubbles, I swear I didn’t know these ashes were that poisonous).
Now, Mr. Bubbles was a huge part of my life (we would play Overwatch together, enjoy mature movies, and the other day, I almost taught Mr. Bubbles how to smoke), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after such a great loss, a superior human being like me would crave company. The thing is, I can’t stand other people. I was only able to put up with these Overwatch kids because Mr. Bubbles enjoyed the popping hitmarker sound.
But even taking my slowly progressing social anxiety into consideration, I realized I desperately needed a true friend. So when I stumbled upon FreeSO, it seemed like a way to go.
Unfortunately, it went down as soon as it went live. Oh carp. That’s a bummer. I read somewhere you could create huge fish tanks there! Me and my best friend would definitely stick around one of these – and we will, whenever the developers get their servers back on tracks.
Meanwhile, when I was just about to overcome my innate fear of others and actually talk to a person while ordering a 25” pepperoni with double cheese, The Sims crossed my path once again, only this time in a more groovy manner. I immediately thought that turning myself into a vampire wouldn’t be a stupid idea at all. First of all, I could finally explain to my mom why I don’t go out during the day. Secondly, I could trade pop for a more haematopoietic (uh, healthier, I guess) drink. And finally, I could bring Mr. Bubbles back to life and turn him into a vampire, too. A fish-vampire. But then the “January 24” release date caught my eye, so I was like, ‘Forget it. I’ll take a medium Margherita instead,’ and I hang up. It was the first time I talked to a person under the influence of The Sims, and also the first time I did so without sweating like I’d been thrown into a swimming pool.
In a way, I made a friend that day. A female friend. I ate her as soon as she came out of the box. It felt great, made me stop hating others, but then, I deemed, no one will ever replace Mr. Bubbles. He’s been gone for so long now – longer than all the months that separate us from Husk’s release, days that separate us from Days of War going Early Access, and even the unimaginable amount of time we’ll all have to endure before Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord hits the shelves. Mr. Bubbles’ memory is slowly fading away, and I almost feel like sooner or later, I’ll just have to mod him into a Fallout 4 companion.
I wish Mr. Bubbles were a human being. I never knew his real name, but I imagine him as a nice, honest, ever-smiling person. And a man of business, too.
If only dreams could come true.
Shawn’s Magical Room
This is Hello Games’ Ambient Creative Space™. For a minute, let’s pretend it doesn’t look like this. Instead – take a deep breath, put your imagination to work, and repeat after me:
- The wooden bowl standing on the table slowly transforms into a glass fish bowl. A goldfish, which happens to be a magical goldfish capable of speaking, swirls around a golden castle it has emerged from, smiles (it can do that, too), and introduces itself as Shawn Hurray (or something along those lines, you might’ve misheard the actual name due to water constantly filling Shawn’s mouth), the owner of Hello Games’ Ambient Creative Space™;
- ‘I can make all your dreams come true,’ Shawn promises, his smile irresistible. ‘Just say whatever it is you want Hello Games’ Ambient Creative Space™ to look like, and I’ll let you imagine it looks exactly that way. Anything you want this room to be, I’ll say it is. You’ll only have to feed me golden sprinkles every time you make a wish.’
- Luckily, you kept some golden sprinkles in your wallet, and now you think of repainting the walls. ‘They are pink,’ says Shawn, his little tail wiggling as he barters the golden sprinkles for a bunch of smart clothes, while you cry tears of joy, simply because you love pink. But what about the silly “Tea & Noms” wall writing? ‘It says Food & Beverages now’ – just in time for your serious breakfast! Shawn smiles with delight, his castle now bigger than the table. But “Hello…?,” you ponder, and Shawn smiles again. ‘Here, it’s Goodbye.’ And it is. A huge, mechanical “Goodbye” sign capable of flying and randomly generating quintillions of colors stands before you. Flabbergasted, you fall unconscious.
- Once Shawn got his fancy set of prosthetic legs and arms, it was time for him to leave. Perhaps somebody else needed him. Or perhaps he’d noticed you ran out of golden sprinkles. And now, you slowly wake up…
…but the magic doesn’t stop. You reread everything, try out different ideas, keep believing Shawn and feeding him golden sprinkles, you dream about Hello Games’ Shapeshifting Personal Space™ in your sleep, covet it, then wake up, look at the picture again, and undergo a mental breakdown as soon as you realize Shawn has been constantly screwing you over, making you pay for a pile of flagrant lies.
You’ve just experienced No Man’s Sky release.