Toby is 99% regrets by weight.
By Toby McCasker on April 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm
Sometimes games can start some hell realtalk. Out of nowhere, bananas, you’re committing some heinous act and what makes it feel so heinous is that only the implication of it maybe happening was there. I’m not talking the DIY depravity of Grand Theft Auto. That is clearly an open invitation to do bad things on a massive scale, and this in some way dilutes the impact of it. You know why you’re there. You came to party. What about when you’re just there? First-person shooters make this weird personal phenomenon all the more personal, because hey, you’re you, not the back of someone else’s head or the top of it.
Like that one time in the first Red Faction. This game was my reintroduction to vidya* after a few years of having no money for anything fun. I remember, I’d squirreled myself into Ultor’s executive offices and I was creeping hard. No one had spotted me yet, which is a minor miracle because the moment I experience tension, I tend to orchestrate a huge public spectacle to make it go away. I was creeping it real that day, though. I was creeping it so real I managed to come up right behind an Ultor worker bee tapping away at his terminal in an overworked fugue. He had not noticed me.
And I leveled my silenced pistol at the back of his bobbling head and futt. He might’ve been a good guy, I don’t know. His evil-ass employers didn’t necessarily represent his interests. Life is tough and coin is hard to come by. Sometimes you gotta do the things. Hell, I scrubbed the interior of a walk-in oven until my triceps melted just to buy this game. Maybe all he was doing was filling invoices for kitchen staff like my sorry ass? I did not stop shy of zooming in on the limp pixels of his fingers, searching for a wedding ring. Technology had not reached that point yet and I was thankful, though I imagined he took his ring off before coming to work just in ca- Is the industrial video game guilt complex a thing? Is it?
Things, if indeed they were things, would only get worse when I discovered the original Deus Ex. Even some thousand years later, I will never forget acting on this curious whim. That whim was bashing a grubby orphan child in the face with my extendable hitting device and then dumping his unconscious body into the water where no one would ever think to discover him.
To this day he is still down there, a bloated, fish-pecked corpse of social refuse, missed by no one. One day Timmy was just gone. Happens all the time in the big runaway city. His vagrant street-kid friends warming their hands on an barrel pyre only shrugged and refused to wonder, because wondering meant facing the dead-end streets of their own useless mortalities and whistling for the boogeyman.
Have put my conscience on the Tetris Diet.
* Have I ever loudly thanked Brenna for coining the term ‘vidya’? I love it and use it constantly. Thank you, Brendiggles.