My Gaming Top Ten
The first five are in order, the rest are not.
1. Portal 2 - I hadn’t played the first Portal, but that in no way hampered my enjoyment of the game. Before playing the main campaign, I did about a quarter of the co-op levels with my brother, and we enjoyed it, but when we tried the story mode for the first time, we were blown away. Right out the gate we were wowed by its story and methods. When we were kids, we always tried to do different things to see if the game or NPCs reacted to our actions. When we were kids, we didn’t quite understand video games, and so expected way too much from them. After years of playing video games, Portal 2 was the first that delivered on our child-hood expectations. I don’t leave the room when the NPC asks and he reacts to it! Never had I witnessed such immersive writing!
2. The Stanley Parable - This also is a game that realized my fantasy of what a video game could be or do. Play this game.
3. Bioshock 1 - The atmosphere, setting, combat, and the story. And the good-guy ending.
4. Chivalry 2 (Beta) - I played the first Chivalry, liked it, but I jumped into it too late, so there wasn’t enough player population to continue with it. I was lucky enough to get an Alpha Key for Chivalry 2, and it’s awwwwwsome. (Pre-orders are available.)
5. Half-Life - Do you know how old this game is? Can you imagine how surprising the ending was to me, playing it seventeen years after its initial release? I only played it so that I could get it out of the way before playing Half-Life 2 for the first time.
6. Counter-Strike 1.6 - Lots of LAN games with my Dad and brother.
7. Half-Life 2 - Burning zombies is the best sound in any video game.
8. Left 4 Dead 2 - !!!!!!!!!!!!!
9. Team Fortress 2 - My favorite part is the official comics and videos.
10. Half-Life Alyx - Don’t have VR yet, but I know this game goes here.
Describing a color.
It's not yellow; it's not red; it's not green; it's not black; it's not white; it's not orange; it's not purple; it's not pink; it's not tan; it's not dark green; it's not a swirl; it's not gold; it's not silver; it's not burgundy; it's not grey; it's not usually a happy color; it's not the grass; it's not teal; it's not turquoise; and it's not any shade of brown.
You haven't guessed it yet? Boy, you're stupid.
Come on, if you know the answer, then stop me.
It's not dark grey; I already said it's not pink; it's not rust; it's not mango; it's not salmon; it's not a computer--remember it's a color, keep on track; it's not violet; it's not cerulean; it's not aquamarine; it's not lavender; it's not periwinkle; it's not azure; and you're mistakenly thinking it's blue.
Olive! I was thinking of olive!
Jeremy Simons woke up on the morning of March 17th, sure of one fact. He knew the moment he woke up. He didn’t know how he knew, who else knew, or how he was sure of it--but he knew: humanity had seven days to live.
He woke up early, but he got out of his bed late. Between those two events he only cried.
When he finally made his way downstairs to the kitchen, he found his parents huddled together at the kitchen table. Their arms were wrapped around each other. His mother’s eyes were red and his father’s face was grim. How could Jeremy break the news to them? They looked so...sad...already…
Upon seeing him, Jeremy’s dad stood up to say something, and patted Jeremy’s mother’s hand when she reached to stop him. “Son,” his father began, “your mother and I have some terrible news to tell you. I’m going to give it to you straight. There’s no sense in beating around the bush.” Regardless, his father still took a pause. “The world is going to end in twelve days.”
His father continued. “Your mother and I woke up this morning with the same thought in our heads. We believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that somehow the whole world is going to die on March 29th.”
“Oh God, I hope you’re right,” Jeremy managed to moan. He stumbled into a chair across from where his parents were sitting.
His father stiffened. His countenance became a different kind of grim. “WHAT did you say?”
“No! No. I just…” Jeremy’s lip twitched. “...I woke up this morning thinking it was going to end in seven days.”
The family was silent for a moment. Then they had a pitiful laugh and a long cry together.
Jeremy didn’t really like crying, and yesterday he wouldn’t have wanted to do it in the arms of his parents, but during those minutes of tears he realized just how much he loved them.
Just as they finished (his mom took longer) Jeremy’s baby sister Elizabeth gave a cry from her crib. Jeremy went to her. What did she know; what did she believe? He wondered.
When he saw her, he could tell that she knew enough. There was a limit to what a baby could comprehend and understand, but she knew enough. She almost always woke up happy. Today she looked terribly sad.
He picked her up and held her closely, bouncing her a little. He quickly quieted her and she laid her head on his shoulder, content.
Jeremy offhandedly wished that he was a baby.
He held her.
How could the world end in twelve days?
He passed Elizabeth off to his mother and made his way back to the kitchen. He stood there in the light of the bright morning with his hands in his pajama pockets, contemplating death.
...he supposed that he would think about death a lot in the days to come.
Some movement from outside caught his eye through the kitchen window above the sink. He could see a sparse crowd of their neighbors gathering on the street.
“Dad,” Jeremy said. He pointed out the window.
His father came up behind him and peered outside. “Let’s go see,” he replied.
Jeremy knew what they would find. He didn’t know how he knew, or how he was sure of it, but...he simply guessed correctly.
“The world is going to end in nine days!”
“We only have twenty-four days to live!”
“Eight! Eight days, you fools!”
He guessed right.
It seemed everyone had their own idea of how long humanity had to live, and they were warning anyone who would listen.
...and that was pretty much the beginning and the end of--
THE FIRST DAY.
THE SECOND DAY for Jeremy started at the porch of one of his neighbors early in the morning. He got up early today, and he would for as long as he could. Nobody had any time to waste.
He didn’t know the name of the person who owned the house he was standing before. He only knew that she lived here. He didn’t even know her name. She was just his neighbor, and he had a crush on her for a while now.
A “crush”. What a word. No. It wasn’t as sweet as that. He came here not to reveal “love”, but to take something. Favors. A few liberties. Take advantage of the situation.
Okay. He just thought that she was pretty and the fact was he had never kissed a girl before.
“I was hoping you could be the first,” he told her.
She was apparently an early riser too, judging by her dress and how she didn’t seem to be too bothered at his unexpected early arrival.
He studied her face. What could she be thinking? How strange a request he was making. Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never kissed anyone before, and the world’s going to end soon. Wanna make out? The world was going to end soon, and bucket lists/final wishes were a high priority. Maybe she would acknowledge the urgency of his request and agree to it. It was his only hope.
Bull. The world was full of girls. But she was convenient.
She said she “accepted”.
Jeremy and the girl kissed. They tried to make it as deep and “real” as they could. They had seen enough movies to keep it from being too awkward. When it finished, Jeremy moved his head back. They looked into each other’s eyes.
The kiss was without love or passion. They knew it would only be worse if they attempted to take things any further.
He bade her goodbye and left.
The rest of the second day was just as crummy.
THE THIRD DAY. It came after the second.
The next morning Jeremy went to the girl again and apologized for before. He told her that he sincerely hoped she would find a boyfr--someone to love her--in the little time they had left. He made to leave but then turned back and asked what her name was.
It was Julie.
How was her family?
Good, good. They were doing fine.
How long did she think the world had?
Fifteen days. She then asked him what he thought.
He told her it was THE FOURTH DAY OF SEVEN.
He then said goodbye. And that was that.
On the way home he made another attempt to understand the world’s situation.
Of all the people Jeremy asked, his prophecy foretold the earliest end, and it seemed that except for some married couples, no two peoples’ sense of foreboding was the same. Every single person’s perceived date was different.
He didn’t know why some married couples had the same date in their heads, but he didn’t have to worry about it since his parents had the same one.
God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Is something happening in these six days? What does the seventh day represent? We’re all going to die or something, but what really happens on that day? Is humanity’s death just a side effect? Coincidence? Is it a consequence of something?
How many people has he asked? Does everyone really have to have a different number? Maybe, who knows how long from now, the whole world’s going to be destroyed, and it’s going to happen for 7.53 billion (that’s the population of the world--7.53 billion people or so) different reasons, and each reason originates on a date that someone dreamed up. Perhaps three days from now, something’s going to happen that’s going to or could kill the earth’s population all by itself, and on every other dreamed date an entirely different thing is going to happen, but will still lead to the same result.
Terrible. Just terrible.
It’s purely hypothetical, but if it were true, then there would be hope. 7.53 billion causes for the world’s end, each one happening or starting on a different day. That would mean that it would take at least 7.53 billion days for each thing to actually happen. Now, with all those reasons--no, not reasons, he meant to say “causes”--causes for the earth’s destruction, will everyone be killed before all 7.53 billion causes can arrive, or will the earth stay alive at least until 7.53 billion days? Then his dream of “humanity dying in seven days” would be a metaphorical dream, instead of literal.
Yes! Yes! And maybe--!
Oh, hell. Maybe he was just fantasizing. Rambling. He ended up confusing himself. What was he saying?
Go back to basics. Jeremy believed that the world, earth, humanity, whatever had seven days to live. Since everyone else had their own idea, did that mean that they were all wrong, or that only each individual person would die on their prophesied dates?
Well, he believed everyone had seven days to live, regardless of what anyone thought. He was sure of it. Maybe that was enough. Worrying about what other people believed only muddied the issue.
Well, regardless of what anyone else thought, he obviously couldn’t afford to be fooled by them and live as if he wouldn’t die three days from now. He had to plan his remaining days according to the worst case scenario, just to be safe.
He believed he was right. He believed it. Everyone believed their own thing. So what did that mean?
What was his sister’s date? If they all died on their own date then--!
Jeremy tried to keep from repeatedly swearing.
He had more things to think about, more theories, but they were pushed out of his mind. Perhaps he would think of them again, with time, and perhaps they would help. Perhaps they were important, but he had more immediate concerns.
He spent the rest of the day doing seemingly important things that he had never done before. Most of them gave him great satisfaction.
Then Day Four ended, and a few hours later THE FIFTH DAY began.
Jeremy lay in his bed, contemplating. His parents knew that he loved them. He made sure to let them know that without a doubt. His sister understood what she could. He played with her every day and made her smile. He supposed that was enough.
He felt like this would be a time to smoke, if he smoked.
Jeremy made a “tcch” sound. There would be things he wouldn’t be able to do. Like travel. That would be too much of a hassle with the world as it is. Besides, he would rather stay close to home.
He also couldn’t--
--he supposed it was best not to think too much about it.
Hell no. Time was precious. His parents also wouldn’t allow it. Besides, where would he get some?
What did he wake up early for? Just to muse?
He took a deep breath. Exhaled.
He never made breakfast for his parents before.
He got up and made them bad eggs and normal toast.
Jeremy went back to his room and lay in his bed.
Didn’t he have a list?
He looked at it and then discarded it. He didn’t want to just do things. He wanted to accomplish something. Stop this, maybe.
Where’s the horror? The poetry? The terror? The looting and shooting and screams? Nobody knows what to do.
Sure, people cry, and there’s sorrow, but nobody knows how it’s going to happen. Sure, people have been making a fuss about trash and the environment and trees and ozone for some time but they’re just environmentalists. Nothing’s actually pointing to the end of the world.
He’s not complaining. Just puzzled.
Yesterday he saw people killing themselves, or knocking themselves unconscious in an attempt to wake themselves up from their supposed sleep.
Jeremy briefly considered attempting the latter.
He’d better wait until the last minute. No need to rush things.
He laughed cruelly. He had only two days! “No need to rush”? Sometimes he could be really stupid.
He idly turned his head to the right and his eyes glanced at his calendar. His blood froze. His heart stopped. His hair stood on end. Something inside him really just died.
According to the calendar it was the twenty-fourth. Today was THE SEVENTH DAY.
How?! He missed two days? How could they slip through his notice like that? Oh God!
“MOM!” He screamed as he burst outside his room, glancing frantically around. He ran downstairs to the kitchen.
“DAAD!” It was a strong shout.
Louder! Faster! Find them!
He started coughing uncontrollably. Like a fool he stood there for a few precious seconds.
Like a madman he tore towards his sister’s room. “ELIZABETH!!!!” He slammed against the wall next to her bedroom door. He slumped to the floor, suddenly weak, struggling for breath.
It was nothing! This was death? Laughable! He would see his family!
He pounded against the door a few times before finding the doorknob. Blood started to dribble from his nose.
So what if he was taken unawares? He still had had five days to prepare for this! His nerves were steeled and strong!
Angry! He was angry! He--
--he had no strength. The will was there, but the body--the body was weak. Dying. He tried to ignore what was happening to him...but--the sensation--how hurt does the body have to be to feel like this--?
He might’ve heard voices behind him, but he ignored them as he slowly clawed his way towards his sister’s crib. Lord, could he hear something? Were those her screams? No! No, he--!
Jeremy gurgled something.
“And then the author ended the story because the main character died.”
“However, the author chooses to let it be known that only Jeremy died that day. His parents died on the 29th and his sister died on an unknown date. The dreams reflected the death of the individual dreamer, and the dreamer only. To them, the world ended. Jeremy was the main character, so the story’s “world” ended with his death.
There were several reasons why the author wrote this story and ended it like he did. Mostly he had a bad day, and wrote something to reflect that. He was angry, and wanted someone else to feel bad too.
The author’s recent divorce influenced his mindset and so influenced much of the story’s mood. The author asks if any of these influences were apparent to the reader.
He would also like to point out that the story isn’t called “Uncertainty” because Jeremy didn't know what was going to happen; the title is supposed to reflect the reader’s uncertainty. The author can “reveal” anything he wants to: the reader still doesn’t fully know what happened or what will happen.
A scrapped ending: Jeremy was supposed to find hope late in the sixth day--it was planned that Jeremy’s father would instill in him faith in God and salvation which caused Jeremy to meet the seventh day with hope. That story had ended with these words: “The sun rose on the seventh day and the world did not immediately die.” The author’s inability to write this ending disappointed him the most. It was one of the factors that made him decide to resolve the story as he did.
Why did the author write this story? Why did he write such a--well--a downer?
They say money is the root of all evil. The chance to gain it was the root of this story.
The ending was also the result of poor planning. And--frankly--he couldn’t do any better.
But he did want to say that Jeremy’s family cherished the time they had together, and honored him with a respectful burial. His parents put Elizabeth in the care of friends who dreamed of much later dates, and longer-lived people like them made more children, thus preserving the human race.
But alas, Jeremy, our hero, died. We’ll never get to read about the remaining humans’ happiness. And so, the story ends.”
Jeremy woke up screaming in a wild fever and sweat on the morning of THE SIXTH DAY.
Thank God, a dream.
Or was it?
Humbly, he went to his father. Jeremy told him how he felt. He asked his father questions about God.
His father told him about Jesus, and good news filled with great joy, and it was a very personal, extraordinary, and mind-blowing experience.
His father didn’t understand what was happening with the world, how it was possible, or what would happen in the future, but he held truth, which he shared with his son. It was a very important point in Jeremy’s life. In time Jeremy would think back on it and reflect, but for now it simply filled him.
Sometimes words fail.
Peace was now there inside of Jeremy. Though he couldn’t stop shaking as the hours passed, there was a calmness to him.
The clock ticked to midnight, and then at 12:01 it was THE SEVENTH DAY. Hours passed. Jeremy held his breath. The beautiful sun finally rose and no one in the world immediately died.
A character of mine
The hero pounded into the mugger, clubbing the face and shoulders with his fists. The hero's face was red, exhaling raggedly as he beat the criminal. Two minutes later, after some gushed blood and cracked bones, he was done. He then lifted his head up and breathed big gulps, his arms hanging low. A pause. "Being a superhero is very cathartic for me," he said.