Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 1

For my first Book vs Film, I wanted to write something epic. Really kick off my entry into this series with something big and bold. With this in mind, I was sorting through my book collection and my eyes settled on George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones.” At first, I thought it was too big, too epic. The books aren’t even finished despite the television show having just ended. How could I compare the books to the television show? Do I go through season by season? Since the source material runs out around the fifth season, BvF: GoT would only have about five parts to it.

That’s not epic at all. If I compare each individual episode to the books, now that’s something epic.

Plus, it’s something that will definitely kill time until the last two books are released (knock on wood). Now, for your enjoyment, I present to you BvF: GoT: Season 1, Episode 1.

By the way, if you’ve never read the books or watched the show: Spoiler Warning! Plus, why are you reading this if you have an interest in reading or watching it?

Initial Scene

The first difference I’ve noticed happens less than five minutes into the episode. The three men of the Night’s Watch are sent to track the wildlings. In the book, Will is sent to scout ahead for the wildling camp. He finds the camp and all the wildlings are dead. He reports this back to the leader, a highborn guy by the name of Royce. Royce asks for proof or a reason why they’re dead to which Will couldn’t really give so they decide to go investigate. In the show, Will finds them all brutally massacred and positioned in some macabre design.

Screenshot (15)

White Walkers attempt at art reminds me of kids pasting macaroni noodles on paper.

Another small detail, in the book only Will and Royce went to the wildling camp. In the episode all three went. Just a small change, nothing to blow your skirt up about.

Another detail that I’m sure the show cut for time limits. In the book, Royce defends Will and tries to attack the White Walkers. Will climbs a tree and Gared’s fate is unknown. In the show, we see no fight with the walkers and we see Gared get beheaded. RIP Gared.

If I had to say which I’d prefer, so far, I’d say I liked the show. The initial scene is short, to the point, and sets up the obvious threat that will loom over the rest of the show. With the brutal nature of the bodies and the beheading, it shows two things:

          The White Walkers don’t mess around when killing humans.

          The White Walkers are warrior artists. They kill and then decorate the battlefield. When they don’t enlist dead people, they use them as artwork.

Theme Song

I will never skip past this beautiful credit scene simply because of the GoT theme song. Sorry book lovers, point goes to the show for this one!

Stark Intro and Execution Scenes

Another big difference from the books. In the books, each chapter follows a different character. In the show, it blends together a lot of those storylines to conserve time. In this scene we are introduced to the entire family of the Starks in just one minute and twenty seconds of screen time. In that time we are told:

          Robb is the older and more serious brother from his stance.

          Jon is a more nurturing and teaching brother, giving Bran some archery tips. We also know he’s a bastard when he says “so’s your mother” indicating that Catelyn Stark is not his mother.

          Sansa is the more beautiful sister that’s better at needlework.

          Arya is the exact opposite of Sansa and is better at puncturing men with arrows than puncturing needles into fabric.

          We see Catelyn and Eddard (Ned) Stark watching over the boys as they train. This indicates that they are interested and involved in their children.

          Rickon. Almost forgot about that brat. Well, everyone else did so I won’t say more to that.

In the book we don’t see any of this yet. We go to the execution of the deserter. In the books it’s Gared. In the show, it’s Will. Both talk about White Walkers and everyone believes he’s looney.

The major difference is the way Ned Stark is portrayed. In the show, you first see Ned as a family man. You see him giving Bran encouragement and nurturing alongside his wife. In the book, he’s first shown as the Lord of Winterfell having to do his duty and execute the deserter. As Martin writes in the books, “He had taken off Father’s face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell.”

Screenshot (16)

The show has these lovely scenes. “Nice day for a beheading,” said Ned (just joking).

That simple sentence does what most of the show does. It shows that Bran’s father isn’t always the stern, duty bound Lord Stark of Winterfell. He’s also a loving father.

Another minor difference is that Theon Greyjoy laughs at the most morbid things in the book. During the execution scene, Theon laughs at the decapitated head and “put his boot on the head, and kicked it away.” In the show, he did none of those things.

Direwolf Pup Scene

Very little is different. Bits of dialogue are changed and a few characters less in the show, but other than that much hasn’t been altered. In the show, Jon Snow doesn’t claim his direwolf for his own, however. That honor rests on Theon calling it “the runt of the litter.”

Great Hall Feast

The book portrayed the feast in the great hall of Winterfell following Jon and his quest to find the bottom of an ale mug. This is where the show’s narrative style is more advantageous. Game of Thrones shines when it comes to character interaction and the show has more characters interacting with each other than the book in this particular scene. Point goes to the show.

Different approaches to the narrative

The first big branch from the book comes 18 minutes into the episode. After the direwolfs are adopted by the Starks, it cuts away to a beautiful scene of King’s Landing. In the books, we don’t travel to King’s Landing that quickly. First there’s an interaction with Cat and Ned in Winterfell’s godswood. The chapter follows Cat as her character is fleshed out a bit more. We’re told that she is a Tully from Riverrun and that they don’t worship the old gods like the Starks still do. This sets up the lore. It also sets up the lore behind Brandon the Builder, the First Men, and the woods having faces carved into them. Cat and Ned share some dialogue about the children and their newly adopted pets. They also talk about the growing number of deserters. Cat delivers the news about Jon Arryn dying and that the King and his entourage are traveling for Winterfell. This scene is shown in the show only after the King’s Landing scene.

Screenshot (17)

Another great CGI location.

In the show, Ned and Cat don’t share that much dialogue. They don’t discuss the children. Cat skips right to showing Ned the message they’d received from the King.

The book takes an interesting turn. It changes narrative and goes to Daenerys (Dany) and her story. Dany and her brother Viserys are exiled Targaryens. Their family used to rule the Seven Kingdoms and all that jazz. Viserys wants to retake the Iron Throne and is going to wed off his sister in order to acquire an army of Dothraki in order to do it.

Going back to the show, this scene in King’s Landing is not shown in the book. It starts with the bells of the Sept ringing and the funeral of Jon Arryn, Hand of the King taking place. This is also the first time you see the Iron Throne. This is also the first time we’re introduced to twins Jaime and Cersei. Soon enough, we find out through dialogue that Arryn knew something about Jaime and Cersei.

Screenshot (18)

When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. RIP Jon Arryn.

Sexual Content

So, before I say anything else, I know that the show is made by HBO. I also know that sex and violence sell. But, there’s a scene with Theon, Jon, and Robb and their all shirtless. Theon and Robb talk about getting shaved for the queen. They also talk about the prince, as said by Theon, getting to “stab” southern girls with his “royal prick.” That’s the whole point of the scene. Point to the book for not including this because it adds absolutely nothing to the plot.

Screenshot (14)

This is how I feel when I’m watching some of these sex scenes.

The first time we see Tyrion, Jaime and Cersei’s brother, in the show is when he’s with a prostitute. Such a great character and the first we see is him drinking and receiving a sexual act. In the book, we see Tyrion entering the Winterfell great hall and we’re given a description. The first actual interaction with Tyrion is with Jon Snow. Tyrion gives Jon some good advice. In the books, he’s not the whoring, drunk that the television show portrays him as. It’s truly a shame, but like I said, it’s HBO. Now, in all fairness to the show this portrayal sets Tyrion on a moral low note in order to build him up in later episodes. But still, I don’t like the show’s version.

There is a lot of nudity in this episode. Ninety percent of it is not needed, but there is one scene that warrants it. That scene is with Dany and Viserys. He’s inspecting her body and you see her breasts. In the book we see Viserys and his cruel nature as he twists one of his sister’s nipples. We don’t see that in the show.

Interesting thing to note when it comes to nudity. In the book, Cat and Ned are naked when Maester Luwin comes with news from Cat’s sister. Ned dons a robe, but Cat doesn’t mind that she is naked in the Maester’s presence stating “Maester Luwin has delivered all my children” and “this is no time for false modesty.” I find it funny that the show will show young women naked, but not an older lady when the book allows it.

One last bit about the sexual content in this episode. It deals with the difference in the consummation of Dany and Drogo’s marriage. In the book, it appears to be consensual. Dany objects, but then consents after a bit of foreplay. In the show though, it’s anything but consensual. In the book, it’s written romantically, and you can tell that it’s the start of an honest romance. In the show, Drogo is forcing himself on a crying Dany.

Narrative Style

As far as narrative, much has stayed the same. Plot points in both book and show are still there. However, the television show takes a more linear style. Instead of bouncing around to different characters in different parts of the world like the book, the show sticks with locations more than people. The exclusions to this are when Robert mentions in the crypts that there are still Targaryens left in the world. The narrative then shifts over to Pentos with Dany and Viserys as detailed above.

Final Verdict

Unfortunately, this is Book vs Film. There has to be a winner. The show and book are parallel in almost every way. The book has an advantage because there is more lore and detail in every section that the show cannot possibly portray. The show also has too much sexual content that detracts from the overall story and plot. The thing that sticks out over the book are the character interactions. Jaime and Ned talking to each other during the feast. King Robert berating Queen Cersei when they first arrive in Winterfell. Many others that I don’t have time to detail. The actors do an impeccable job which makes the decision clear. The narrative style is also easier to digest in the show than it is in the book simply because it’s linear opposed to moving from character to character in different locations.

That being said, Episode One is better than the book.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments below. Make sure to follow my website to find out what I thought about the other episodes!

Advertisements

Video games have stories too…

Last week I ranted about the necessity for a good story. If you’d like to brush up on that here it is again. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to reread it.

What?

You don’t want to reread that masterpiece? I’m serious. It’s a masterpiece and not because I believe myself to be an artist. My last name is Master. Everything I write is a little piece of me. Hence… Masterpiece.

Anyway, back to the point of this week’s column.

I was scrolling down my Facebook feed (or what I like to call my second home) the other day and my bored eyes fall upon a post from a friend that stated that video games should not be considered hobbies or good activities. The friend then linked to an article that further explained the statement. The article, “How We’ve Robbed a Generation of Hobbies, Joy, and Creativity” by Dennis Prager of The Daily Signal, summarizes another article from another website by another writer. That article argues that young people have become so fixated on technology and the digital realm that they have no interest in the physical realm. He lists some causes including school systems increasing course loads onto their students and parents lack of cultivating the need for hobbies in their children. Prager then states:

“After hours of homework, parents understandably want their child time to unwind. And what more convenient way to unwind than by watching a screen – whether a smartphone screen, a computer screen, or a big screen?”

I would suggest to Mr. Prager, and to my friend, that placing a book in front of their face is just the same as placing them in front of a screen. Both are portals into an alternate dimension. Playing a video game can instill just the same level of creativity in a child’s mind than reading a book. 

Shocking, isn’t it? I’m an actual published author. How dare I claim that playing video games could have more of a positive effect on a child’s mind than that of a book. And I’ll explain why. 

Video games allow anyone (not just a child) to become immersed in the game’s world. They can see, hear, and interact with that world. The popular video game Minecraft is one such game. You are placed into a retro looking block world where players must mine and craft(literally the name of the game) anything. The only thing that limits their building is their own creativity. 

Most video games tell stories that are emotional, thrilling, and fantastical. Some even provoke deep questions within the player. The Final Fantasy series are excellent examples of storytelling. Infamous is a game that makes the player decide between serving the greater good and serving the player’s own needs. There are literally thousands of similar video games that include really good storylines that rival the storylines inside books. 

I will concede the argument that there are mind numbing video games that only work against my counter argument. Candy Crush, Fortnite, and all the excessively violent games are examples. Nothing is perfect though. There are books out there that no one should read. Fifty Shades of Grey and any overly sexually graphic novel are examples of books to stay away from.

I will also admit that video games that focus on gaining levels or grinding for that better loot are bad examples to my argument. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games like World of Warcraft and Terra have weak storylines that aren’t really essential to the game. However, they do rely heavily on banding together with other players to overcome obstacles. 

Just because video games involve a television or computer screen shouldn’t disqualify them from getting some of a child’s attention. Nor should it be disqualified from being considered a hobby.

Video games can also cultivate cognitive and critical thinking. I watched my nephew play the new game Hello Neighbor this last weekend and the game is focused on a child trying to discover the mystery surrounding his neighbor across the street. In order to reach the next stage of the game, you have to figure out puzzles and watch out for the neighbor who will actively learn from the player’s choices and react to them. I’ve never once read a book that had one of it’s character interact with me. 

If a child is interested in playing a video game, they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for admitting it when someone asks “What’s some of your hobbies?” The children that have grown up playing video games are currently adults. I’m one of them. I would wager that while some of the video game playing adults are high school dropouts or just lackluster, there are also those that learned from those games to go on to create marvelous things.

When I was growing up, I felt ashamed when people found out I played video games. When I was in school, you didn’t want to admit to playing them because you’d be considered a geek or nerd. I was a nerd in school, but I didn’t want anyone to blatantly point it out. Now a days, everyone is playing them. Some are even playing them professionally and becoming rich from them. 

I’m not telling parents or anyone else to throw away your children’s books and replace them with controllers. Far from it. What I am saying is that don’t discount a video game as a storytelling vehicle. If you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, then you shouldn’t judge a video game either. 

What do you all think? Should video games be allowed into the sacred halls of hobbies? Or should they be banned from the face of the earth? Discuss in the comments below!

40 Days till D-Day

A marriage is like a tree branch. A healthy branch can be bent by extreme forces without breaking. A dying tree breaks with the simplest touch. Jon mulled this over as he drove home to work. He’d like to think that it was an original thought, but he knew he’d heard it in a movie somewhere or read it in some book. In either case, it didn’t matter how extreme those forces were when someone sets the damn thing on fire. Healthy or not, the sucker would still burn to the ground.

As he slowed down to stop at a red light, he started laughing at that thought. It wasn’t one of those small series of chuckles, but a raucous laughter that could sometimes only be seen in an insane asylum. When his sanity came back to him, he realized that his passenger window was rolled down. Glancing to his right, he saw that the people in the car next to him were looking at him. The nervous looks on their faces only provoked Jon into that insane laughter once more. Needless to say that when the light turned green, the car next to him sped off quickly.

Jon took his time driving the rest of the way home. It didn’t take that long. Plus it wasn’t like there was anyone there waiting for him to arrive home. That had disappeared  two years ago. Pulling into the driveway, Jon switched off his engine and sat in the car until the lights turned off. It was typically quiet in Plymouth, the small city that he and his wife had decided to relocate after Jon had graduated from college. The city that they had moved from wasn’t that bigger, but it was noisier. Someone could get lost in all that noise. The same could be said for quietness, something that Jon came to discover in the days following his wife’s announcement that she was moving out.

After about ten minutes of sitting in his car surrounded by silence and darkness, Jon left his car and walked up the steps of his front stoop and unlocked the door to the two story starter house that he had bought five years ago. If Jon had his way, he’d never have bought the damned place. He’d tried to delay moving out of their apartment complex as long as he could, but he couldn’t stall any longer. It didn’t help things when one of his neighbors smoked pot regularly in the hallway and another neighbor was so dirty that cockroaches had migrated from that apartment to Jon’s apartment.

Closing the door to his three bedroom, one bathroom tomb, Jon went through his newly minted nightly routine. First he changed from his work clothes to a t-shirt and shorts. Then he made dinner for himself. Typically, he would microwave two cups of rice with a can of buffalo chicken for twelve minutes. During that time, Jon would pick up the food bowl filled with kitty chow and sit outside on his front stoop.

During his first week without his wife, Jon had adopted a kitten. Some of his friends had encouraged him to do that because a cat was somewhat independent and it would provide Jon with at least a little companionship. The cat had lasted an entire week before it ran away from him. He’d opened his door one night after a long day at work and the cat had ran between his legs and never looked back. Jon spent almost an hour looking for the feline, but the damned cat was black and it was already dark out. It was like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.

Every night or so, he’d catch glimpses of the cat running around the neighborhood. Often times, Jon would see him running with a group of cats. He didn’t really know why he sits outside for twelve minutes every night with the same bowl of food. Probably the same reason he didn’t file for divorce in the last two years.

He always held out hope they’d return.

The microwave dinged and Jon stood up and gave one final shake of the food bowl. Finally, he walked back into his $57,000 coffin, closed the door, locked it, grabbed his bowl of buffalo chicken and rice, grabbed a Diet Coke from the fridge, and turned on the television. The only real thing that gave him any pleasure was the old reruns of The Office. Seeing Jim and Pam’s marriage work even through the hard times in the waning seasons was something that Jon enjoyed.

After a few hours of television, Jon turns it off and sits at his desk trying to write for the next three hours. Frustrated, Jon slams the laptop closed. He sat in silence for the next few minutes trying to calm himself down. It seemed that his ability to write was another thing that had left him about the same time as his wife and the kitten. Two years ago, Jon would joke with his best friends that everything came in a series of three. First his wife, then the kitten, and now his ability to write. Two years later, Jon wasn’t joking anymore.

Eventually he’d grow tired of sitting at his desk staring at the computer screen. The damned blinking line seemed to mock him. Sometimes Jon would turn on the radio or the music on his phone, anything to drown out the silence that seemed to smother his ability to write. When his wife was still around, she’d be in the other room playing a video game or watching Netflix. During the first few months of the writer’s block, Jon had tried to simulate that noise. It didn’t matter though because nothing would work.

Mentally exhausted, Jon would always end the day by turning to his wall calendar, taking out a black Sharpie, and crossing out the current day.

“Forty days till D-Day,” he said before going to bed. He hoped that the next day would be better.

Immortally Cursed

Here I am, standing on a rooftop. It’s been over six thousand years since I last stepped foot on this roof. Nothing has changed since then. I was forty-five back then, my first iteration within The Game. I don’t remember some of my past lives, but I still remember how I felt standing here on the rooftop that overlooked the rest of the city.

A month prior my wife had left me. She had wanted freedom and a new life away from all the misery and strife I had apparently caused her. I just thought she needed some time to herself. When I contacted her about our future, she sent back a scathing message.

“A part of me wants you to know how much you hurt me and how angry I was at you but the truth is, it’s not worth my time. I wanted our marriage to work after I had left. I never wanted it to end, I just needed some effort from you but you made the choice not to fight for us. Now the truth is I have moved on. You treating me so badly and breaking my heart was the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I thank God for it.”

Having had six thousand years to ponder her message, I still do not understand how leaving the life we had worked so hard to gain was her way of trying to fix it. That didn’t concern me back then. I had more pressing questions sloshing around my alcohol/depression-damaged mind.

Would she come to my funeral? Would she find my suicide note and forgive me? Would she cry in sorrow or laugh with joy?

I still recall the feeling of my body impacting with the sidewalk. It was deliciously painful, but due to all the vodka and rum I’d binged on earlier that night, I felt only a percentage of the pain.

As my mind caught up to the pain my body was experiencing, I wondered if there was an afterlife in The Game. Another level if you will. Heaven or Hell. Reincarnation. Or maybe our bodies in the real world died if we died in The Game. Back then it was a mystery as to what happens when a person dies in The Game. Everyone had their theories, but none were confirmed.

As I closed my eyes for the last time, they opened back up to a brilliant light. I felt like I was being lifted up from the ground. For a brief moment I really thought I had entered Heaven and an angel was guiding my soul to the Pearly Gates.

“Are you hungry, my little one?” An angelic, yet unfamiliar, voice spoke close to my ear. As my eyes focused, I found that I was being held by an unfamiliar woman in an unfamiliar room, a nursery by the looks of it.

I tried to speak to the woman that held me, but all that came out was an infantile screech. Bewildered, I tried again, but a bottle of warm formula was shoved into my mouth.

Who was I to turn down a warm beverage?

Soon I fell asleep, comforted by that strange woman. When I woke up, I found that I was still in that room. It wasn’t a coma-induced dream. I wasn’t in a hospital bed. I was an infant. I had been reborn.

Except, I could still remember everything that I had experienced during my forty-five years of existence. I was no longer that pitiful shade of a man that committed suicide due to an alcoholic depression caused by his wife’s departure.

Thanks to a brightly colored wall decoration, I was now a baby boy named Peter.

There was one theory that stated that when a person in The Game died, their body was deleted from the system. The body in The Game was simply a pattern of numbers. It was our thoughts, our souls that were essential to The Game. The theory further stated that the memories of a person were wiped clean and then that soul was inserted into a new digital body. It made sense.

I was the exception to the rule. A glitch in the system. An abnormality. I decided in my crib that I would treat this new life as a gift. Live life to the fullest.

And I did for the most part. My second iteration in The Game didn’t last that long. My mother and I were driving to the zoo to celebrate my ninth birthday. She didn’t notice the semi that failed to stop at the intersection.

This time, I didn’t enjoy dying. There was no booze to dull the pain. I felt the impact of the semi. I felt my bones shattering. When our car stopped rolling, I was able to twist my head around to see if my mother was still alive. She was stretching her hands out to me. If the collision hadn’t shattered them, I’d have reached out to take her mangled hand.

There was a familiar smell of gasoline. Then an intense heat. The last thing I experienced before dying, for the second time, was that I could smell my own flesh burn away. Not the most pleasant death in my opinion.

There have been countless other lifetimes. I’ve been male, female, elf, dragon, even an ant-person. Most of my lives were human though. The thing about The Game is that there are multiple, almost infinite, worlds and dimensions to explore. You couldn’t possibly experience them all in one lifetime.

Trust me on that.

After awhile though, it gets to you. That excitement when you spawn back into a new body, a new world, a new life. It all starts to fade. Now I know why The Game erases your memories after you die. Having thousands of years worth in experiences and memories starts to drive you crazy. Even the human brain has its limits. Naturally, over the course of six thousand years I’ve started to forget some of these lifetimes. Which is why I’ve started this blog. I can share with the rest of The Game my knowledge and if I need to remember something, it’s right here for me to find again. No one will even believe what they’re reading so it’s the perfect place to put my memories. They all think this is fiction.

It’s quite frustrating trying to convince your friends and family that you are an immortal being stuck in a never-ending loop of new lives.

In my most recent past life, I decided to try and make my mother, at that time, understand my secret. It didn’t go well. She was on the verge of calling a doctor so that I can undergo therapy. Been there, done that. It doesn’t help. We were shouting at each other, things escalated. I had taken a pair of scissors and pressed them up against my throat.

“See you in a few years,” I had said. Then I slit my own throat.

I know what you’re going to say. It was a horrible thing to do. I get that. But what you have to understand is that I’ve lived for six thousand years. I’ve grown a bit alien when it comes to other people’s feelings.

It took me almost forty years to find her again. When I spawned again, I set out to find my past mother and tell her “I told you so.” I didn’t mean for it to take forty years though. Turns out I spawned pretty far away from where my past life had lived.

By the time I found her she was in a nursing home. I approached her not knowing if she’d remember our discussion. One of the nurses pointed her out to me and I walked straight up to her. She was facing away from me in a wheelchair looking out the window to the field of pink roses that were growing like weeds. Before I could reach her though, another nurse stopped me.

“You’re wasting your time honey. She’s far away from here. If you know what I mean.”

“What’s wrong with her?” I had asked.

“When she was younger, she suffered a rather traumatic event. Shortly after, she fell into a coma,” the nurse said.

“Didn’t the government pass a law that euthanized people in her condition?” I knew they had because I was the one that wrote the bill and lobbied for it to become law. The last thing I wanted was to suffer a debilitating mental disease. In 1350 AG (After Game), it became public knowledge that when people died their brains were spawned into a new body. I also had some help in proving that theory.

In 1459 AG, the governing body of The Game passed the bill arguing that since people didn’t really die in The Game, it would be inhumane to allow them to be trapped in a body suffering from Alzheimer’s or a similar mental disease. Or an unrecoverable comatose state like the one my mother was now in.

“They did, but she signed a DNE order,” the nurse said.

I looked at her vacant stare, wondering why she’d sign a Do Not Euthanize order. “Why would she do that?” I said to myself more than to the nurse.

The nurse shrugged. “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but she won’t mind. Her file stated something about her son committing suicide in front of her. She was adamant that he was going to return. Crazy huh?”

The nurse left leaving only my mother and I to look at the field of pink roses. I tried talking to her, but it didn’t do any good. She was somewhere even I couldn’t go.

After that I visited a Game Hacker that said that he could fix my glitch. For the amount of money I paid him, he better have.

“If you’re telling the truth, why would you want to throw that gift away?” he had asked me. It was a fair question. I had amassed so much wealth, power, and knowledge that I could rule this place. I could reign supreme and submit everyone and everything to my will.

“Because I want to feel again,” I told the Game Hacker. He shrugged like it was such a trivial thing to feel something. After so many lifetimes you become numb to everything. You forget how your actions impact others. You can become the villain just as easily as becoming the hero. I couldn’t let myself find out, so I hired the hacker to fix me. Now there was only one way to find out.

So here I stand on this six thousand year old rooftop. Nothing has changed in all that time. Hopefully when I step off this ledge, I’ll wake up not remembering anything. I yearn for that innocence, that sense of wonderment when you do something for the first time. I can’t wait to feel love again, even if it’s the sting of rejection. At least I’ll feel something again.

Stepping off the ledge, I commit suicide one last time. At least, the last time I can remember. Nostalgia flooded my thoughts as I hit the same pavement I hit six thousand years ago. I breathe one last time and smile as my life ends.

Hey, it’s me Jim. Leave me a comment how you want to see the next part plays out. Will the narrator spawn back into his next life with the glitch fixed or will his curse continue? You decide his fate!

Hating The Game

Whoever said “don’t hate the player, hate the game” was a lying sack of shit. You can do both just fine. Of course, the person that coined that phrase never experienced life on the inside. That person never experienced life in The Game, that suffocating feeling when you stand in the middle of an open field or on the surface of the third moon of some odd planet gazing into the vastness of space. It didn’t matter where you were or how far you’ve traveled. It doesn’t even matter if you’re rotting in a jail cell or living your life however you’d like.

You’re still in The Game.

For those of you that don’t know or are in denial at this point, allow me to enlighten you. Nothing you see, touch, taste, or perceive is real. No, my name isn’t Morpheus and I’m not going to offer you illegal narcotics. The air that fills your lungs, last night’s lasagna you exerted from your body and flushed down the digital toilet.

All fake. All zeroes and ones.

Don’t try to compare it to those archaic films and television shows. You know what I’m talking about The Matrix and Sword Art Online. They may be similar, but they aren’t historically accurate. We aren’t being used as human Duracell’s and we aren’t in hospitals forever in a coma.

In all honestly, what do I know? I’m standing right next to you in this digital hell. For all we know the human race is being used to power a robot’s day to day life. There are thousands of theories about the Real World. The only thing we know for sure is what we’ve been told since the start of it all. The official story is that we’re all in some kind of suspended animation underneath the surface of the Earth. We destroyed the Earth’s surface one way or another and we’re waiting for the world to right itself.

Elections are held every decade for the various positions like president of this planet and ruler of that galaxy. With every election, there’s the question: Do you agree that the population of The Game stay within The Game?

There has never been an election where the majority voted no. If there had been, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. I wouldn’t be hacking the system to send this message to all of you because we’d all be in the Real World.

It’s never been told before, but since I’m already hacking, I’ll tell you one cold hard truth. The majority of the population don’t want to leave the safety of The Game. They’re comfortable here in this prison. They’re fine with just leaving all the questions about the Real World unanswered. To those that press that Yes button every ten years, you’re sheep. Doing what you’re told simply because that’s what everybody else does.

I can’t fault you for it. You’re safe in The Game. You never die, not really, but we’ll talk about that after I drop another cold hard truth on you.

There have been over six hundred elections to date.

That’s right. We’ve been living in The Game for, at least, six thousand years. You all might be hearing me and thinking “But I’m only thirty-two, I can’t be six thousand years old.” And you’re right. You’re not six thousand years old. You’ve experienced countless numbers of lives, but you can’t remember any of them.

It’s based on the philosophy of reincarnation. You’re born, live, and die. It doesn’t end there however. When you die, you’re memories are extracted and archived in The Game’s databanks. Then you’re respawned into newborns. Our lives have been recycled for over six thousand years.

There is a movement that understands this and we’re tired of this purgatorial self-exile. We strive for the freedom of those unknowingly forced to live in The Game. One day we will unravel the mysteries of the Real World. Assuming there is a Real World. But that’s the big question, isn’t it? It’s not what happens when we die. We already know that. It’s the bigger question we will search for and discover. Haven’t you figured out what those questions are by now? Fine, let me list them for you before I must depart.

What is the Real World?

What awaits us after we hit that disconnect button?

What happens when we Ctrl-Alt-Delete?