We here at the SLN Videogame Depot welcome back correspondent Jax Hamleg, who has returned from extended medical leave as a broken yet very opinionated man. Take it away, Jax.
Look me in the eye and tell me something, motherfucker. How many loot boxes have you purchased? With real money. Real dollars that could’ve put food on your family’s fucking table. You make me fucking sick.
Ironically, it was in being sick that my spiral into gaming and despair began. Sick with a case of legs torn off by hurricane force winds and a penchant for buckling my belt four or five notches tighter than was necessary. Sick with a case of hubris. Without my legs or my work but with a steady paycheck and benefits package, I wasted away into a horrid little gremlin, spending hours playing terrible videogames on my overpriced Razer laptop (replete with rainbow light-up keys) and my durable but off-brand android smartphone.
I have seen things that would make a normal person laugh awkwardly and find an excuse to leave. Things that would send a chill down your spine if I also explained the very esoteric and technical context surrounding them. I will never again be able to look in the mirror and see a man. I only see something so disgusting it shakes my belief in a loving God. I see a gamer.
Before my Kafka-esque transformation I used to travel to interesting places with a talented and brave cameraman, and I too was brave, because I delivered the news live, as it happened. What do I deliver now? Advice. Advice that comes from a place of deep suffering, in the hope that I can save you from the hell I have made for myself. Advice on which videogame loot boxes offer the best value.
There’s a line in one of my favorite novels, Snow Crash, where the threat of the title is explained to the main character, and he can’t quite get his head around it.
“This Snow Crash thing—is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?”
Juanita shrugs. “What’s the difference?”
Shut the fuck up, it was less heavy-handed in 1992. Anyway, this pretty well sums up my feelings about a brand where, if I say its name, you don’t know if I’m talking about a television show or a restaurant. There’s a weird Marshall McLuhan/Videodrome quality to that idea that gives me a sour, orange feeling behind my eyes. You can’t eat reality television! I said.
I was wrong. There is no better way to describe this place than “trying to eat television.”
You stare into the blackness. The only sound is the howling of a wind whose origins you dare not contemplate. This wind slowly changes its direction and the howling its tune, and letters handwritten on crumpled, soft paper swirl up from somewhere below. One by one they blow into your trembling hands, presenting themselves for reading.
Ever since my sister returned from college, we haven’t been as close as we were before. Up through high school we were only a year apart and were practically inseparable, and for her first semester in college we tried to keep in touch via instant messaging but that sort of petered out as she got busier and built a new group of friends. Now that she’s living at home again for a while I hoped we would pick up where we left off, but she keeps locking herself alone in her room for long periods and when she comes out to eat or whatever she barely speaks, answering questions with single words or not at all. I’m worried about her.
Distant in Des Moines
You look to the void for answers. The shrieks of a thousand damned swell briefly before fading into nothingness; silence so pure your ears ring. Continue Reading