Wednesday 22 November 2017

Connection Lost: You Can't Take it With You

Article two in my Connection Lost series for New Normative is up and readable now. In this piece, I ponder the relationship between gaming loot and the feelings of loss that can arise when it is snatched away by player character death. Click here to read the full thing.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Dark Fiction - Prick Version 2.0

Prick Version 2.0

Written by Casey Douglass

(Bad language / adult content below)

‘How are you feeling?’
‘Not bad thanks.’
‘Okay, how are you really feeling? You’re grinning like a Cheshire cat!’
‘They’ve pumped me full of happy pills or something Rod! It’s amazing!’
‘Thought so. Shit!’
‘Don’t be a hater Roddy boy!’
‘I’m not being a hater Phil, it’s just that I need you to be more with it if this is going to happen.’
‘Oooh the packing case over there... is that your new toy?’
‘It is.’
‘And I’m the lucky guinea pig?’
‘You are, if you want to be.’
‘You don’t?’
‘I thought you said you couldn’t get it to work safely with rats? If it made poor old Roland’s brain leak out of his ears, why will it work for me?’
‘We’ve improved it since then, the guys and girls at the lab are a talented bunch. I’ll admit it still wouldn’t be allowed to be used anywhere though, for many years, if ever.’
‘Maybe you had it set to liquidise rather than blend last time. Sounds just groovy.’
‘Think it over properly, you know what I said it can do.’
‘Rewrite my mental firmware with something a bit less... depressed?’
‘Something like that.’
‘What if it goes wrong?’
‘Then you’ll probably be a vegetable. This is why I need you to be more with it Phil, you need to understand what you are saying yes to. You’re my friend and if this goes wrong, the only way I`ll be able to live with myself is to know that you really wanted me to do it. Otherwise, I just can’t. And here you are doped up on goofballs or whatever the doctors have got you on!’
‘Hey, I know what’s what thanks.’
‘You know why you are here, what happened?’
‘Indeed I do. I got into difficulty while out for a swim.’
‘Christ. Most people don’t swim at night, in the river, with bricks in their coat pockets. Stop giggling for fuck sake!’
‘Maybe I’ve founded a new Olympic sport!’
‘This is the third time. I don’t want you to keep trying to do this, which is why I’m risking my job just to see if I can help you. We seem to have tried everything else and you are still hell bent on ending yourself. You’re worrying about being a vegetable or whatever else might go wrong... if you walk out of here in a few days and try to top yourself again, you’ll have lost far more than your mind!’
‘Even if your gadget works, what will you try to switch around?’
‘I’ll try doing one small change, just to see how we get on.’
‘And that change?’
‘I was thinking about... you know how you said a few weeks ago, about how you don’t seem to enjoy anything any more?’
‘Please stop grinning like that, you don’t win a prize for remembering!’
‘Sorry, go on...’
‘Well I’m going to try to make you enjoy the fact that you don’t enjoy things, just in the short term.’
‘Hmmm. Not very enticing is it.’
‘Might be life saving though. Who knows. I’m out on a limb here, this is no man’s land.’
‘It makes me think about something I read on the Internet awhile ago.’
‘Stop right there.’
‘Someone, for a joke, said, imagine if your sexual fetish, the thing that turned you on the most, was the sight of your own flaccid penis. You’d never be happy! You’d start to get turned on, then would lose interest! It’s like a pervy Zen koan. What’s the sound of one hand fap-’
‘It’s not really like that!’
‘I understand your point but it’s not. If it works we’ll fine-tune it anyway, if it doesn’t, well, we’ll both be in the shit.’
‘Will I lose consciousness?’
‘Maybe for a few minutes.’
‘You won’t, you know... interfere with me while I’m out will you?’
‘If I wanted to see a middle-aged man’s penis I’d pay closer attention to my own the next time I go to the gents!’
‘Pity you don’t do that anyway, the mess you leave around my toilet when you miss is just criminal!’
‘Fucking wake up Phil! This needs to happen now if it’s going to. One chance, what’s it to be? I’m here to help you, I care about you, but even allowing for the drugs you’re on, you are pissing me the fuck off!’
‘Do it.’
‘You’re sure?’
‘What day is it?’
‘What year?’
‘Which political party is in power?’
‘That bunch of useless wankers.’
‘That could apply at any time but I’ll take it. Seems like you know what’s what... Let’s get started then.’
‘I do hope it works, and I do appreciate what you’re doing, the risks you’re taking.’
‘I know you do Phil, there’s no need to say it.’
‘There’s one thing I do want to say though, before you crack open that case and put that gizmo on my head.’
‘What’s that?’
‘The doctor will be doing her rounds soon. If she walks in while you’re doing it and I’m out, she’s allowed to interfere with me, okay? She’s a lovely lady. Irish I think.’
‘Duly noted. You’re such a prick.’
‘That’s Prick Version 2.0 to you!’

‘God help me.’


Thanks for reading. I really wanted to write a dialogue only piece of fiction as apparently, I have a knack for writing interesting dialogue, according to a handful of comments at least. I've been in a darker mood than usual so it felt good to channel something into this piece. It was also quite nice to have a bit of a swear fest. 

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Connection Lost: Major Carnage

The first of a series of articles written by myself, that use games as a mirror for pondering death, is now up on New Normative at this link. This particular one, Major Carnage, ponders games that feature mass death and why it seems all too easy to care about one death more than another.