I'd like to introduce you to the Beta Testing team for Modson Technologies's newest game in development: Hero Games! Modson is using their proprietary, experimental Neural Interceptor technology in a full immersion virtual setting for this new game. If the Beta trials are successful, they expect this technology to radically change the gaming industry, along with many other applications. Modson has been kind enough to allow us access to this technology to interview their Beta testers. Each one we interview will actually be comfortably at home, hooked into their Modson gaming system. Since this system interacts directly with their minds, we'll be able to get much more complete answers than subjects may otherwise give. It'll be almost like they are having a dream.
We'll start with Nick. Nick is one of the younger Beta testers of the group. A skinny teenager with long, stringy black hair enters the room and takes a seat beside the desk. He's wearing a trademark Hero Games tee shirt (provided by the company) and ripped jeans.
JACE: Hello, Nick. Thank you for agreeing to talk with us today.
NICK: Sure. I got a free tee shirt for it! (He leans back and pokes out his chest to show off the tee shirt.)
JACE: Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, Nick?
NICK: Well, I'm 14. I go to Bridgeton High School. I like to swim; I like to game. That's pretty much it.
JACE: You like to swim? Are you on a swim team? I mean, do you compete?
NICK: I used to be. I'm not any more. We can't afford it now. I still do laps in the school pool when I can, though.
JACE: Alright, we'll talk more about that later. Have you had a chance to try the game out, yet?
NICK: (He gets a little more excited and slides forward to the edge of his chair.) Oh, yeah. It's completely wicked. You're totally inside the game. It's so real-feeling. When you make your character, it's like you're standing in this room, and there's a pool of goo that turns into the person as you're making him, and then he kind of comes to life, but he isn't really alive cause you aren't in him, yet. He's just showing off a little personality, you know?
JACE: No, I don't quite know yet, but it sounds very interesting. What kind of character did you make?
NICK: Ha! I made this wicked eight foot blue giant with red eyes. He's got a leather jacket and these crazy techno gloves that shoot lightning. (Nick starts gesturing and acting out his description.) He's wicked strong and he can jump out of a high window or something and land on the sidewalk, making all these little cracks in the cement... it's completely wicked. (He brushes his hair out of his eyes with one hand as he finishes the description.) I called him Virgil Ante. Like, vigilante, you know, a hero kind-of guy?
JACE: He sounds quite intimidating. So, Virgil Ante is a hero?
NICK: Oh yeah, they're all heroes. The game has it setup like that. If you do non-hero stuff, you lose experience and can't level up.I think if you do too much of it, they kick you out or something. It's still a pretty cool game, though. It needs a soundtrack, but I think that might be an unlock you can get later.
JACE: Excellent. Well, I'd hate to spoil the game while it is still in Beta, let's talk more about you.
NICK: If you want, I guess, I don't have much interesting to talk about.
JACE: Well, how about your family? What do they think of you being selected for the Beta test?
NICK: Uhm, well, my mom I don't think really knows. She's working a lot these days, so I don't see her very much. My little brother knows, but he's just kind of a pest, and I don't allow him in my room. Bad things happen when he goes in my room. (Nick pauses thoughtfully, as though surprised at his own words.) Yeah, uhm, so anyways, he knows, and that's kind of the house, cause our dad died a few years ago.
JACE: I'm sorry to hear that. What happened?
NICK: Well, when I was nine, I found this gun on the way home from school. It was just laying beside the fence in a paper bag, right? And I saw it, and I thought "Wicked. It's a real gun." I figured it'd be fun for me and Joker, that's my best friend, his real name's James, anyways, fun for me and Joker to shoot tin cans or something sometime. Plus, it's not safe to leave something like that just sitting out where anybody can get it, you know? (He paused with the same look of self-confusion.) Anyways, I took it home and I was checking it out in my room when I heard my dad come home. I knew he'd probably flip and want to turn the gun in, which was fine and all, but I hadn't even had a chance to shoot it yet. I mean, a couple of days difference won't matter.
So I stuffed the gun under my bed and went out to talk with dad and throw the suspicion off. He started talking about this big swim meet that was coming up, and maybe how we could celebrate if I placed well enough. (His shoulders slump slightly, and his voice grows softer.) Then I see my kid brother coming out of the hallway holding the gun. He loved playing in my room, and it always made me so mad, cause he'd break stuff. This time was the worst, though. He'd found the gun, and he was only three, so he didn't even really know what it was. He totally didn't know it was real. He pointed it at us, and said "bang, bang!" We used to play that game. He'd point his finger at me and say "bang bang" and I'd all die goofy like. He thought it was funny. Only this time the gun was real, and it was loaded. I don't think dad even really ever knew what happened. His eyes got all wide, and he tried to talk, but he couldn't, and he fell on the ground.
(Nick pushes the tissue box away and wipes his nose and eyes on his sleeve instead.) I know I shouldn't have had the gun in the first place, but if he hadn't gone in my room; if he'd just leave my stuff alone...
JACE: That must have been terrible for both of you. Is your brother okay?
NICK: (shrugs.) I don't think he even really remembers it. He was pretty young. He probably didn't even understand that I'd cost us both our father. I mostly take care of him, cause mom's working all the time to make ends meet, and dad's gone, so it's just us at home.
JACE: Sounds like you're trying to be his hero.
|Images thanks to HeroMachine.com|
JACE: Well, we're almost out of time, so let's try to end on a high note. What's the coolest thing about the game that you've found so far?
NICK: Hero Games? Aw, man, there's so much wicked stuff in there. (He thinks about it a moment.) Probably the feeling of being somebody completely different. In there, I'm not just looking at the back of Virgil's head; I am Virgil Ante. I'm eight feet tall, with blue skin and muscles, and I can shoot electricity. It's all so wicked-real.
JACE: Again, Nick, thank you for joining us, and we look forward to reading all about your adventures in Hero Games.
Tune in next time, and we'll talk to another of our Beta testers for Hero Games, from Modson Technologies.
Hero Games Introductions:
Paul "The Peace Keeper" Granados
Erin "Vanessa Pyre" Moore