Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Morning News and The Game of Love

Over the summer, while at Bread Loaf, I was inspired to try my hand at more non fiction--in part at the urging of our instructor, Patricia Hampl. So, even though we were all advised not to really do any writing while up on the Mountain, I sat down and wrote a short essay on video games and love quests.

The result has just been published over at The Morning News. An excerpt:

From the beginning, my character was an ideal version of me, a ravishing Asian ectomorph, who was handy with her weapons and who had a mysterious past that seemed to haunt but not completely cripple her—any issues she might have were easily slain by that great Jedi power, Force Push, which involved using the Force to knock an opponent back five meters, and stunning them for three seconds during which she could utilize her light saber. I crash-landed on a planet and soon met a handsome virtual man with a husky voice to keep me company. I assembled a crew of aliens, Wookies, and droids, and battled futuristic space gangsters. I trained at the Jedi Academy under the tutelage of a short, pointy-eared creature who looked a lot like Yoda. And I talked. All the way through the game, I was given dialogue options. I always chose the righteous and noble path for myself, making sure that I insulted no one, that I defended and saved the innocent, and correctly solved all puzzles, which curiously resembled dumbed-down standardized test questions. My part-time job as an SAT tutor was good for something.

Give it a read if you like--and learn all about my virtual courtship (and how Gordon helped me).

I'm behind the times when it comes to video games (and so many things) but your essay reminded me of these Japanese dating sims... Very strange concept but quite popular from what I understand-- did you ever check them out or did your foray in the world of Star Wars romance satiate that curiosity?
Well, it really was the entire game experience that made KOTOR feel romantic--the conceit of becoming a Jedi and saving the planet and all that. So, I think something that is directly focused on "romance" wouldn't really work for me--those games tend to be for men, after all, and the focus is on sex. So, no, I never checked them out for myself, though culturally, I think they are interesting (in terms of the development of shut ins, and the low birth rate in Japan, and the women who refuse to get married, etc.) But, no, on an emotional level, I can't say the concept has all that much attraction!
Ah yes, there are some pretty raunchy dating sims, without a doubt, but the ones I had stumbled across were more for younger recluses and the perpetually awkward... Well, some had vampire decapitations and sex, but others were seemingly more innocent... I flipped the on eBay...

But now it looks like things have been evolving, resulting in marriage:
Straight out of "Idoru"!
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