XBOX 360 and Gears of War

A Postmodern Dialog

INT: PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - DAY

An upscale office. The desk is wooden, the chairs are leather.
Pictures of dead people on the walls, two diplomas.

DOC is sitting behind the big desk, razor thin reading glasses threaten
to fall off his nose. He holds an immaculate yellow pad and a Mont
Blanc fountain pen.

RABBIT enters. His hair is slicked back. 40, balding, black jeans and
black T-shirt. Starbucks in his hand. In silence, he walks over to the
leather fainting couch, lies down, and stares at the ceiling.

He closes his eyes, squinting.

RABBIT
Thanks for seeing me Doc.
DOC
You seemed distressed when you called. You know I don't usually see patients on Sundays.
RABBIT
I know, I know. You told me that when I was getting off the ... A beat, RABBIT closes his eyes again.
DOC
Say it. It's the only way to keep getting healthy.
RABBIT
... the WoW.
DOC
Good. Good. You're doing well. So what's the problem? Is it your mother? CUT TO: CLOSE UP, RABBIT
RABBIT
Oh give it a rest doc, it's NEVER about my mother.
beat
No, it's ... it's a game again. Shot lingers then CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT DOC winces, removes his glasses, pinches his nose, sighs.
DOC
Oh Julian. I thought we'd worked past this.
RABBIT
I know, I know. But really, this time it's different. I ... I bought a 360.
DOC
Tell me about this "360."
RABBIT
Come on Doc, how long have I been coming here? How many times have I talked about the consoles? DOC flips a few pages back on the yellow pad, scanning the lines lazily.
DOC
Ah yes. This is November. You've been worrying about November 2006 for some time now. The 360? This is one of the things that have been causing you so much stress? So you decided then?
RABBIT
No, no DOC. That's the PS3 and the Wii. This is the old one. It's been out forever.
DOC
Interesting. So after spending so much time and thought in the horns of your dilemma, you have chosen to step away from the bull. Lateral thinking. How do you feel about this? A pause draws on into an awkward silence. CUT TO: CLOSE UP, DOC Doc stares intently at RABBIT. He is motionless. CUT TO: CLOSE UP, RABBIT
RABBIT (Staring straight up)
Weak. I feel weak. I feel like a traitor. CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT
DOC
A traitor? What have you betrayed?
RABBIT
Everything Doc. I'm a PC guy. It's part of who I am. For years I've just laughed at all those kids playing their shooters on consoles. I didn't get it at all. It didn't even make sense.
DOC
Go on ...
RABBIT
But this time, I decided it was time to jump in.
DOC
Right, the next gen. You said it was going to be different.
RABBIT
And it should be. There's all sorts of cool stuff about the new consoles. I'd saved some money aside ...
DOC
Yes, we'd talked about the money. You were thinking of saving it towards something healthier ...
RABBIT
I know I know, like I said, I'm weak.
DOC
Not weak Julian, just a little confused ... Go on.
RABBIT
So anyway. I thought I'd made up my mind. I was going to get a Wii, because, yaknow, it's not just a weak PC -- it's different. It'd be stuff I couldn't play on my PC, and maybe my kids would play it ...
DOC
You have to own your decisions Julian. You can't keep using your kids to justify your behavior. I thought we went through this when you bought that ...
(flips through the yellow pad)
... Nintendo DF? SMASH CUT TO: CLOSE UP, RABBIT
DOC (Bolting upright)
DS! It's a DS! DUAL SCREEN! Are you even paying attention? And I'll have you know my daughter plays with it too.
(Beat)
But as I was saying, I was going to buy the Wii, and save what I had left for upgrading my computer next year. But then I saw the trailer for Gears and ...
(cradles his head in his hands)
... I just had to have it. CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT
DOC
We've spent a lot of time in here talking about your impulse control. You'd been feeling much more in control lately, no? Since the the guitar heroin?
RABBIT
GUITAR HERO, it's GUITAR HERO. Yes, I recognize that spending $200 on one game was ridiculous, but I don't regret it. And that's the thing, I don't regret this either.
DOC
What exactly did you DO?
RABBIT
Aren't you even listening to me? I was all set to move on, and instead, I saw a trailer for this new game, Gears of War, and I just had to have it. I'd kind of wanted a 360 all along, and this just put me over the edge.
DOC
Does Jessica know? RABBIT chuckles, manic.
RABBIT
Know? Know?? She drove to Walmart and bought it for me! All of it! The console. The game. The fiddly bits. DOC sighs.
DOC
Julian... I just don't know ... This kind of enabling ...
RABBIT
It's not her fault. She loves me. Poor woman. CUT TO: LONG SHOT Beat.
DOC
So, tell me about it. How do you feel about it now that it's in your house, in your life? CUT TO: OVERHEAD SHOT, LOOKING DOWN ON RABBIT RABBIT's eyes glaze over, a smile overtaking his face.
RABBIT
It's amazing. The 360 itself, it's just perfect. I mean, it's SO much better than I thought it would be. I expected it to be pretty. But I just had no idea how good the rest of it would be. It just works. Everything about it just ... right. The way it looks, the way it feels. It's just ... perfect ... and ...
DOC (Interrupting)
Nothing's perfect Julian. You said this about your PCP too.
RABBIT
PSP! PlayStation Portable! God!
DOC
My point is just that you've said this before Julian.
RABBIT
I know, I know. And I know it's not really perfect. People say they die. That they get too hot. That multiplayer get wonky. But I don't care Doc. It just works. And the games! There's so much stuff there that's just FREE. All these demos. I spent two days just playing demos. And the people. It's so easy to find them, to talk to them. I feel so there, like I'm part of a family, a team. CUT TO: RABBIT POV DOC takes his glasses off.
DOC (flustered)
A FAMILY? Julian, has it occurred to you that your pathological need to connect to people online is just a coping mechanism for your self-induced confinement in your BASEMENT? CUT TO: DOC OVER THE SHOULDER
RABBIT (Not listening)
And it was there all this time. I was avoiding it. I was feeling all superior. And I didn't even know. Everyone told, me. I just didn't believe. And you ...
(Eyes snap to DOC)
... you! You tried to keep me from it! You told me to stay away!
DOC
It's a GAME Julian, a machine, disassociated voices at the end of a telephone. It's not real! NONE OF IT! CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT Beat. RABBIT chuckles, unfazed.
RABBIT
Oh Doc, I feel sorry for you.
(laughs)
You just have no idea. You haven't seen Gears. If I thought the 360 was perfect, I really wasn't prepared for Gears.
DOC
Gears? On a computer?
RABBIT
Gears of War. It's a game. It's more than a game. It's THE game. It's ... I mean ... it's just perfect. There's just nothing wrong with it, and everything right.
DOC
A game. I'm sick of your games. I ... I'm sorry Julian. I can't keep doing this. CUT TO: OVER THE SHOULDER - DOC - DOWN AT THE DESK DOC reaches into his desk and pulls out a checkbook. Shivering, he starts writing a check.
RABBIT
What are you doing?
DOC
I'm refunding your money. I think I've only made you sicker.
RABBIT
Doc, don't you see? CUT TO: OVER THE SHOULDER - DOC - AT RABBIT I've been playing tactical games since I was 10. I'm not saying it's a noble cause, but it's just part of me. Part of who I am. I played in photon leagues, I played paintball. I nearly killed myself in Taekwando and hitting guys in armor with big sticks, 1,000 on a side. I've fenced and played chess and wargames and touch football. Counter-Strike, Battlefield. I think I've done it all. And this is it. It's the best. It's the real deal Doc. CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT DOC rips the check from the ledger. He looks at RABBIT, tired.
DOC
A game.
RABBIT
A game, yes, but maybe a perfect game. It's pretty, it's new. It's exciting. But it's more than that. Everything about it is there for a reason, and it's all good. Every sound, every reflection. The mood's just right. The movement, perfect. The sense of urgency, imminent danger. It's all completely tuned. It's as good as it gets, but it doesn't even matter. Because here's the thing. In Gears, I matter. It's not a big game, it's a small game. It's 4 on 4. And when I'm in a squad, what I do really, really matters.
DOC
But does it? Does it really? CUT TO: TIGHTER SHOT RABBIT stands. He walks over to the desk. He looks down on DOC.
RABBIT (Pedantic)
I don't expect you to understand. I've spent a lifetime in search of this. You've spent a lifetime living other people's lives. The whole point of these things is to make a difference. When I'm in there, with other guys, even though I suck I want to know that I was there for a reason, that I had a plan, and that whether I did what I set out to do matters. And in Gears, it's all real. Teammates calling position. Coordinating flanking maneuvers. Laying down suppressing fire. Smoke. Tactical choices about speed vs. protection. It's all there. It's better than chess. It's better than fencing. It's better than all of it. DOC looks up at RABBIT. Tears start to form in his eyes.
DOC
Oh Julian, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I failed you.
RABBIT
Don't be Doc. I think I'll be fine. I need to work on getting some sleep, sure. I mean I'm 15 hours in on this thing and it's less than a week old. But I'm doing just fine. CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT RABBIT turns to walk out of the room. Pauses. He turns back and picks the check up off the desk.
RABBIT
But I'll take the check. I need some five-dot-one headphones. RABBIT leaves the room, leaving us back at the establishing shot. Doc sits motionless, staring into space. FADE TO: BLACK

Comments

Ixnay on the antsless-pay! Argghhhh - brain Lysol time again.

I'm still jiggling in the corner doing some sort of weird gamer potty-dance waiting to get my 360 back from the shop. I played a bit of GOW over at a friend's house this last weekend and go ram it this is going to be a long week.

I laughed, I cried.

So X-Box is THE holiday gift eh?

Goddamn, you are awesome.

Outstanding Rabbit. Where's the Flash guru in the joint? This one deserves at least a small section done out properly! Somehow it should also have a F--->B moment with the Doc. I'm straining my wii to figure out how, though.

Awesome rabbit!

God I wish I wasn't so swamped with Life(tm) becaus I got the GOW addiction briefly last weekend.

Ok, the first perspective left me a bit cold. I was expecting a review, but now it comes together a bit more. These are no reviews, these are just kick ass pieces written around a game. And I like games, and kick ass pieces, so I am getting to like these perspectives as well. For the reviews I'll just have to find the right forum thread or a different site. Both are easy to do.

Dude, I'm swamped with life, I've just decided I will sleep when I'm dead.

rabbit wrote:

Dude, I'm swamped with life, I've just decided I will sleep when I'm dead.

Thank you, Bon Jovi.

Actually, Warren Zevon.

rabbit wrote:

Actually, Warren Zevon.

Who, coincidentally, is dead!

Hey, he may have said it first, but Jon said it best!

Nice Rabbit, I was laughing my ass off the whole time. This is the best thing you ever posted. Now back to Gears.