Anatomy of Dysfunction

The following was discovered in a leather-bound journal found discarded in a Downtown Minneapolis snowbank. The handwriting is usually legible, but often appears to have been hastily written. The original author remains unknown:

February 19 – Have lost faith, and patience. Not really sure what the point is anymore, and after three months I finally have to admit that it’s over. There’s nothing for me here anymore, and she simply doesn’t have the sa …

Most of the rest of the page is damp and the ink ruined. The faint odor of Corona with lime wafts gently like an olfactory reminder of a bad trip to Tijuana from the tattered page. A few phrases on the rest of the page are readable.

… encourage me that there will be others, but I’m …

… is lovely enough, but really not my type. This one is too Asian. That one is too old. I feel shallow …

… always more games in the sea. Frankly, that’s where I think they all need to be dumped. I will never love again!

The next page appears to have been ripped out, but after that the journal becomes more coherent and cohesive and opens with the completion of the missing entry from the previous page.

… drunk! I don't regret a thing ... too damn many Moose in this state anyway. Who cares? She’s gone for good. I ain’t crawling back. I've got standards. She'll see.

Entry ends abruptly, followed on the next page by.

... I suppose. Note to self: do not get dazzled by the lights, the sounds, the swag.

May 14 – Lots of tinsel. No substance. Oooh, look at my tasty bump map. Aren't my curves hi-def? I’m anti-aliased everywhere, you wanna see? No thanks, babe. Seen it before. Once I get you home, jaggies everywhere. I know the story.

Oooh, did you see that image? Yeah, I saw it. Show it to me when it’s not all pre-rendered. Lots of pigs in lipstick, if you know what I mean.

May 15 – And just like there she is. My old flame, but completely different. She's had some work done, but it works for her! Gorgeous, but deep. I mean full-on 4X kind of deep. Rockin this amazing body and talking Meson blaster upgrades with titanium plated hulls. I don’t even know what that means, but I want to touch.

Got her new number and a couple of pictures. She promises she’ll be out of her current relationships and available by …

More water stains corrupt the text. Entries pick up on the reverse side of the page

… her in a magazine today. Cover, baby. There she was, sleek and sexy, all dolled up in the kind of unrealistic sheen you can only get from some zealously unrealistic photoshop work. I know I shouldn’t be falling for her, but I’m just a man. I got neeeeeeeds!

August 20 – She keeps stalling me. I’ll be there in July has turned into I’ll try to make it by Christmas. I have these summertime bimbos to keep me busy, but they are hardly worth the effort to slip them out of their packaging. It’s one or two nights at best. Totally mediocre.

September 12 – I find myself surfing the web for hours looking at her pictures. Pictures I’ve already seen a dozen times. Other guys are starting to take notice, but it don’t matter. She’s mine. We’re for real. We’ve got a connection. A thing.

She says waiting will make it that much better. I've seen tractors haul smaller loads of sh ...

At this point there are several mostly unreadable entries that have been marred by more water stains, though there is some reason to believe a few awkward drawings have been added to these pages. Not all of them appear to be “appropriate” or “proportional”, and there is a sense that the author’s perspective is in an altered state. Then there are three completely blank pages until in a flurry the full story is revealed.

December 13th – Those bastards stock-blocked me! The love of my life, this idea I’ve invested all my energy and hope into, and they tell me I don’t have a reservation. Well, since when did a (gerund expletive redacted) reservation stand between a man and true love?

As she sat eyeing me from the shelf behind, I felt like maybe _I_ had done something wrong. Maybe I had failed her.

December 14 – I found her in a third rate Wal-Mart on the wrong side of the light-rail tracks. She was sitting there, as if she had been waiting her whole life for me to come. To find her. To rescue her. Tonight we are together.

December 21 – She is everything I ever dreamed. I am lost even in these moments I spend apart. Beautiful and deep and boundless. I will blog it from every roof top, I am in love for the first and last time.

December 26 — No relationship is perfect, and the fact that I’ve begun to see the occasional faults in my love only makes our love stronger. Of course she is beautiful; never mind that she dresses exactly the same way for every occasion. Of course she is smart; so what if she doesn’t entirely make sense. It only proves that she is willing to take chances. She says the same things a lot, I suppose, but it’s so witty that I wonder what kind of lout would dare notice.

January 2 – You know, it would be nice if I could save my relationship whenever I wanted for once, rather than waiting for her to decide when the time is right. I'm just saying, sometimes she can be a little inflexible.

There. Now that I’ve said it I feel better. It's all good.

January 10 – Met up with another game today. Just for a little while. It was a nice cleansing breath so I can go back to appreciating my true love.

I’m not kidding myself right.

January 12 – It’s over. Again. Of course she turned out to be just like before, a pretty distraction that never fulfills her promise. I’m fed up. I’ve lost faith. Again-AGAIN! There’s nothing here for me anymore, and this time it is o-v-e-r. Again.

As I close the book, the stale smell of Mexican beer fills my nostrils.

Comments

Great article, Elysium. I really enjoyed the journal approach. So I'll ask the obvious question: Was there a particular game(s) that inspired this? If so, will you tell us, or do we have to speculate?

Did you see the news about Fable III?

It's not Madden, is it?

Pretty soon Elysium will be holding a boom box out on Madden 10's lawn, John Hughes style.

Elysium wrote:

As she sat eyeing me from the shelf behind, I felt like maybe _I_ had done something wrong. Maybe I had failed her.

*sniff* This part got to me.

I don't know if this is directed at any one game in particular. It seems to speak to many games over the years.

It's a man baby!
A man that looks surprisingly like John Madden... I'm just saying.

After I started reading, I thought for sure this was going to be about WoW. I'll throw my hat into the "probably speaks of a lot of different gaming experiences" camp.

Also, does it bother anyone else that the descenders of the title font collide with the cap height of the dateline font?

/why yes, I am a huge geek
//why do you ask?

But aren't the flaws in the relationship part of what makes them special? Perhaps it's just me, but I find myself more in love with flawed but ambitious games than with games that are slickly executed and without aspirations to anything more.

Minarchist wrote:

Also, does it bother anyone else that the descenders of the title font collide with the cap height of the dateline font?

Bugs me to no end.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Also, does it bother anyone else that the descenders of the title font collide with the cap height of the dateline font?

Bugs me to no end.

Yes.

It's like reading a Facebook wall.

Minarchist wrote:

Also, does it bother anyone else that the descenders of the title font collide with the cap height of the dateline font?

Not until you mentioned it, now it hurts my eyes each time, and I barely know my Times New Roman from my Comic Sans.

Just for that ... check out where the descenders of any regular thread title end up when viewing the thread!

Minarchist wrote:

After I started reading, I thought for sure this was going to be about WoW. I'll throw my hat into the "probably speaks of a lot of different gaming experiences" camp.

I couldn't help but think WoW, but then again, whenever Elysium speaks, I think WoW.

Good little read about how wonderfully fickle we are.

Elysium wrote:

Oooh, did you see that image? Yeah, I saw it. Show it to me when it’s not all pre-rendered. Lots of pigs in lipstick, if you know what I mean.

That quote really sums it up, especially when you read into it more deeply. Anyway, great little read. I feel like we need to make a movie of you, a bottle and your tortuous downhill slide into plain old web surfing.

and I would like to know what game or games truly pushed you over the edge to writing this.

Rat Boy wrote:

It's like reading a Facebook wall.

Grubber likes this.

I'm not even done reading this yet, but had to jump down and comment that "stock-blocked" is f*cking brilliant and I love it.

PyromanFO wrote:

Pretty soon Elysium will be holding a boom box out on Madden 10's lawn, John Hughes style.

Almost hate to out myself like this, but I think you're thinking of Cameron Crowe

All Hail King Corona!

That is all.

bwahaha, just awesome

absurddoctor wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Also, does it bother anyone else that the descenders of the title font collide with the cap height of the dateline font?

Not until you mentioned it, now it hurts my eyes each time, and I barely know my Times New Roman from my Comic Sans.

Just for that ... check out where the descenders of any regular thread title end up when viewing the thread!

I've never noticed either, now it will plague me.

Glad to see that I'm not the only one tired of seeing style over substance. Far too many developers nowadays concentrate too much on the style side of things... then again, the same can be said of some of the consumers. Both are to blame really. The consumers want their games to be seductively sexy, and the developers are all too content to give them just that.

I have these summertime bimbos to keep me busy, but they are hardly worth the effort to slip them out of their packaging. It’s one or two nights at best. Totally mediocre.

That's real classy... ...and classIC!