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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: Game Over
By Marita Thelander
09/15/08


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The sound of his skateboard whirred along the sidewalk, although he couldn’t hear it. Ricky’s screaming metal music blasted into his brain via his mp3 player. With his hood over his head, and his hair in his eyes, he pushed with his left foot to pick up speed. He had his eye on the mega-arcade ahead.

Ricky stopped at the No Skateboard sign and flipped his board with a quick move of his foot and sat it on the counter to be checked-in. He adjusted his skull-plastered hoodie along with his jeans that hung half off his rear-end exposing burgundy boxers.

Eyes down, he sauntered to his favorite video game. His adrenalin pumped as the thrill and violence of the game coursed through him. Pure evil absorbed into his very being until he couldn’t contain anymore.

Bored, Ricky wandered through the arcade.

“Hey there,” a voice interrupted the privacy beneath his hood. “Wanna give our new virtual game a try?”

The colorful title didn’t appeal to him; The Game of Life.

“You mean, like the board game?” Ricky’s raspy unused voice spoke for the first time that day. “No thanks.”

“I’m tellin’ ya, it’s not the childish game you think it is. I think you’ll like it. But,” the manager taunted him, “If you’re not up for the challenge…”

Ricky eyed the virtual game booth and shrugged, “Fine, but I think it looks stupid.”

Inside the booth, Ricky put on the obnoxious clunky visor. While being strapped in the seat, he slipped his arms into what resembled long gloves and grabbed the steering wheel.

“This game is a bit different from any other virtual game,” the manager started to explain.

“Whatever,” Ricky interrupted.

“Ah, but you need to know something,” undaunted by the rude boy, “your thought patterns dictate the outcome of this game. This could be a true picture of your Game of Life.” The manager stepped out and flipped the switch.

“Dude,” Ricky shouted.

“Glad you like it.”

Ricky jumped at the strange voice.

“I am your narrator, Bob. Your first task will be to select a game car.”

The visual effects of someone steering him to look at a car lot shocked Ricky and he jumped. “I’ll take the black convertible,” Ricky could feel himself climbing into the car. “Sweet.”

“Sweet it is,” Bob responded.

“Are you going to talk the whole time? I’m kind of the loner type and would rather not hear you.”

“I will only speak when you desire.”

Ricky revved the engine a bit and screeched out of the car lot. This could be the ride of his life for sure. As he crested a hill, the game caused him to stop. Hmmm, do I only get to move a little bit at a time like the board game?

“Yes,” Bob’s voice startled Ricky.

“I didn’t ask you anything.”

“Ah, but you did, in your thought-actions. The game senses the slightest change in your body chemistry and translates it.”

“That’s a bit intrusive.”

Ricky’s ‘turn’ came and he sped over the hill and cruised around the game. He scoffed at the education and marriage options as he hit the accelerator. Along the way, he met virtual people, enjoyed a game of pool at a diner and shamelessly flirted with the waitress. He even grew accustomed to Bob’s narrations.

Back in his car, Ricky heard something land in his back seat. He glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a baby in a blue car seat. “Umm, wait a minute,” Ricky’s voice seemed nervous. “Where’d the kid come from? I am positive I wasn’t sending any I want a kid vibes out.”

“The child in question is a result of the careless way you treated the female at the diner. Your very thoughts dictate the outcome of this game.” Bob continued his explanation, “It is time to pick up your paycheck.”

Ricky revved the engine and screeched the tires again. The baby wailed in fear. “Stop that. Make him stop.” Bob didn’t respond and the baby continued to cry.

His black convertible pulled up to a fast food restaurant, “I’m not hungry. Can we just go get my paycheck?” Ricky hoped Bob would respond and stop the baby from crying at the same time.

“This is your place of employment.”

‘You’re kidding me, right? I got a kid and I flip burgers? This is my life?”

The game went black and the door opened. “Game over,” Bob said.


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Member Comments
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Beth LaBuff 09/18/08
I love the sci-fi/virtual reality feel, especially where the game can read thought-actions. I had to smile when Ricky requested that Bob not talk so much. :) Then the addition of the baby to the car because of Ricky's thoughts was superb. Your ending is excellent with his eagerness to pick up his paycheck, then finding out he flipped burgers for his job. I totally enjoyed this!!
Laury Hubrich 09/19/08
I love this. So very funny. And what a thought - to be able to really enter a board game. Oh my! And with the fun is real life disappointments. Great job!
Shelley Ledfors 09/21/08
I LOVE this! It's very well written and drew me right in. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 09/21/08
I LOVE this! Can I use it in my high school class, please? Send me a PM if you wouldn't mind.
Julie Seeto09/22/08
Great story with clever concept - has me hoping the experience has made a difference in the way he thinks.
LauraLee Shaw09/24/08
Wowzer, clever and creative just don't go far enough to describe how magnificent this is. Wowzer.
Dee Yoder 09/24/08
Wow--if only this could be real for school! What an impact that might have, right? Nothing like seeing yourself in your own future to get a person to THINK!
Leah Nichols 09/24/08
This is a wonderful piece....I wanted to keep reading more! Great job, and excellent writing!
Chely Roach09/24/08
This was so cool...very well written. What a great message weaved in with awesome writing! Loved it!
Celeste Ammirata09/25/08
This is really good. I love the use of the virtual reality game. If only every teenager had one to play. I hope the mc learned from the game. Very well written. Great job :-)
Joshua Janoski09/26/08
Very cool story. I could picture Ricky perfectly based on your descriptions.

I just wish you had more words to work with, because I would have liked to see the game last longer. It would have been cool to see how his life would progress years down the road because of his decisions.

Thank you so much for sharing this! Congrats on the highly commended honor. :)