Creating the Game - Chapter 2Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-04-29 22:59:40 EDT
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Hugo sits in the bedroom of his house in a high-backed, purple chair that looks similar to a throne. He holds a tiny, red-handled screwdriver and leans over a white box filled with circuit boards and countless wires. Red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple – the entire rainbow is represented by the cluster of color spilling from the box.
“It’s finally finished, Isaac!” Hugo yells over the sound of automatic gunfire and explosions.
The sound stops, abruptly. A few seconds later Hugo's younger brother walks in with a semi-interested look on his angular young face. He glances around at the mess of wires and laughs, heartily, then leans against the frame of Hugo’s door and shakes his head. "Sure you are," he says with a chuckle.
Isaac is 25. He lives with his brother. He's a friend of ours. He doesn't really like Hugo, even though he loves him like a brother. This might be because I don’t like Hugo, but maybe not. My influence is great, but Hugo’s nearly impossible to like anyway. He proves that now.
“I’ve done it,” he says with a wry smile. “I am going to be a god, Isaac. Do you hear me? A god.”
Isaac nods, skeptically, as Hugo stuffs the mess of wires into the box and replaces the final panel of the computer. He screws it in place and places the box gently on his desk. He plugs into a surge protector for power, then organizes and connects the speakers, mouse, keyboard and monitor. He pushes the power button and five chimes ring out…
Isaac laughs. “Theme from Close Encounters, huh?”
Hugo smiles and nods, excitedly. His right leg bounces up and down almost uncontrollably as the monitor turns on and the machine loads. It seems to take forever.
Isaac asks, “Are you sure about this, broseph?”
Hugo sighs. “Maybe not. But in a few minutes it won’t matter. When this machine kicks on I’m going to build my own world and interact with programs I create. It will be perfect.”
“Why didn’t you just go buy “The Sims?” Isaac asks with a laugh.
I can see the look in Hugo’s eye and know he’s about to go off on a tangent. Try to remember these are the words of the idiot Hugo. Not of me, your humble and benevolent narrator.
“Because that game is censored and limiting!” Hugo brays, like an ass. “There are people out there, brother, who are too irresponsible to watch what their children do, so they try to censor everything they don't approve of to save time. They have issues with words like shit and fuck because they're too busy fucking or shitting to actually talk to their shitty, fucking kids.”
Isaac sighs, loudly. He's annoyed. Hugo doesn’t notice.
"Or ... or they’re too busy trying to be as cool as their kid, as if that matters! Do you know how many times I see these pathetic old women dressed sluttier than their slutty daughters? It’s like seeing two strippers walking down the street, blathering on about Katy Perry’s fucking dog!”
Isaac, bored until now, perks up. “It’s a cat, bro. And her name is Kitty Purry.”
Hugo stares at him blankly. “Why do you know that?”
Isaac shrugs. “I dunno. I probably heard it on TV … or Jennifer told me.”
Jennifer is Isaac’s off-and-on girlfriend. She’s 23 and dislikes books, math, rainy days and Hugo.
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Hugo says, with an eye roll for good measure.
“It’s not that bad,” Isaac says. “I hate her music, but she has to know how silly the name is, which is what makes it so purr-fect. Plus she’s hot and I want to … you know … bang her.“
Hugo nods and sighs. He knows. He’s heard all this before. “You should create her in this game,” Isaac continues, and Hugo gives him the dirtiest look I’ve seen him give anyone in a long time.
“Anyway,” Hugo says, with emphasis, “That’s just what one group of people do. Others seem to feel like they have the right to censor things because they know better than everyone else. Period. Forever and ever. And Isaac, let me tell you, those people are much worse than the uninformed and lazy. Those people are dangerous. Regardless, neither group will be able to implement any controls in my game, because it's mine.”
Isaac nods, conceding the point. Hugo continues, excitedly. “By creating this I get to make my world exactly how I want it and do whatever I want. If I want the programs to be able to fly around like Neo, then they’re damn sure going to. If I want them to be able to cut someone’s head off with a chainsaw, then they’re going to be able to cut someone’s fucking head off with a chainsaw.”
“Yeah!” Isaac yells, a bit too passionately.
Hugo shakes his head, patiently, like the nincompoop he is, and spits out something like, “I wouldn’t do that, of course, but I want the option to do so. There are no limits in my program.”
“What is it, anyway?” Isaac asks. “A computer?”
Hugo shakes his head no. “It’s a computer inasmuch as it uses hardware and software to make it run like any other computer. The software I installed allows me to create a virtual world where I can build environments around the programs I create to inhabit said world, but any software engineer or amateur computer builder could do that. The trick is my program.”
He looks at Isaac, who seems to notice how red Hugo’s eyes are from a lack of sleep. Hugo smiles manically and continues, “ I’ve created an advanced artificial intelligence. I spent all my free time writing code for a year, you know? I’d come home from work and just sit in here working it, but I’m finished. I’ve tested it and it works. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s alive, Isaac.”
“It still looks like a computer,” Isaac mumbles. “There’s even an Apple logo on it.”
“It does look like a computer,” Hugo admits. “The circuit boards and wires inside the case are the brain that allows the program I’ve created to think and learn. The box lets me put it on my desk. The monitor is there so I can see what happens. If I want to listen to what’s going on, I turn on the speakers. Inside is a living, non-breathing creation and it’s all mine.”
Hugo smiles, lustfully, and for a fraction of a moment my hatred of him deadens, but only slightly. Isaac shuffles over and sits on the bed behind him. I can feel the awkward tension, despite the fact that they are brothers. Isaac really dislikes intimacy. He is very angry. He is a friend of ours.
Hugo turns to our friend and says, “The only thing is I can’t turn the machine off without losing everything . I can cut power to the monitor, but unless I unplug the machine it never stops going. There’s no way to save and pick up where I left off, so our power bill is going to be a bit higher for a while.”
Isaac nods. “It sounds like the computer from War Games,” he says with a grin.
Hugo laughs. “Joshua. Yeah. Maybe I should just sell mine to the government for a few million dollars when I’m done.”
“So why don’t you then? Isaac asks.” Hugo pauses for a moment and I can feel the false pride dripping out of him. He smugly replies, “Because this is about the whole of humanity, not the corrupt government of some country that only exists as a collection of lines on a map."
Isaac ignores the previous comment. He's scratching his chin and looking at his brother like he's crazy. “You know, Hugo, I've seen all the Terminator movies and I think you’ve basically created Sky Net.”
“Whatever,” Hugo laughs. “It's not dangerous. I can shut it thing down at any time if it becomes fully self-aware, but that doesn't matter. It’s not connected to the internet and there's no way for it to connect to any other computer or anything. This is strictly for fun. There are no global repercussions here. It’s just an experiment in human nature. It's a game. It's my game.”
Isaac pauses, “You’re playing with fire, Hugo.”
“Which is only dangerous if you’re an idiot.” Hugo replies, curtly. “I’m not hampered by the rules of someone else anymore. If I say that gravity doesn’t exist in my world, it doesn’t. No limits, Isaac. None. I can create a floating city in the clouds like Star Wars or a barren wasteland like Fall Out. I can do whatever I want. I have complete control over everything inside it.”
“So what are you going to do?” Isaac asks.”
“I’m going to create myself, then I’m going to create Laura, so I can figure how to fix our relationship. Then I’ll have some fun with it for a while. I’m not sure yet. But yeah, Laura…”
Laura is Hugo’s ex-girlfriend. They’ve been broken up for a year. It’s been a feeding frenzy of negativity that I’ve grown fat on. I wish she’d come back so she could leave again. I miss her.
“Let it go, Hugo,” Isaac sighs.
“I can’t, Isaac,” Hugo replies without looking at him.