There was a computer game, I was given it, one of my friends gave it to me; he was playing it, he said, it's brilliant, you should play it, and I did, and it was. I copied it off the disk he gave me for anyone, I wanted everyone to play it. Everyone should have this much fun. I sent it upline to bulletin boards but mainly I got it out to all of my friends. (Personal contact. That's the way it was given to me.) My friends were like me: some were scared of viruses, someone gave you a game on disk, next week or Friday the 13th it reformatted your hard disk or corrupted your memory. But this one never did that. This was dead safe. Even my friends who didn't like computers started to play: as you get better the game gets harder; maybe you never win but you can get pretty good. I'm pretty good. Of course I have to spend a lot of time playing it. So do my friends. And their friends. And just the people you meet, you can see them, walking down the old motorways or standing in queues, away from their computers, away from the arcades that sprang up overnight, but they play it in their heads in the meantime, combining shapes, puzzling over contours, putting colours next to colours, twisting signals to new screen sections, listening to the music. Sure, people think about it, but mainly they play It. My record's eighteen hours at a stretch. 40,012 points, 3 fanfares. You play through the tears, the aching wrist, the hunger, after a while it all goes away. All of it except the game, I should say. There's no room in my mind anymore; no room for other things. We copied the game, gave it to our friends. It transcends language, occupies our time, sometimes I think I'm forgetting things these days. I wonder what happened to the TV. There used to be TV. I wonder what will happen when I run out of canned food. I wonder where all the people went. And then I realise how, if I'm fast enough, I can put a black square next to a red line, mirror it and rotate them so they both disappear, clearing the left block for a white bubble to rise… (So they both disappear.) And when the power goes off for good then I Will play it in my head until I die.

Uploaded 09/01/2008
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