Our Friends Issue 2: Video Games

The encycloshow

I missed a reading that Sam had invited me to, but that’s okay because I missed it to see this month’s Encyclo Show. Last month I’d let them borrow two double A batteries and in appreciation they gave me a free ticket, but probably-mostly I went because Video Games was the topic.

I am going to admit to playing video games. My personal blog is a semi horrible video game theme. I’m currently only playing Starcraft 2, but I’ve had various appetites over the years. Video games and gaming references enter my everyday lexicon and permeate my creative work. When I send off short stories I’m working on to non-players I’ll get notes like, “What’s a Prinny? I don’t want to Google it. To esoteric to use as a metaphor.” Dood! So if ever there was a theme to get me out, this was it. I almost begged to be a contributor. But I had a ton of Here’s the Story work to do, but if they ever do repeats!

I’d invited Kai, a petite Psych friend of mine. She showed up a little late, but she found me no problem and I had a shoulder snuggle buddy for the last act. This, as stated in other reviews, always enhances a performance for me. I need friends to see the same shows I do, because I need them to parse it for me afterwards. I’m no good at being alone with my thoughts. Not right away.

When the show got out, wanting to talk about it nonstop, I told her, “I’ll throw your bike in my car and I’ll take you home.”

She looked skeptical.


“It’s just I don’t live that far away, I might as well bike.”

“But. . . .”

“It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“So it’s a race?” We were outside the venue at this point, and she un-U-locked her bike, the clink of which made a definitive yes sound.

She raced home and I was left alone with my thoughts. I took them to the Dominick’s at Chicago and Damen, where I bought some bread. I did this strange on-edge thing where I feared seeing someone I knew who lived near by while simultaneously really hoping that impossibly she’d be out shopping this late. Maybe I wanted to tell her that I’d seen the show, that I’d had my doubts that it was the best show ever.

Maybe I wanted to have the hilarious conversation of, “So I’m still shopping in your turf.”

Anyway as soon as I get back to Kai’s I say, “I’m going to be terrible and say something.”

“Something terrible? Okay. Then I think you should say something terrible.” Kai’s got this great full smirk when she’s amused. She’s got freckles and tightly chopped red hair, she looks like an adult. Nathan, he says she talks like a professional. I don’t know about that, I know she’s accepting, I know she’s logical, I know she moves things along when they drag.

And I know that I drag, “Oh, it’s okay right.”

“Yes. Terrible, go on.”


“We have established that you’re allowed to have thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Some of them might be terrible but you’re allowed to have them. No proceed.”

“Okay! There were too many women.”

“How many is too many?”

“Any.” I frowned at her.

“Is this true? I don’t play videogames.”

I frowned even deeper. “See that’s exactly it, and I think it’s changing, right. I know it is because I see the bell curve on that shifting, but like—at this show, I just wanted it, so much to be me oriented. I—the thing is, one of the things is or was or whatever—I just wanted it to be for me.”

“And girls couldn’t give that to you.”

“There was a guy who told a story about Marble Madness and his love for that game. He was the first one to go. He’d played it for years and years, he never realized that the B button made the ball go faster. Without that knowledge the game was impossible. That is an experience I can relate to. Losing at games for years. Having games that seemed unbeatable. Ninja Gaiden haunts my sleep. I never owned it and I’m too wimp to play it on emulator. It’s soooo hard.”


“And so that’s what I wanted from the show. But there were a lot of girls who got subjects that they didn’t know about before hand, so it was all . . . wiki stuff. Which is cool, informative, whatever. But it—wasn’t what I was looking for. The last girl to go—”

Kai said, “She seemed nervous.”

“Yeah, but she never played Super Mario. Like what the fuck? How does she get to be the one chosen to finish off the show? It was fine, it was informative and good, and the play between the characters worked, but I wanted something else. It’s got to be so hard to put that show together every month.”

“Which was your favorite piece?”

“Before you got there, this girl did a song about the Oregon Trail based off the line, ‘If you die, don’t give up.’ It was pretty tight.”

Permanent link to this article: https://storyluck.org/video-games/

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  1. […] Chicago. Currently he serves as the Dean of Mean at The Paper Machete, the Minister of Veracity for The Encyclopedia Show, and Host and Overlord of WRITE CLUB. His highly regarded live memoir show Wide Open Beaver Shot of […]

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