The year is 2049. Console and computer gaming has come so far from 30 years ago. The hard-core gamers stay attuned to the latest developments to keep their edge in the MMOs*.
Harold was not one of those players. Harold dabbled in gaming. Geordy, his wife, always bought him a gadget for his system for Christmas. As he had no children, he often called one of his nieces or nephews over to help him integrate it into his system.
This year’s Christmas gift from Geordy was a pair of virtual reality gloves with virtual reality goggles. Harold sat down with a glass of wine and the booklet of instructions. He was determined to figure it out for himself this time. His nieces and nephews never refused, and they never ridiculed him for his lack of gaming knowledge, but each time they heard his voice on the phone, there was an audible sigh, as if to say, “Uncle Harold is stuck again.” His pride was wounded a little each time. This time he wanted to call them over to the house to show them he had figured it out.
It took him 3 glasses of wine and 8 hours, but Harold was able to get the gloves and goggles working. He did not own any of the games that would maximize the abilities of the gear though, so his play was limited. Harold needed advice on the best games for his setup and started reading about one called Helium Volcano. He must have been making weird faces, as Geordy, who happened to look up from her crocheting, said, “What’s that quizzical look about, Harold? Stuck again?”
Harold looked up and smiled. “No honey, I think I just found a game to get good at, so I can shock the kids when they come over this weekend.”
Harold purchased Helium Volcano from the MMO and started practicing. The difficulty level stamped on the description said moderate, but it seemed way harder than that. Plus, he was confused about the big red button on the wristband of the gloves that said “RealTime (c)” on it. Harold realized he would need the kids’ help after all.
Jeannie, John, Joni, and Georgie showed up with their gloves and goggles – and their hunger. Geordy ordered take-out pizza and the kids showed Harold the basics while waiting for it to arrive. Harold was a good student, but Harold’s ego often got in the way of their instructions. The 4 teenagers often exchanged side-glances with each other as Harold insisted his way was better. As they loved their Uncle Harold, they indulged him and were quite patient.
They finished their pizza, and then it was time to start their first game of Helium Volcano. The premise of the game was to float up to the terrain near the edge of the volcano with helium packs and try to snag the lava for energy points without exploding or melting. Another risk area was the volcano erupting and wreaking havoc. Before all that, they needed to climb the foothills of the mountains before lifting off with the helium.
Harold was doing ok with climbing the foothills. In the game his team mates helped him when he stumbled. It was when they started rising with the helium packs that Harold began to falter. With his virtual glove controllers he kept giving too much helium. Jeannie said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” but Uncle Harold wouldn’t listen. He zoomed high in the air and then held his position above the volcano. He could see the temperature rising on his goggle gauge. He felt now was as good a time as any to push the “RealTime (c)” button on his wrist and said as much just as he reached to push the button.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” said Georgie, who grabbed for his uncle’s wrist, but not quick enough. There was a loud crackling sound coming from the television and a smell of burnt wiring. Snatching off his goggles, Harold’s eyes bugged out as lava came pouring out of the television screen.
*MMO is an acronym for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (got the term from my son, fyi, who is one of those geeks who plays them)
Fandango’s FOWC is quizzical, the Word of the Day Challenge is virtual, Paula’s 3 Things Challenge words are wine, stamp, helium, and Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Daily Prompts are “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” and the photo.