Heather returned to the states, her father ill with cancer. Alone and bored, I remained in London to finish my final year at Goldsmiths. From the sleep of childhood and all its aimless memories, an old computer game returned to haunt me.
My first recollection was a flashback at the airport, triggered by a scent: the same carpet deodorizer my mother used to use when I was a kid. Transported away from the echoes of Heathrow’s PA system and the hubbub of waiting travelers, I found myself back in my old bedroom. A child sat at at the machine, intent on the controls. Deja vu crept over me.
Pixels shone like gemstones in darkness. Phosphors moved over the face of the deep and formed into random landscapes. Every play was different, a 64Kb window onto a universe of iterations. Music, naked square waves, rang out. I’d forgotten that place for a decade, but it had not forgotten me.
In the blackness of the monitor’s glass, I caught my younger self’s eye; a chill tightened my skin and I was back in the airport terminal, staring at the contrails of my fiancée’s flight home.
Thus begins the beautiful story Nomen Ludi by Rob Beschizza over at BoingBoing – a story about childhood memories, about shattered dreams – but most of all: about how rewards never manage to keep up with the quest that lead to them.
Which poses the question … do we, as game designers, have to provide a reward for every quest we invent?
Read the story yourself, it is awesome.