March 4, 2009

Domestic City, Part Nine of Nine

When Emily turned 45, her immediate family showed up at her house in the tradition of celebration if not the spirit. Emily's younger brother had two boys, who, out of everyone assembled in the living room, were the worst at concealing their boredom.

It had been suggested to Emily's nephews that she liked video games -- or did, at one point -- and so a quick trip to EB would result in a surefire birthday present. After getting saddled with some kitchenware and historical fiction, Emily was handed their gift last. She unwrapped it to find something called Sudoku: Another Wet Weekend for the DS, and she smiled and said thanks.

While Emily made coffee, her brother, her sister and their spouses argued in her kitchen about whether to relocate their mother to a rest home. She passed them some cups and withdrew to the kitchen counter, where she stirred her coffee in silence and listened, but not really, to her siblings' debate over responsibility. After a minute, she excused herself.

Emily's nephews were outside, in the back seat of their parents' car and huddled over some handheld game system that she had never even seen before. They were fighting over whose turn it was. Folding her arms over the window, she asked: "Do you guys have any games where you can shoot things?"

5 comments:

Mitch Krpata said...

I... I think I love you.

Tim Roberts said...

I know I love him.

Is it possible you can make a part 10 of 9?

Pala said...

Wow. This was very interesting. At first I was expecting something like CAD's It's a gamer's Life(1 of 7). Which is alright, but really aiming of course to make (/push) a statement about games.

Here we've got two lives which share, only incidentally, video games. IMO (contra Tim Roberts above) the author could have finished after #8. #9 is really just trying to not leave us on a depressing note, and while not bad, doesn't really add anything to the tale.

#7 and #8 taken together, really highlight what is novel here. On one hand the story has shown us how video-games are non-trivial, e.g. a motif in forming identities (etc), but then also Emily's so very right (albeit insensitive) when she shouts "What the fuck is going on? Stop talking about video games!"

Just one more thing - this might seem a bit contrarian at first, but: this series wasn't about video games, it was about people. Readers: don't conflate 'games that people play' with what's shown here, viz. 'people who play games'.

Thanks again, enjoyed the read!

Vimes said...

This was a great set of stories, some completely believable, some quite unlikely, but always an awesome read.

Yu Zun said...

I wish I wrote Domestic City - it's so... awesome.