Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday evening, between sleep and wakefulness.

Almost midnight. Several hours into the game, and you're already doing your second lengthy dungeon run in that single session. You're lying down in front of the TV, head propped up on two plump pillows, with feet resting on the slightly warm PS2. You can feel the console's almost imperceptible trembling as its laser read the contents of the game disc from time to time.

At this point your fingers are now on auto-pilot, knowing which buttons to press and the order on how they should be pressed to surf through the menu effortlessly as your tiny people in the TV did your battles for you. At first you dedicate a minuscule part of your thinking processes to consider your next move while battling Shadows. Pressing down, down, X brings you to the Persona page, where you select your newly-acquired Persona and use it in battle. You do this so you can register its card in the Velvet Room.

About an half hour (or more, you could not tell anymore) later your eyes feel heavy and your body wants to assume the fetal position that it usually takes during sleep. But you want to forge on through the dungeon - you want to know what would happen in the following days, whether someone else appears on the Midnight Channel, or if you passed the first midterm exams in the tiny virtual world.

So you did. Your hands still cradle the controller, fingers - which already developed minds of their own - dancing on the buttons, waiting for your decisions no longer. Your eyes remain trained on the TV screen, but are focused no longer.

Eventually you encounter a fox in one of the red-carpeted rooms, and it's looking up at your character with its sly yet coy half-smile. As you notice the small hearts printed on the fox's frilly apron you hazily wonder, in the back of your mind, whether or not the animal is a pooftie.

You tentatively reach out a hand and touched his fur, and suddenly you notice an unrecognizable scent of a subtle yet consistent, flat quality. Your mind is in a haze; you cannot tell if the scent came from the strange fox.

Then you hear a knocking on your door, and you try to turn your head towards the noise but instead you feel your body jolting mildly - suddenly your mind and your awareness are back in your room, and you realize that you were not running your hands on the fox's fur but instead remained cradling your controller. You also realize that the knocking on the door which snapped you back to reality wasn't real as well.

With great effort you sit up and reach behind the PS2 to switch off the console, and with shivering fingers press the power switch of your TV. Staying in that narrow border between sleep and wakefulness never failed to make you feel utterly disoriented.

Then you pick up your DS and booted up Space Invaders Extreme 2.