Sunday, July 15, 2012

Possible Beginning of a possible anthology story about ghosts

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, along with a list of stories I'm considering trying to write.]

So, I died. One moment I was sitting at my computer playing a game, the next moment I was dead. I think it was something in my brain or other, but I don't really know, medicine has never been my strong suit, the point is I died and I became a ghost.
Now you might think that as a ghost I'd spend my time going around helping my friends and family get over the loss, or something like that. You might think that I'd look on in horror as the discovered my pornography collection and I tried to explain, “No, I'm not actually into that, I just have this thing about collecting whole sets and it had one thing that I liked so I felt compelled to get that even though I never...” you'd be wrong.
You're overlooking an important point. I died at the computer while playing a game. My head hit the keyboard before my body slid off the chair and hit the floor, and after that there was no more input. Which means that my character suddenly had no one guiding him. He just stood there, until he was gunned down. Which meant that the game was over. A little bit of “game over” animation and then the session ended. It stopped. It ceased. It died.
I died, my character died, then the game died. And what happens when something dies? It creates a ghost. And the ghost of that game was one in which my character, already a ghost before the game itself died, no longer played a role. Without the character the ghost world was hurtling towards chaos and evil and really bad things.
And it wasn't alone. You see when people win a game they tend to consider that the end of it, they stop playing. So any given person usually only creates one ghostworld in which things went right, but every stop along the way, every game over, every time they abandoned a session in favor of a save, those are all ghosts too.
The victories, the saved kingdoms, the thwarted apocalypses, the averted dooms, the driven out invasions, those are all in the extreme minority. Much more common are the triumphant armies of darkness, the ascendant evil, the cataclysm that did occur, the … well the bad stuff. The unhappy endings.
And, upon my death, that's the world I was initiated into. With a blow to the back of the head, for some reason. I think a handshake and a PowerPoint presentation would have been a better introduction.


[Original Work Index]


  1. Hmmmmm!

    What is the CPU substrate for the ghosts of games to run on? Might someone be trying to get access to that? (See also Greg Bear's Permutation City for a particularly far-out confidence trick...)

  2. Oooo I like this idea.

    As for the problems you mentioned on Anamardoll about it ... maybe if instead of all ghost games living in one place, they all lived on different spectral planes (like how all radio stations coexist on slightly different frequencies, if you want to get all "techno babble" about it). That way, you can make hilarious reference to other games in other spectral planes. But the character you're writing about is in the ghost of a game that you entirely invented, so no worries about copywrite.

    It's not a perfect solution - I can see a bunch of problems with it already. But it's a thought.