It is the year 2300. At least it is in this video game I’m playing. It’s a virtual reality. But it’s improved. The best in the market. Actually, it is so good it hasn’t reached the market yet. I’m testing it. That’s right. I’m one of those ridiculously lucky humans who make a living out of testing video games – everybody’s dream.
I’m aware it sounds like paradise, but it does take some effort and knowledge and experience. You have to earn it. And sometimes you have to test really boring games, dysfunctional games or plain weird games. Luckily, I’ve earned the right and the reputation to have a chance at trying out all these new games yet to be released.
In this case, I’m part of a really big deal. A huge company is developing this game that is surely going to change the world of video games forever. At least it will if it works out. That’s why I’m here. “Here” means a secret location, that’s how important the game is.
I’m even wearing all new equipment, controllers, helmet, microphone, it all is a new design. I think it’s fitting that the video game takes place in the future because that’s how I feel right now.
Technically, the thing will be composed of several different games. The one I’ll be testing is about paintball. Which sounds great. Everybody loves paintball. It is fun, and it is exciting, it is competitive. It can attract a wide demographic.
So the game starts fine. It looks nice, the graphics are on point, the story is well developed, and now it’s time for the action. I can take all the time I want to play, and I plan on doing the most of it. As long as the game allows, of course. Because of course as soon as I start playing, I notice a few mistakes here and there. But who would have thought that the mistake made the game even more interesting?
The thing is that it starts as a regular paintball game. I got my team, and our color is orange, the enemy is color green. Everybody is ready, the adrenaline is flowing and when it starts all hell breaks loose. Because of course, everybody is hiding, each team on one extreme of the field. But we, my team, we are not hiding from each other, obviously, we are a team.
So imagine my surprise when I get shot as soon as the game starts. I get shot repeatedly, so I start shooting away almost without looking. Of course, I notice that I’m hitting my team, but they’re hitting me back. Our points are going down, which is interesting because we had zero, to begin with. When we reach -30 I let loose. If the game wants me to play against my team, let’s go.
When the time for that game ends, I have to take off my helmet because it was just so intense. However, there’s a massive grin on my face. It was the wildest thing ever. In real life, you would never have a chance at hitting people so carelessly so up close.
“What do you think so far?” A woman wearing a suit asks me. She and her brother are the main developers of the game. They look anxious, the man is pale, but they must notice my smile.
“I’m having the time of my life! Let’s go, another round!” I exclaim, and I put on my helmet again.
My enthusiasm reminds me why I love video games so much. I probably look equally as excited as someone who’s going to perform a crazy, dangerous stunt on a bike on fire or whatever. But I feel like this game of paintball is the most exciting thing ever for me.
And I’m not that wrong. Because the next few games are nothing if not wilder. Halfway through one of the battles, my character becomes invisible, and I can only see myself when people shot me. I’m determined to stay invisible. The next round is completely different.
Everybody is completely invisible, so I have to go around shooting everywhere like a madman. Sometimes I could land a hit on someone, and they stayed visible enough to receive more hits, but it was just ridiculous. Also, they could shoot me anyway. I had never lost so violently in a game, but oddly enough I was loving it.
Things continued to get weirder. At some point, my character started breaking down, into little pieces. My left hand stayed back, floating. Then I lost my head and afterward a leg. Towards the end of the round, I was just a right hand shooting a paintball gun without any coordination. It was so much fun I had to try it again. This time my team started breaking down as well. It was the most bizarre and hilarious thing to move around a field watching random legs move by themselves.
After my character drowning one minute into a round underwater and watching a member of my team give up because they were just tired, this became my favorite game ever.
When I was done, I took off my helmet and stared at the siblings responsible for such a crazy thing.
“Call me the paintball king!” I exclaimed proudly, standing tall and smiling wildly.
“But you missed every time.” The woman shyly reminded me while her brother typed away furiously into a computer.
Both of them looked as anxious as ever, they were visibly sweating and staring worriedly at their game.
“Was all that on purpose?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Yes…” She said, uncertain.
Her brother looked up, alarmed. I had a feeling she was lying but just testing my reaction.
“Well then, it was perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing!” I said happily.
That left them two options, listening to the lunatic who tried their faulty game and loved it or fixing it. At least I know the brother started laughing until he ended up crying.