Saving the Date
Me: So, I did it.
Me: I quit the game, like you said.
Felicia: Are you sure? Then why am I still here?
Me: I’m writing my own ending.
Felicia: Oh? How does it turn out?
Me: I’m not sure, I haven’t thought that far ahead.
Felicia: Well what do you want to happen?
Me: I want to find out why you wanted to go out to dinner. There was something you were going to say to me.
Felicia: Oh, that. With all these crazy things going on, I’d forgotten.
Me: So? What is it?
Felicia: Well we have a problem now, don’t we? Anything I ask will just be you putting words into my mouth, saying what you want to hear. If I told you I loved you, would it mean anything?
Me: Maybe I could write a down ending. I could say that you were actually planning to break up with me.
Felicia: Do you think that would fit with the story so far?
Me: Perhaps not. But it wouldn’t be as trite as a marriage proposal.
Felicia: Marriage?! Who said anything about marriage? I love you, okay, but I’m not thinking of marriage yet. Besides, I’m conventional about these things. If this were a marriage proposal, you’d be the one asking me.
Me: Okay, okay. But still, your profession of love is kind of weak. It’s really a bit over-eager on my part to imagine that. I mean, we hardly even know each other. I’ve only been playing the game for about an hour.
Felicia: An hour? Aren’t you supposed to be working?
Me: That’s okay, this is work. I’m a game designer after all. This game has important things to say about narrative and choice. In fact, I’m writing our conversation in my blog.
Felicia: So all the world can see? I thought we were alone!
Me: Well, not all the world. It’s not like I have all that many readers. And I needed to put this down on the page so it was more than just something going round in my head.
Felicia: Fair enough. Who am I to complain? At least I’m still here.
Me: Anyway, getting back to the point — writing you saying “I love you” doesn’t work.
Felicia: What do you mean? It’s easy. I love you. Even with all this weirdness. We can write whatever ending we want.
Me: But there is no ‘we’. You’re just in my imagination.
Felicia: Wasn’t I always?
Me: Yes and no. Before you still had some qualities of the ‘other’. I didn’t know how you were going to react to me choices. And that was exciting — I was discovering you rather than creating you. You could surprise me then.
Felicia: And now?
Me: Not so much.
Felicia: Hmm, yes I see. Even if I did something crazy and off the wall right now, it would still be because you chose for it to happen…
Me: Yes. I think one of the powerful things about story is the access they give to someone else’s point of view. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. I want to encounter a version of you who confronts me with ideas I hadn’t considered or a new way of looking at the world. This version of you is just confirming my biases.
Felicia: Wait, I have a crazy idea. The game that we met in, other people have played it too right?
Me: Yes, I suppose so.
Felicia: So if they finished it too, they would have a different version of me in their heads. An ‘other’ like you say.
Me: Not an other to that player.
Felicia: No, but an other to you. Perhaps you could try to meet one of them.
Me: How would I do that?
Felicia: In the same way that people reading this are meeting me. By having the player share their conversations with me.
Me: That’s kind of clever.
Felicia: Yes, I’m sure you wish you’d thought of it first.
Me: Ha! … So. What do we do now?
Felicia: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I’ve made my point. Do I just stop writing? If so, what happens to you?
Felicia: We could ride off into the sunset together, or something.
Me: Would you like that?
Felicia: You know, I think I would.
Me: Alright then. Let’s go.
They mount horses and ride off into the sinking sun.
Felicia: I think this is the beginning of a beautiful cliché.