Rachel leant forward and grinned at the camera unit ‘Hey gamers! Welcome to game SIM roundup Christmas edition day twenty two. We’ve got pre-load permission this year, so we can keep bringing you footage and reviews all throughout the holidays. Tomorrow, we’ll be LIVE from node 64 of “Winter Wonderland”. So, if you want to be part of the audience, just head over to the old bandstand at 7:45 Universal Decimal Time.‘
‘Just try not to overload the servers.‘ I added, following the bright green AR script floating in front of me.
‘Overload the servers? That’s a good one, Kirsty. You know, I heard rumours that one of their backup servers had suffered acid snow damage. That there were something like two million people who couldn’t log on to “Winter Wonderland”! I’ve gotta say, as viral marketing campaigns go, it’s one of the best I’ve ever heard. Two thumbs up to you, LANCorp.‘ Rachel raised her thumbs and flashed the camera another grin.
‘I bet people are logging on in droves.’ I chuckled, staying on script. ‘ I mean, the idea of Christmas without Winter Wonderland is like the idea of Christmas without… Winter Wonderland‘. Not letting it show, I hoped I hadn’t messed up the dramatic pause. I hadn’t.
‘Now, on to the thing you’ve all been messaging us about. Can anyone actually PLAY the latest “Eternal Soldier” game?‘ Before Rachel had even finished her sentence, the studio around us dissolved into a pre-rendered battlefield from the game trailer. A simulated bullet zipped too close to the sofa for comfort. Obviously, Fiona had messed up the simulation queue again.
Not letting it show, I said my lines: ‘Yeah, I’d been wondering about that too. I mean, even after my latest hardware upgrade, the SIM kicked me out with a warning that my neurons would be fried if I went any further. Still, developer Churnware was kind enough to give us a pre-recorded statement.‘
Thankfully, Fiona didn’t mess up the simulation this time. But the holo-placement was terrible. An old guy’s butt appeared two feet away from my face and, before I could lean past him to get into camera range, he’d already started delivering his statement: ‘ We at Churnware believe in bringing you the future, today. Yes, our game may well have system requirements that are slightly in advance of current technology, but it looks absolutely sweet! Plus, if you order the new “Grim Toll Of War” DLC today, then you’ll be able to enjoy it in just thirty-six months’ time if manufacturing forecasts are correct.’
With a well-practiced smile, Rachel said: ‘Well, that’s cleared that up. Now, over to Kirsty again for a look at the upcoming ‘Death On The Menu’ game SIM.‘
I got up and dashed over to the corner of the studio. Around me, grime-spattered tiles and odourless pans of rotting food began to materialise. The script told me to wait. I waited, trying not to look too awkward.
Finally, the countdown timer appeared. 5…4…3…2…1: ‘Yes! You are looking at a projection of an exclusive location file from the next instalment of the game that quite literally killed four let’s players during beta testing.‘
Raising an eyebrow carefully, I kept reading: ‘If you’ve got the latest connectivity firmware, the game can actually spike your adrenaline levels for you, to give those jump scares a bit of extra… BOO!‘ Ok, I’d totally messed up the timing on that one. But, the show must go on.
‘The indie devs behind the project assured us in a written statement that the technology is perfectly safe and said that they wouldn’t comment about what was clearly a hardware issue. Furthermore, they told us in no uncertain terms to check our life privilege. ‘
The camera cut back to Rachel and I dashed back to the sofa, making it with only a second left on the countdown timer. Not missing a beat, Rachel smiled and said: ‘Unfortunately, that’s all for today. For bandwidth is tight, and you’ll all miss the dancing elf revue on Winter Wonderland node 43 if we go on for much longer. Be sure to catch our LIVE show tomorrow. Byeeee!‘
Once we’d finished waving and the camera unit had gone dark, Rachel let out a sigh and slumped forwards. I fell backwards and closed my eyes. The studio around us slowly dissolved into the uniform greys and blues of the holo-chamber. Fiona wandered over and sat beside us.
Finally, Rachel rubbed her temple and said: ‘Shit! I just got a message from LANCorp, it turns out that they’ve actually got reindeer racing on node 43 later. Who’s up for a reshoot?‘