Console Tale: A Short Story

A story from someone close to all of us who never had a voice.

By Kyle England. Posted 12/10/2013 09:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

I was born in a very bright place. Shadows interrupted the light as they passed over me, ethereal beings who slowly came into focus. I remember moving for a very long time, as they came and went. All around me, I saw other things– but they weren’t quite like the moving shadows. These objects felt more comfortable somehow. Squarish things with flat heads. I felt them looking at me with the same type of intrigue. I was one of them.

We were all moving towards some unknown destination. I kept seeing more of the shadow beings along the way– some touched me, some picked me up. I began to realize that these large creatures were the rulers of this place. They all had different shapes and appearances, some were larger, some were different colors, some were so far away that I never saw them. The last one I ever saw picked me up and put me inside of my own place, away from the other objects of my kin. The light went away.

Sealed away in darkness. I was scared at first, but then grew to accept this place. I could feel the world outside, as if I was gliding around. I settled in and my thoughts turned inward. I became innately acquainted with the interior of myself. Plates, paths, chips, plugs. What did I exist for? What about the parts inside of me? When would I stop flying?

I saw the light again. Up in air at last, outside of the dark place. And for the first time I saw one of the beings clearly. It had me lifted up very close to the top of its body, and handled me with more tenderness than I’d ever experienced before. What– no, who– was this? This place was so very different from where I was born. Everything was bright, but not like earlier. There were different shades, colors, and materials everywhere.

This new guardian hoisted me across this great space, before I settled neatly on flat surface. And then I experienced something rather peculiar: I was violated. Suddenly, my keeper attached several devices to my body, which snugly secured themselves into various orifices. I became frantic and nervous, and then I saw an angular tablet descending from the heavens, cradled by the large being. The tablet was lodged deep into the top of my head with a resounding noise. And then the uneasiness subsided. I felt… whole. And then, I felt invigorated. Some sort of switch was changed on top of me, and everything made sense.

My insides began reacting, the paths began connecting. Power rushed throughout. The tablet linked on my roof became one with me, as I began involuntarily sending energy into my attached devices. Incredible. I began speaking to the tablet, and I somehow instinctively knew that I needed to tell it what to do. It shared some information with me, which was understood and sent in another direction. All of this culminated in a glow behind me, and I realized what the goal was. A large clear device loomed overhead, and an image flashed through my mind before appearing as a shape. This was what I had to do.

So began my work. I would be loaded with tablets from my keeper, and execute the circuitry inside them as images discernible to the regular senses. As I did this more and more, I grew more familiar with… everything. The more tablets I encountered, the more I learned. These tablets were called video games. The beings that controlled me were humans. I was called a console. My goal was to allow humans to play games for their leisure. They interacted with me through switches and the device attached me I came to know as the controller.

I started to understand time. Months passed by, more games ran through me. My human owner spent a lot of time with me, and I grew fond of our time together. Months turned to years. The games I had to run would contain more complicated programs, but I always had the ability to activate them. I started to see familiar trends in games. A red man with a mustache. A green man with a sword. Many people with guns. So many guns.

I’d play host to multiplayer games sometimes, where my owner’s friends would join in on the play. It was satisfying to know that I could handle so many inputs at once. I began to revel my place as the centerpiece here. Sure, the television was used for other things, but my owner always had me as the primary machine. We even moved homes once, I remember. It was jarring, but I was right back to what I was doing before long.

Several years went by. I must have played dozens of games by this point, and I was very content. However, a day came that was very similar to the one where I first fell into the hands of my human owner. A new box was opened. A machine came out of that box, and I knew what it was: another game console. This device looked different from me, so incomprehensible. Suddenly, I was disconnected from my throne. My cords were pulled from the walls, from the TV. The new machine sat where I once had. I could sense this new console’s confusion, as I had once felt, but there was no pity from me– only bitterness. The game inserted into this thing was an ugly flat disc, an abomination.

I had a lot of time to come to terms with this new arrangement. At first, I was just put by the TV in a new place. I realized that this new machine was faster and could process games better than I could. My relevance had come to an end. I wasn’t as complicated, and as I realized, humans are always most interested in the most advanced games. Still, shimmers of hope kept me going. I would actually get booted up to play a game every few months. Sadly, these never lasted long, and eventually, I got put away in another dark place– a closet. It was impossible for me to tell how long I was in there.

All I had were memories of the past: games I played, programs I started, parties I hosted. I regretted ever being turned on. At least when I was trapped inside my old box, I knew nothing and felt nothing. A perfectly content little device without a care in the world. I wondered if that new console noticed me. I tried not to hold anything against it, as this was the owner’s fault. But still, I remembered those discs and resented the world.

Time passed. I found myself face to face with the newer console. Here it was, in the closet with me. We could not really communicate directly, but I think I had a good picture of what got that machine in here. Another new system must have come out, and we got pushed away. Indeed, it was never my successor’s fault. More time passed.

We saw the brightness again. I had no idea how long it had been, but one day that door opened, and I saw a human again. This one, I didn’t recognize. It took me and the other console off the shelf, gathered up our accessories and games, and packed them away into another place. By the time I knew it, I was in a strange place. All around me were other gaming related objects and humans. As sudden as all of this had been, I was too thrilled with getting out of the darkness to care. I found myself on another kind of shelf, one with a nice bright view of the world beyond it.

Over time, I became acquainted with this place. I was in some kind of merchant house or bazaar. I remembered these from the games I played. Sometimes I even got played to test out my viability, and I passed every time. Something really startled me about these tests, though– I realized that it had been a little over 15 years since my first activation. I reeled at this revelation. Why was I neglected for so long? I had a good run of about 4-5 years, but I was in that closet for about a decade.

Some human came into the trading post and expressed a great interest in me, along with a few games. I got lifted into the air, patted, and inspected. Then, I was taken out of that place forever and given a new home. I was given a new area with this human, and a spot under the TV just like old times. Many new humans appeared that were delighted to see me. Were they really so happy to play an aged console like myself? I had slower games, and less complexity. I didn’t know what to think, but I was able to fire up just as good as ever. Soon I got played and enjoyed once more. These people reminded me of my old owner… I wonder if they were around the same age?

Today, I see more plumbers, more guns, and more swords. I race fast, and have huge parties. I even get to see games that I never even knew existed. I hope I won’t ever go into a dark place again. I don’t know what the future will bring, so I have to relish this time now. As long as I can do what I was meant to do, I can be happy.

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