There is always another confrontation with Gary on the horizon, always another convalescence with Nurse Joy. Even the music rarely changes—that maddening eight-bit music which once heard can never be forgotten. What is it, then, that made us so crazed—that made us whine, in the cacophonous voice of an entire generation: “Mommy, I’m in a battle and you are making me die!”
My Old West was settled by Oregon Trail’s eight-color Conestogas and their dysentery-ridden crews. My Rome—the Rome of Sierra’s Caesar III—was built in a day. And if the distant past often feels eerily present to me, it is perhaps because I have done substantial time temping as Pharaoh of Egypt, Doge of Venice, and Japanese Shogun.
Microsoft Flight Simulator began as a simple physics model for the Apple II. The instrument panel gauges are basic shapes; the terrain, a wireframe grid of white. If you crash, a cartoonish message tells you so. There are no trees, buildings, rivers, terminals, windsocks. If you want to see the plane’s outside, tough luck.
But you are, at present, otherwise engaged. Epiphany has thrown up its hands, rolled its eyes in disgust, and passed you by. You are scrolling through the available races—blue people, purple people, lightning people, fungus people—and comparing their race bonuses. The dwarves are always loyal.