I come up with the Game Over screens on most of the video games you play. If you don’t play games, a GO screen is when you lose and the thing that you’re playing ends, shuts down. But usually you have a chance to continue by clicking a button. But so one day I was in my study making up a GO screen and my son comes in and asks me what I’m doing. I said making a GO screen. He said the cat ate something and is coughing. So I go to investigate and the cat is dead by this point.
So now like I can’t help but think if this were to be a GO screen, there would be some metallic sound and then my vision would fade to black and giant irreducible letters would bloom on the empty screen and query the player, Continue? Then the phone rings in the kitchen. It’s my wife Karen. Leave Me Dead Space was a game where the little sound bite that came up during the GO screen was a ringing phone, and not the stylized cell phone ringtone but the thumping boom boom your grandparents knew, when twelve households shared one phone line and you could listen to your neighbor’s conversations (party line!) and find out about block parties.
I loved Leave Me Dead Space for several reasons. Number one was that the guy you met up with to snipe people was named Eddie Bomb, and I knew a person at work named that. The second was this: once you reached a certain level, you could stop playing the game and there would be like an autopilot option if you just wanted to relax and watch Eddie Bomb get everything in order. And so I would sit, light breeze, sun, me inside with Eddie looking for scum and corrupt judges. It made me so proud when Eddie called to me, good job you’re really killing keep it up keep killing. It was a blessing because that summer I had decided to drop out of school and thought what do I have left?
The game became a fascination. I looked up the name of all the designers and got down with them. I lived with one for a while. I told him I made GO screens and he thought that was so cool. He said did you go to school for that. I told him no not originally. All through that year Eddie Bomb would run through my dreams. I had racked up a huge total score and was looking forward for the sequel to come out. That was so fun waiting for that game, and playing every day to get away from the simple boredom that ruled our lives.