This weekend, I spent some time with my younger cousin, Eddie. We don't know each other that well, but enough to have fun passing time together when necessary. (We're separated by a couple states, so the disconnect is only natural.)
Usually, we would sit at his computer any troll online games. We would log into war games just to run around shooting our own team-mates, or we'd join a "Draw My Thing" style game and sketch out completely unrelated and profane images until we got kicked. Not the more intelligent way to spend our time, but it kept us laughing until our parents were done visiting.
That weekend, however, Eddie had some new games he wanted to try out. Not to troll them, but for legitimate fun. During our time apart, he got really into watching YouTube Let's Players like Pewdiepie, Markiplier and a host of others I'd never heard of, and seeing their content made him want to start a channel and emulate them. This was how we ended up playing shit like "Turtle Turnover", "Scrotal Sack Race", and a game I never want to touch again... "SKSim".
The last game was the only one Eddie hadn't played before I arrived. Well, I suppose there could have been others, but given what happened when we played SKSim, I was in a hurry to leave. I played sick, and something about my frantic need to get away from the place must've made my act more convincing than usual.
The game wasn't much to look at. Not at first, anyway. The title was in a blood red grunge font that was trying too hard to look scary, and the opening menu screen was menaced by a little polygonal man with a ludicrously oversized meat cleaver aimed at the buttons.
I was in the "driver's seat" for this one. Eddie sat behind me, peering over my shoulder as I started the game up. The very first thing I did was, of course, to adjust the mouse sensitivity. That shit's always way off on these crappy indie games. Once I figured I had things set, I clicked "New Game".
A short set of jumbled MIDI tones beeped in my headset, followed by a slow hiss of static that tapered off into silence. I expected the game to crash right then and there, but I wasn't that lucky. A loop of obnoxious, generic dubstep music followed.
The setting of the game was just as depressing as the opening screen. White walls, grayish floor. Empty shelves like the scene was supposed to be taking place at a supermarket or something. I reasoned that the developer, whoever they had been, abandoned all hope of producing a quality product the moment they realized they needed to stock the countless shelves in each aisle.
When I say the main character on the title screen was "polygonal", I mean that was basically all you could say to describe him other than the sallow color that should in no way be referred to as a "skin" on his model. His head was just an angular shape with no discernible features, and his "hands" came to points which could not realistically hold his weapon.
The enemies in the game were identical to the main character. Polygon mannequins with vaguely pukeish coloring. They even held items in their non-hands as well. These were mostly weapons, such as knife, clubs, and so on. Every so often, one would get shafted by the RNG and would be impotently wielding a medkit. The weird thing is that even after I killed each NPC, I couldn't pick up the weapons or the kits. It seemed like an oversight or a bug, since the developer had gone to the trouble of including the items on the first place.
Some of the enemies were as tall as the main character, as me, while others were shorter imp-like enemies. The AI seemed just as shitty as the rest of it, with enemies randomly running away, running into walls, or falling over shelves and causing disarray.
All the while, the NPCs just buzzed and groaned electronic noise. Indecipherable computer generated gibberish.
The last glitch I noticed was the numbering of each level. I started out mowing down monsters on level 1. When I had met whatever arbitrary goal that had been set, I moved directly to level 5. From there, I went to 10, then 18, and so on. Within a few minutes, I was on level 99, which turned out to be the final one.
While the activity seemed truly meaningless and hollow, I decided to trash talk the angular mob just to squeeze a little bit of humor out of it. I took to calling them "Polygoners" and made various puns about their lost limbs and the massive wounds I was inflicting.
Level 99 wasn't that much of a challenge. I was in keeping with the rest of it, and throughout the entire game it seemed like the difficulty never really ramped up. There was no challenge, just mindless clicking for the reward of pixellated blood squares and flying pointy limbs.
When the "Game Over" screen finally showed its face, I took off the headset and leaned back in my chair.
"Welp, that was a thing that happened." I smirked, "So what's next?"
Eddie was silent for a moment. Curious, I swiveled around in my chair and faced him. He asked what was wrong with me. He asked how I could be so cruel, sick, and twisted.
He asked why I was making jokes about killing all of those people. The men, women, and children who begged for mercy and cried while I hacked them to pieces. He outright demanded to know why I chased people down when they ran away and cried out for help, even when they were visibly intended to be pregnant or elderly.
The final question he had for me... was why I played 99 straight levels in near silence, only speaking up every ten or fifteen minutes to make a quip.
I turned back to the screen, this time with my headset off and no buzz in my head. I looked at the main menu again and saw the well-rendered, very realistic-looking man standing by the buttons with an oversized meat cleaver. Confused, I pressed "New Game" again and watched the highly detailed 3D Models of the NPCs walking aimlessly through the rich environment of a fully stocked super-store.
At a loss for words, I turned back to Eddie... and saw his featureless, polygonal head hissing garbled gibberish at me.