IF Comp ’13 – Hulk Handsome’s Machine of Death!

October 23, 2013

Comp updates might be a bit sporadic after this.  I’ve made a deal with the controllers of my apartment that I don’t have to give them any more money but in exchange I have to never go there again and also put all my stuff somewhere else and it turns out that for a person with very few worldly assets I have a surprising lot of stuff.

[spoilers begin here]

You check the contents of your shopping basket: bread, milk and alcohol. Well, that’s all the essentials, so you pay for your items, and head back out into the mall.
I’m going to make a White Russian sandwich?  (In Soviet Russia, sandwich makes you!)

Oh boy, this fast food chain offers a sinner’s sandwich!  According to Deadly Premonition, one of those consists of turkey, strawberry jam, and cereal, and is more than a delicious tasty crunch.  No one ever specifies what kind of cereal, which is the only reason I haven’t tried it yet.  I am so getting one in this game.

The Sinner’s Sandwich. Freshly shaved slices of turkey, strawberry jam, and a sprinkling of honey nut cornflakes between two slices of bread.
Honey nut cornflakes!  That sounds great!
Tragically (or perhaps luckily), you’re not carrying enough money to experience this culinary curiosity.

Phew, made it out of the mall without using the machine that tells you how you’re going to die.  Did I mention that was the premise of this game, that a machine has been invented that tells people how they’re going to die?  (It’s a Ryan North concept.  You know, he does that webcomic about the philosophical dinosaurs.)  I would like to think that in real life, I would not use this machine, so I am roleplaying.

…all right, I’ll go back and use the machine, because I can tell the game wants me to.  But first I am eating that sandwich.

Some consider the sandwich a form of self inflicted punishment to atone for past sins. Others believe it’s a delicious delicacy.
You’re not sure which camp you fall in, but are ever so slightly leaning towards the former.
That’s it?  That’s the description of my sandwich-eating experience?  Okay, once the stores open, I’m making one in real life, now that my type-of-cereal choice paralysis has been eradicated.  I’ve already got bread and strawberry jam.

The Machine is always 100% accurate, but the cards are often obtuse and even misleading, as with the tragic person who received PEANUTS and spent years avoiding the faux nut, only to have a box full of Snoopy comics fall on top of and kill them.
If I had written this sentence, I would have reread it, said “Hmm, ‘faux nut,’ I know it’s correct but it sounds a bit off.  ‘Legume?’  Let’s go with ‘legume.'”  I am not sharing this to criticize the game, I am sharing this to try to explain to you what it is like to be me.  “Aforementioned legume?”  BRAIN YOU DID NOT WRITE THIS SENTENCE STOP EDITING IT


Okay.  I’m doing it.  The Machine.  Here we go.  Drumroll please.
It says:

Ha, years later, I’m driving down a snowy road when a deer appears in my headlights, and I’m given the option to react like a sane person with no restrictions on their mortality would, or to screw the deer and keep driving.  This is actually pretty cool.

Hmm.  Here’s an old guy.  The Machine did not specify my old age.

He looks over to you and nods. “Nice to meet ya. Hope you have a good life.”
Huh.  I feel like that was simultaneously the best ending and the most boring ending.
Huh.  Now I’m starting to feel like that’s the only ending.  Let’s get a new fate.


Huh.  So this one is a time-management puzzle with some deaths along the way corresponding to various interpretations of “looking up,” none of which really feel satisfying in that classic “fuck you I’m a genie” kind of way, but the phrase has to cover multiple death options so maybe I should cut it some slack.

Yay, a job offer!  Let’s check out our third and final fate:

Shot through the heart!  And you’re to blame!  You give lo-o-ove…
…a bad name!
…okay, that is all the parts of that song that I know how they go.  You lucked out, radio audience.

I hope this story ends with me being actually literally shot through the heart by Jon Bon Jovi.  That is not a thing I have ever dared to hope before.

Then, in a corner, you see rock idol Jon Bon Jovi.

“It’s from a friend I saw at the bar,” she reveals. “The guy who went crazy… turns out his card said ‘shot through the heart by Bon Jovi.'” She looks at you. “How crazy a coincidence is that?”
Given that I never told you what my card was, that is the craziest coincidence possible, in fact!

After all, it’s your life. It’s now or never. You ain’t gonna live forever. You just want to live while you’re alive.
It is.  And it is.  I’m not, and I do.  My heart is like an open highway, have I ever mentioned that?

Hm.  So, on the one hand, those were entertaining, and there was that moment on the snowy road when I really felt like knowing how I was going to die impacted my actions in a realistic way, and that was awesome.  On the other hand, I felt like most of the endings I reached were anticlimactic, and there were too few “fuck you I’m a genie” moments.  Maybe I am just too good at life.

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