"God I hate large crowds" I mumbled as I squeezed my way through the hordes of people. It wasn't even an hour into the day and already this place smelled like sweat... and who knows what else.
This was my first day attending my very first gaming convention. In fact it was my first time attending any kind of major convention. Ever. So of course things were... really weird. On one hand I was excited. There were so many new panels and showcases for new titles from the biggest companies in the gaming scene, but on the other hand... the amount of people was a tad overwhelming. Yeah I was aware, and informed, that there was going to be an absurd amount of people attending but this was just RIDICULOUS. I swear this was just an ocean of people. Worst of all I was supposed to meet a friend an 20 minutes ago.
"Shit where the hell is he?" I had thought as I just stood there looking like a clueless idiot in the middle of the main lobby of the Convention Center. I swear if he doesn't show up soon I'll be pissed. For you see, I had decided to actually attend this Convention because an old friend of mine on a certain Forums said he was attending, and that this convention was only going to be about two hours away from where I lived. So I thought "Why not?" It'd be nice to meet him.
Fortunately my anger and annoyance at the thought of being 'stood up' faded as I felt a heavy pat on my back.
Jason: "Hey Danny it's you! I've been looking all over for you. I was beginning to think you wouldn't show up!" Jason said as he just patted me on the back... hard.
Having the wind practically beaten out of me, I just turned to him and scowled, which seemed to actually catch him off guard.
Jason: "Hey what's the matter?" Jason asked me as I just sighed and spoke.
Daniel: "You know you have some real nerve to ask that after you specifically said to meet you HERE in the MAIN GODDAMN LOBBY twenty minutes ago. I mean seriously. The fuck did you expect?" I replied quite sternly. I could even hear quite a lot of anger in my voice.
This anger is a bit uncalled, even for me. Then again this is the first time I've ever went to a convention, and I had to wake up 2 hours early just because Jason said that it'd make it easier to get in if I arrived to get in line an hour earlier. Yeah right, I should have just came last night and camped outside the front door like all the other geeks. Either way I am here so I shouldn't be too mad...
Daniel: "Anyways Jason. I'm here. Happy? I had two vacation days left from work for the rest of this year and I was originally planning to go up north to visit some family, but I decided against it just to meet a dear ol' forum friend that I've never met before. Not only that but I only got about three hours of sleep last night so I hope you're happy." I spoke. It was a matter of fact that I was calming down a bit, but now my anger had receeded into annoyance more than anything.
Jason: "Yeah... sorry about that. I am happy though! After all I got to meet you for once, and for the next two days we get to hang out!"
Daniel: "Yeah yeah, no problem... so what are we going to do now? I've never really been to a convention like this before. Only small events at a local gaming shop. So I have no goddamn clue what to do here really."
Jason: "Well man there are lots of things! I mean we can go looking at all the booths and see what people have up, we can go try out some new demos, go grab some food, check out the sweet ass cosplay's people have, or. . ." Jason began to trail off as he went on about the various different activities that we can take part of. To be honest none of them really interested me too much.
For one I had a breakfast, albeit a rather rushed one, so food was kinda a no right now. Secondly it doesn't seem like any of the booths and stands are quite... open with people swarming all of them. Guess that's one of the benefits of people who got early... like me... maybe I should have checked out some of the booths before I met up with Jason. Either way I kinda began to tune Jason out as I continued to walk, only paying attention just enough to hear his voice following me as it got drowned out by all the racket from all the Convention attendee's.
As I wandered off my attention drifted to my surroundings. All the signs advertising new games, new gaming merchandise, and a shit ton of various other things that did interest me slightly. I guess I'd have to find something to make this trip more worth it. After all coming to this convention just to meet a guy I befriended online wouldn't be very 'fun' nor a good use of my vacation time if I didn't do SOMETHING here... thankfully my attention was caught by an interesting sign...
AERIS Co. Presents their newest game: "New Genesis" The first true fully immersive fighting game.
AERIS Corp. I know that company. It's probably one of the biggest gaming companies that exist out there. Rivaling that of Funtendu. Which was another big company in the gaming industry. Actually the largest, barely beating out AERIS Corp. Either way AERIS was my favorite of the two companies. In fact it was the official AERIS Forums where I met Jason, and where I found that we both had a shared interest in their games.
Seeing this sign though caught my attention to the point where I stopped completely in my tracks. I heard of New Genesis here and there, but it was only just teasers. Supposedly it was supposed to be a legitimate open world FIGHTING game. With four player co-op. Didn't know much about it though since well... I heard about it only through teasers. One of my many thoughts were 'how will an open world fighting game work? Either way, this was something I actually wanted to check out.
As Jason continued on with his rambling of all the different things he was going on about, which I'm sure he had repeated a few of them, I quickly grabbed him by the arm and dragged him into the large auditorium where a rather large group of people were coming gathering. Guess a lot of others wanted to see what all the buzz was about regarding this new game.
Jason: "Whoa dude take it easy! What's the rush?"
Daniel: "What's the rush? I'm going to check out AERIS Corp's newest project that they are showcasing RIGHT NOW. That's what the big deal is."
Jason: "Oh well you should've just said so! I'm totally with you there.
We bickered a bit as the doors behind us, and a group of at least twenty people. The crowd of roughly 300-500 people began to quiet down. For once things were actually beginning to sound a bit more calm... All this happening as the light's began to dim... At that moment I could feel my heart oddly beginning to beat faster in anticipation.
Once the lights had completely dimmed, and a set of lights focused on the large stage lit up. Fog from some fog machines hidden behind the curtains began to fill the air as the head of AERIS Corp's North American Branch stepped forth. Everyone began to cheer as he began to talk. I couldn't hear him with all the cheering of crowd, and their pleas to just 'get to the game'. I was able to make out some rather... typical things though. On how this game has had years of hard work and dedication put into making it the 'new standard for video games of the future' or some shit like that. Either way I was... slightly intrigued.
I wouldn't say that a 'open world fighting game' would be the new standard for all video games of the future. I mean... all video games? Nah. Fighting games yes, but not all games. Maybe this wasn't just a 'fighting game'. Perhaps it was just a open world game. Probably some kind of MMO or something like that.
Eventually the main event came in as the trailers began to play. The trailers showed an interesting game. It didn't seem like a fighting game... but more of a beat em' up of sorts with a rather... large open world. The graphics were certainly entertaining, and everything about it seemed... interesting. It had a bit of everything, a bit of open-world sandbox/adventure. A bit action-RPG-Beat em' up, and a bit of survival. Character designs were quite interesting as well as the trailers said it will use a character creator that will be opened beyond belief... but things were... off. This game was making a lot of bold statements, and seemed to be adding a lot of things into it. Like it was making a lot of promises. So what's the deal with this game. It just seemed like it was a whole mess of different mechanics from all sorts of different games. Which normally a mishmash of mechanics doesn't end up to well...
During my thoughts on this game and it's trailers and gameplay showcases, I was brought back to attention as I heard the crowd go silent... the president was making one more announcement...
AERIS Corp. Pres: "Now ladies and gentleman. We have one last statement to announce. Not only is this game something we've been working on for years, but we've also been working on something else. Something that will truly change the industry. This I assure you. As New Genesis will be the launch title for our newest console on the market. We present you.... The AERIS NEXT."
As the president said this my eyebrows were raised in intrigue as a panel in the floor of the stage opened up, and from it a rather large black tower at least twice at least 6ft tall emerged. It looked tall, slim, black with blue highlights. It also from what I could see had various peripherals. A set of some kind of wireless gloves that the President had put on, a strange helmet, a device which he wore around his neck, and various other strange gadgets to be worn on the body. Was this a... virtual reality console? The answer... was... not what I expected at all.
AERIS Corp. President: "The AERIS NEXT is our newest gaming machine. It's not just a ordinary console. It's a machine that is a gateway to another world, and no I do not mean it's a virtual reality machine. I quite literally mean that this allows us to look into another world. The world of our game New Genesis. As you see, New Genesis is no mere game. As several years ago we had discovered a way to poke a hole through reality into an alternate dimension. Don't ask the specifics as to how, but we did. I assure you we are one HUNDRED percent telling the truth."
When the President said that the whole crowd went silent into nothing but a whisper... there was no way this guy was telling the truth. Was he? I doubt it. I mean alternate dimensions and stuff like that is just science fiction. This was probably just lies to make the console seem more 'innovative.'
AERIS Corp. Pres: When you play and create your avatar for New Genesis, you are making an avatar. A representation for you to safely interact with this fantastical world we discovered. As the best game is one that you are literally a part of the world. Now I can see a lot of you look skeptical, but how about a volunteer to try this out and see what we mean?"
The president finished... as he said that the crowd went NUTS. They wanted to try this new console out for themselves, and it was quite intimidating and surprising at how fast things just blew up.
Everyone was wanting to try out this new game, but only one person could... as the President was looking for 'lucky volunteer' the spotlights began to shine and move across the crowd wildly, waiting for a few minutes to pass before the lights all stopped to focus on one lucky person... that person happened to be me.
Of course I didn't notice at first as I was too focused on thinking about how this game and console makes no sense. From the false advertising of how this was supposed to be some kind of new fighting game, to all the bold statements and announcements on how this console is a 'gateway to another dimension'. If that was the case wouldn't that have hit major news stations...? Either way after a few minutes the President spoke up.
AERIS Corp. President: "Ah yes. You young man in the back. The one looking all... contemplative. Why don't you come up to see for yourself by what I mean?"
The President announced. His words echoing through the speakers as the crowd went silent. I seemed to break my train of thought as I just looked around confused until Jason finally decided to start pushing me through the crowd which began to split apart like when Moses parting the Red Sea. Either way I seemed confused, and almost began to panic.
I wasn't wanting to do this, but by the time I got pushed up to the stage by Jason, I just kinda froze and stood there and looked around. There was a large crowd of hundreds of people just watching me....
As I stood there looking like a nervous dumbass, some employees of AERIS Corp came onto the stage and began to put on the gloves, helmet, and various other devices for the console. As well as lifting me up to put me on a sort of odd treadmill of sorts. All this to my dismay... I seemed to have no choice in the matter.
While this was happening the President walked up to me and asked me for my name and if I was ready to try out the AERIS NEXT.
AERIS Corp. President: "So young man. May I kindly ask what your name is?"
Daniel: "I uh... um... D-Daniel Smith...?"
AERIS Corp. President: "Daniel Smith what an honor it must be for you to come up here and be the first to try out our newest gaming console. After all this is the most advanced device in the WORLD. How does that make you feel?" He asked as the employee's ended up putting a helmet over my head. The helmet had a opaque visor, and headphones built in, which thankfully the sound wasn't on yet so I could still hear...
Daniel: "I-I guess I'm uh... I don't know this is just so strange to me!"
AERIS Corp. President: "Yes I bet it is. After all you are going to be stepping forth into a new world. So are you ready?"
Daniel: "Um.. I-I guess?"
AERIS Corp. President: "You heard him here folks! HE'S READY! So this is it! Now Mr. Daniel Smith. Step forth into the world of... NEW GENESIS!"
The president made his announcement as the new console booted up. Everything was loud, and blinding at first due to the helmet's screen's in my eyes. However things began to take a turn for the worst as a small fire broke out back stage. The fire was small, but the smoke from it was enough to set off the fire sprinklers on the ceiling to make sure everything is put out back stage. Unfortunately some of the water managed to hit the power cable for the AERIS NEXT and things just went from bad to worse.
The console began to have a short circuit as sparks began to fly from the console. At the sight of this the President began to panic and as I could feel a sharp... pain go through my body as I began to get electrocuted. Guess they didn't really add a surge protector to this thing as the crowd began to see my body spaz out as electricity coursed through my body. All the while the President began yelling in a panic for his employee's to get me out of this system... It was too late though. For the heat the helmet and gloves was beginning to become too hot.
I could feel it. My body getting hotter and hotter, until I began to feel nothing. The crowd was screaming in terror as the sight was not pretty. To the outside world the console then blew up... Showing that this device really was not meant for the public yet...
As the console detonated, the result explosion didn't seem more like an explosion, but rather a white, all consuming light that vaporized everything in it's path. All the while the crowd and everyone on stage began to make a break for it.
My body didn't make it... but I didn't know that. I couldn't hear a thing going on in the outside world. I couldn't move my arms or legs. I couldn't do anything. I just felt a sharp pain before nothingness as every atom in my body was torn apart rather quickly... Everything had gone black...
It was like that for who knows how long...
. . .
Eventually I could feel my body again. I could feel the numbness in my arms, and my legs. I did not know what happened at all. Something strange... something... violent had ensued back at the Convention Center. All I know was I put on that helmet, then pain, the I felt nothing. All before it went to black...
Now though I can feel... something... a light breeze. This cool breeze sent a strange shiver through my body as I snapped awake, practically gasping for air as if I was holding my breath under water for a long time.
I could feel the cool breeze as I examined my surroundings. It was a strange forest. I don't know where I was... what the hell happened? I feel like I couldn't remember a thing barely. I remember the convention center... the game... the pain, then black emptiness. Now I'm in some kind of strange forest filled with... odd looking trees...
Worst of all was that I realized why I felt the cool breeze...
My clothes were gone.