I've been working on developing video games for a few years now. I put up a blog on here to share what I hope will be sensible and interesting articles about game design. The "Fame Design" name came to me when I thought, "I want to be famous for only one thing: video games".
At the moment I'm developing new games in Flash. So I expect to share experiences in being an indie game developer. I often find myself wondering if I should be working in Flash, HTML5, XNA, or the iPhone/iPad SDK. Time will tell.
Before we start, let me say that PAX has been amazing. I had the honor of reading this chapter to quite a few Destructoid members that were in the story. I wonder if people I don't know, like Anthony and Jim even know about this! But yeah, they were at PAX and I finally got to tell a bunch of the Destructoid staff that I am a big fan of their work. Athough, technically Anthony isn't at Destructoid anymore - I was able to thank him for HAWP.
Not much has to be said though, I guess - other than: I love you guys. Thanks for reading my story. Now I'm off to pursue a personal project. I'll still have time for blogging, but my next big project is a video game project. It's about time to get serious about finishing something that you guys can actually play.
Anthony pulled out a pistol he got from Handsome Beast and aimed it at Kraid. Kraid didn’t move. He stood there focusing on Anthony, waiting for the end. Fame Designer crossed his arms and waited. They all heard Alice huddled up in the dirt sobbing. She looked as if she had given up, but turned her head up to Anthony and spoke.
“You can’t kill Fame Designer.” She said weeping. “Bullets won’t hurt him.”
“Woah, hold on.” Fame said. “We don’t really know that for sure.”
Kraid reached for a classy hat slowly while Anthony’s attention was away. He had saved a few hats for the battle, just in case classiness would change something. Kraid had nothing left to lose. He pulled one out, and Anthony noticed.
“Oh hell no.” Anthony said as he pulled the trigger twice sending two bullets into Kraid’s chest.
The hat flew miraculously towards Anthony’s skull. The hat suctioned itself to Anthony, making a hat and mask combo that looked quite awkward. Kraid felt the silence of death envelope him as blood and stomach acids mixed together inside him. The pain was excruciating and he dropped to the ground. His eyes fixed on Anthony. He tried to stay awake long enough to see the effects of what he had done, but he quickly went unconscious. The last thing he was able to see was Anthony ripping away the hat and mask trying to contain his sanity. Perhaps he had done some good.
Anthony experienced a flood of guilt and memories of his life, and became instantly burdened. Kraid’s classy attack made Anthony sweat thinking of all the thousands of people he had murdered to get the power that he had achieved. He knew in his mind that he was merely inside a game waiting to be beaten, but now his heart was full of regret. He thought of the life that he could have had with Ashley. He could have been friends with Beyamor and his sister instead of killing them to meet his ends. The world he lived in was so colorful, and he had taken it all for granted.
“My head!” Anthony screamed. “I’m sorry Ashley! It was my fault! My fault!”
He put a gun to his own head. This would stop the pain. He breathed hard, in and out, trying to build the nerve fast before he lost it. Fame Designer squinted and tried to puzzle out what was happening. Alice ducked away and raised her hands up between her and Anthony.
“Wait! Stop!” Fame Designer howled.
After pulling the trigger he felt the force of the gun blast away from his head, but there was no bullet. Maybe it was a miracle. Fame Designer’s head exploded with brain matter spraying in the opposite direction. Anthony felt a strange sensation because of seeing a mirror image of what he was doing to himself.
It actually didn’t look like Fame Designer suffered that much. Anthony shot himself in the head once again and the force of the bullet was partially dampened by his thick skin. His head stayed intact and the bullet lodged itself in his frontal lobe. He was wrong about not suffering. He felt unbelievable pain. Upon shooting himself successfully three more times, he finally keeled over. Anthony lay on the ground dead with his leg still twitching for a few moments more.
For a while Alice did nothing in particular. Her friends were all lying around her. She closed her eyes so she couldn’t see them, but the scene she imagined was much worse. So she opened her eyes back up to cry and look at the dirt and the few plants that were growing out of the dry dirt. She stayed there for a while, until she felt something other than sadness.
James crouched down to her taking her up into his arms. They embraced for a while thankful that they weren’t completely alone. For both of them the feeling was bittersweet. There was still a game that had to play out. Something had to happen. James suspected that out of all the people on the list they had, that they were the only ones left. James knew that something had to give.
“James, let’s go home.” Alice was strangely calm. “I can’t be here anymore.”
“Alice…” James suspected. “Do you get the feeling that this isn’t over?”
“Yes, but… I don’t want you to die. I don’t want anyone else to die.” Alice pleaded.
“We’re part of a game.” James said. “There could be a time limit right? It makes sense. From everything I’ve heard in this crazy place… I think I have to sacrifice myself to let you survive.”
The ground shook for a moment. They looked around to see if there was anything causing it around them. Another tremor under them put them off balance. The shaking became more violent until finally from far away they saw a creature pop its head out of the earth. The top of it looked as if it were a floppy white wizard hat. Alice and James started to run away from the creature but James looked back to see what it was periodically. The monster had tentacles pulling it from out of hell.
The giant squid emerged. It was so tall that it touched the clouds. It seemed to be looking around for them. Its eyes throbbed like water balloons. The enormous eyes had trouble shifting this way and that, but still were able to find the two survivors. Compared to the monster, James and Alice were merely ants to be stepped on.
In the chaos Alice and James dropped to the ground. They looked at each other thoughtfully for a moment. What James had suggested earlier seemed more relevant now. Time was of the essence. If, in fact, this was all just a game – then James knew what he had to do, and Alice knew as well. She stood up and balanced herself against the vibrations in the ground. The squid moved quickly towards them. Its squid arms destroyed whole towns that were in its way.
“I’ll do it!” Alice said confidently.
“Be quick.” James said. “I wish you luck.”
“Goodbye James.” Alice whispered.
Her blade cut deep through James and severed his head. It rolled down into the sand and his body went limp and fell forwards. This did not stop the beast from approaching. But instead of running, Alice stood her ground and decided to fight the monster – though it seemed to be an insurmountable task.
An explosion of fire blew off one of the arms of the squid. Alice covered her mouth in surprise and spun around to look for where it came from. A man emerged from a tank. His tank was one out of what seemed to be a thousand tank battalions. There were so many tanks around that it seemed absolutely ridiculous for them all to appear out of nowhere. Clearly the man in the tank was approaching her and saluting her at the same time. The tanks launched missiles, cannons, and machine gun rounds into the beast. It seemed to push the creature back, but it seemed to be able to take the firepower for quite a while.
“Miss Alice Dixon!” The man said. “Congratulations! You are our winner!”
“I won?” Alice asked.
“You are THE winner!” The man reinforced.
“What the hell is all this?!” Alice yelled. “Who are you?!”
“The name is Handy!” He said. “It’s time for you to come home Miss Alice Dixon!”
“Home?” Alice said.
“Miss Alice Dixon!” Handy grinned. “It looks like we’re having Qalamari for dinner!”
Handy saluted her once more, and threw his arm in the direction of the monster and pointed at it. He gave the command to fire at will. The exploding missiles and bombs lit up the morning sky like a fireworks display. Fire and smoke enveloped the creature. And as the creature toppled over Alice’s vision got cloudy. The whole scene felt like a dream now. She wondered if her whole life had been a dream. She thought of how grand it would be if she woke up to see her friends alive and well.
Kellen hopped into work. Earlier he received an automated message on his phone saying that the test game was complete and that there had emerged a winner. He took a seat and turned on his desktop machine. Three monitors instantly flashed on and he navigated to the results of testing. Alice had been the last survivor. Kellen was ecstatic. This meant big things for their company and he felt a swelling of happiness and pride in his chest. Never in his life was he so motivated to have the title of tech support. He felt responsible for the lives of his test subjects.
It was time to wake them all up. First, Fame Designer stepped out of his module and was informed of who ended up winning. Fame, in his excitement, woke everyone else up and gave everyone refreshments. Everyone was told to gather for a meeting in the break room. One by one they gathered. They all met, tired and drained from being in those awkward pods that they had to lay in while the game played out.
“This has been the first beta test of our technology and marks the first time we’ve entered friends and family.” Fame Designer said. “We will give you compensation and a complimentary dinner later on tonight for your hard work, and we would like you to fill out a survey. The survey is a bit long, but will bring quality to our products in the future.”
“I have a question.” Hugh said. “How come my powers were short circuited by your powers? I mean isn’t it kind of imbalanced in the gameplay if you have a power based on someone’s memory? Because it seemed like you retained yours.”
“Yes, of course, thank you Hugh.” Fame turned a shade of red. “How embarrassing, but yes, this is a known bug that I totally forgot to fix in this build of the software. Rest assured that it will be fixed for the home version.”
“But,” Hugh mentioned. “You had like three lives worth of information, not two – which would have made more sense.”
“Hmm…” Fame Designer said. “Um… I don’t know. That’s weird. I’ll have to look into that.”
“So who won?” Mr. Andy Dixon asked.
“Well… You aren’t going to believe this.” Fame said. “It was your daughter… Alice.”
The air in the room went out. All of them looked at each other. Andy’s wife entered the room with Miss Alice Dixon in her arms. Everyone had trouble believing what they were being told. A little baby had managed to survive every obstacle she was up against.
“Parts of your characters were randomized. Alice’s age ended up being much older than her true age. But we had code that tried to compensate for her inexperience.” Fame Designer explained. “We knew that there was a chance that your daughter would not take to the intelligence engine that we designed for taking care of different age groups. I mean… originally that code was written to give a boost to children that were around five to ten years old. It equalizes difficulty for everyone, and creates a balanced playing field.”
“So…” Mr. Andy Dixon said. “What does that mean?”
“It means that I believe much more in the human spirit than when I started this project.” Fame Designer said. “Our technology is built to effect ‘intelligence’ not wisdom. Just look into her eyes… She is thinking… She has a will. She has dreams. Her wisdom and her courage came from inside. It means, Andy, that your little girl is very special.”
Andy and his wife looked down at Alice in awe. The rest of the group followed suit. They took pictures of her with a stuffed toy crowbar and dressed with a salmon colored robe. They smiled and played with her before it was time to go. James extended a finger to her and she grabbed at it and shook it. Wolf held her for a moment and bounced her, making her laugh. Elsa stood up when she got a message from Mongoose telling her he was just about to park outside the building.
“Thank you, all of you.” Fame Designer said as they left. “It was a pleasure.”
Just one more chapter to go. I will be posting the last chapter on Friday, the first day of PAX. I hope you all have enjoyed the story. Forgive me once more for the lack of art, but we have to get this story done! I promise more art for the last chapter, because it is kind of required. You'll find out why. Those who are coming to Seattle for PAX weekend: I will have something special for you guys Thursday. I noticed there are two chapters with the word death in it - but I guess it fits. Why so much death? I mean I guess I'm uh... I guess I'm a pretty sick guy.
James didn’t have a moment to lose. Alice had run away from the fight, and perhaps that was for the best. Corduroy and Wolf were down. Anthony and his girl were steadily approaching and Elsa was right on top of him. Elsa looked down on James sizing him up. His sword was out of the ordinary. It was a curved blade with a coin separating it from the hilt. Elsa knew his power was in his luck. And they knew her power too.
As they fought, aspects of their powers became more and more clear. James seemed to have less skill as a swordsman, but could still block and dodge every one of her attacks. Sometimes he didn’t even mean to. She swung her sword in a stabbing motion towards him with the grace of a perfect action. He would always make a successful block in return. James tripped on a rock, falling backwards. His head tipped back and evaded Elsa’s slash. He could see the edge of the blade an inch away from his eyes.
He whirled back at her with fierce strikes that seemed to be blocked easily by Elsa’s ability to parry his weapon with supreme effectiveness. Her blade seemed to act as a part of her, and every action she made seemed perfectly timed and delivered. James continued to stab at her and part of his blade came towards her and reflected sunlight into her eyes. In her momentary blindness she let one attack from James come though. She yelped as James’s lucky blade struck her leg.
Elsa took a knee and grabbed James’s sword with her other hand. She stabbed James three times before he was able to yank his sword away. Elsa’s fingers were severed and dropped to the ground. She screamed and yelled for Anthony in a rage, knowing only he could heal her. Seeing her fingers on the ground collecting dirt horrified her. She had seen so much blood, but never her own.
James held his breath. He couldn’t tell if he was hit in any vital areas. He hoped that his luck was still with him as he fell. James slowly crept over to Wolf. He grabbed at his helmet, shaking it as he himself lost blood. Wolf was dead. James saw Hugh running to help as he passed out from blood loss.
AlphaDeus left James to the fight with Elsa. His luck would save him. It always did. AlphaDeus’s piano blade hummed and waited for commands. He swung it around and placed the heavy blade on his knee and knelt down. With his other hand he pressed three fingers into the keys for a chord. It was just a chord to start out with. It made the sword able to tear flesh easier.
He ran towards Anthony and the girl that was with him. The girl stepped out in front and pointed to AlphaDeus summoning a dog towards him. The manifestation of a puppy bolted towards AlphaDeus and grew larger as it thundered towards him. AlphaDeus stopped in his tracks and knelt to one knee again changing his chord to match with pure energy. He didn’t know if this was the right course of action, but it was his best guess.
The dog lunged at AlphaDeus’s neck and opened its jaws. AlphaDeus cut the monster in half dispersing the energy. He had such an affinity for music that he was able to tell what tones would be the best for cutting through certain materials. His best guesses were usually right. Plus, the sword wasn’t dull. It could achieve a normal cut, and the vibrations in the sword increased the damaging effects. The vibrations could saw through almost any material.
“Lenigod! No! You bastard!” Ashley was hysterical. “I’m going to fucking kill you!”
Ashley ran towards AlphaDeus summoning devils, spirits, and monsters from every story book and every horror story she had ever heard of. She had never hated someone so much in her life. But that made some sense because she couldn't remember a whole lot of anything. It was like her memories were black. She only remembered her childhood. Right now she wasn’t getting what she wanted. She was not able to summon Lenigod for some reason, and she was throwing a tantrum because of it.
The demons were so vast in number that they shrouded AlphaDeus. They all seemed to swoop in at him at once. He dropped the sword on the ground leaving two of his hands free. He slammed his fingers down onto the piano sword and in an area of effect an explosion of energy dispersed the demons. Ashley was the only one left, standing still and dumbfounded by the amazing counter-attack. AlphaDeus spun around and sliced Ashley in two leaving her legs standing for a moment before they too dropped into the sand.
“Oh my god! Ashley! Oh god no!” Anthony wailed in misery.
He had only been steps away from protecting his loved one, but she had been too confident in her attack. His emotions raged, but he was able to keep his composure. There were plenty of times when people he cared about had to die. They all had to die for a greater purpose. Maybe her death was for the best. At least her blood was not on his hands. Still, his spirit was vengeful. Anthony confronted AlphaDeus with his mask on, and his katana in-hand.
“You…” Anthony marked AlphaDeus.
AlphaDeus knelt to strike another chord. He swung immediately afterwards and Anthony easily blocked. The piano sword shattered Anthony’s katana into pieces. AlphaDeus’s piano sword followed straight through into Anthony’s shoulder. Anthony’s flesh, however, stopped the blade from even cutting through the first few layers of skin. Anthony had survived for years changing his age, becoming younger. Doing this caused his natural body to evolve a superior toughness. He never gained any bulk, but his muscle tone and skin toughness endured – leaving him a near impenetrable thick skin.
Anthony used his superior strength to take a jab at AlphaDeus’s throat. AlphaDeus felt his neck crack and cave into itself. Anthony jabbed at his neck again with the webbing of his hand. AlphaDeus covered his throat with his own hands trying to cough, but there wasn’t any air coming out. Anthony had sealed his air passages shut and brought his neck muscles into a spasm. AlphaDeus felt a tingle in his spine and dropped to the dirt. He felt dizzy and couldn’t hold onto his consciousness. AlphaDeus past out and before too long he died from lack of oxygen.
“Go!” Hugh said. “Protect Alice!”
Kraid ran off to tend to Alice. She had run off after huddling over Wolf in the middle of the battle. He ran to go make sure she was alright, but not a moment later he found her being held captive by a well dressed man. Alice struggled to get away from him but couldn’t escape his grasp.
“Kraid, don’t come closer!” Alice screamed. “He can’t be hurt!”
“What the hell?” Kraid said.
He took a moment to think, and started backing away. Kraid ran back to the battle to retrieve Hugh. In the distance he saw some people already down. James had just fallen and Elsa struggled to keep her composure. Kraid saw part of Elsa’s hand completely torn off and became slightly sick at the sight of it. Hugh walked slowly up to Elsa with his bat. She swung her sword wildly at him, but he came back at her finger stumps with the bat. Elsa shrieked, feeling massive amounts of pain.
Hugh’s weapon spoke to him. He knew that if the bat hit Elsa’s hand in such a way, that he could amplify the pain in her hand with almost no effort at all. The baseball bat told him this. And the next event wasn’t as painful, but completely lethal. The baseball bat told him that a simple strike to the temple could actually fracture her skull in five vulnerable places. It was Hugh’s way of telling the future. The object told him to raise his arm in a certain way, to bring his weapon down to a certain place, to connect at an exact destination, and all the way down using a precise amount of force.
Her skull exploded with pressure from the blow. Her eyes bled in her final moments. She remembered her friends and her family from long ago. She thought about how much wrong she had done to people. She had lost her husband Mongoose so long ago, and never recovered. And now she’s here and her skull didn’t seem to stay in the same places anymore. She thought of God and Heaven. Elsa wondered if there was anything else beyond.
“Why…” Elsa said as she collapsed.
“Hugh!” Kraid waived is arms, trying to get his attention.
Fame Designer approached with Alice, keeping her in his hands as a hostage. Hugh ran towards Alice to help her. He came up to him and searched for possible weak spots. The baseball bat told him of many areas that could strike Fame Designer, but the bat gave him a word of warning. It seemed like no matter what the bat said he could do, that there was no damage being achieved.
“You can’t hurt him with that!” Alice yelled.
“What can I do!?” Hugh said.
“I don’t know!” Alice responded.
“Hahahaha! This is – awesome!” Fame Designer said excited to see what happened next.
“Let’s see what kind of powers you have.” Hugh said.
He risked touching Fame Designer’s skin to retrieve what might be valuable information on how to kill him. Everyone has weaknesses, and Fame Designer wouldn’t be an exception. But, when he touched him, he was filled with much more history than he had ever received from a human being. The one main reason not to try to extract information from humans was that they held a long history. It never was life threatening until now. Fame Designer seemed to have two or even three lives of complete history.
Hugh took on too much information. He tried sifting through it like they were files. Fame Designer’s history showed that once upon a time, everyone being killed here today was once friends in another life previous to this one. There were many levels of reality beyond this, and perhaps that meant that this life was simply precursor to the rest of their lives in another world. Hugh felt comfort in this as the gigantic parade of data short circuited his brain. Hugh’s neurotransmitters shut down completely causing him to die inside a coma only a few seconds later.
Fame Designer stood there amazed trying to figure out what exactly Hugh’s power could have been. But he continued to walk towards the remaining few survivors. Kraid stumbled to the outside of the group, trying to stay away from weapons. Fame Designer threw Alice down into the dirt, preparing for a final confrontation. Anthony rose from Ashley’s body with a new found motivation to murder people.
Alice looked around to see most of her friends dead. She laid there in the sand and cried for them. She paid no attention to the other people standing. Seeing Wolf there unmoving was enough to shatter her will. James was also lying there in the sand with multiple stab wounds from Elsa’s sword.
The three of them stood there for a while trying to make decisions on how to proceed. Anthony seemed to be the only one who could fight. Fame Designer stood in wait. Kraid didn’t necessarily want to fight either of them, and hoped that they would fight each other first. But he wasn’t as lucky as James.
“I’ll take care of this one first.” Anthony said, pointing to Kraid and turning to Fame Deisgner. “Then I’ll take care of you.”
Happy Monday Destructoid. The story is all falling into place. Two more chapters left. Not much to say right now. No art this week because... First, no new characters. Second... Action scenes are hard. I'll have to think of something to insert art-wise later. Enjoy!
James thought of strategy. He had a very bad feeling about the meeting in Silent Hill. It was only a matter of time until they found out once and for all what the answer to the mystery of the Greenvale killer. It was Anthony behind it all, if they were to believe The Comedian. But everything he said was too likely considering the facts. Anthony’s powers fit the bill. Fame Designer and Ashley were the only people on the list that he didn’t know about. James suspected they fell into the equation somewhere. The first thing to do, however, was to find Anthony.
“What are we going to do if we find them?” Kraid said. “I’m not sure that I can help. Making people classy is what I do. I don’t kill people. I’m not great in battle.”
“Then continue to do what you’ve been doing.” James said. “Give support from the back and protect Alice.”
“Hey!” Alice exclaimed. “I can fight!”
“Forgive me m’lady.” Wolf pleaded. “I would never forgive myself if you were hurt. Please let us handle things. Be ready to run if all is lost.”
“I won’t run.” Alice said. “No way…”
“Over there.” Hugh said. “What is that?”
They all looked over to see another group approaching. Corduroy Turtle was in front. A girl walked alongside Anthony. She seemed to be happy and smiling, looking at Anthony more than she was looking at anything else. And there was another girl wearing Elsa’s clothes.
“That’s… Elsa?” Hugh suggested on closer inspection.
“Anthony changed her.” James whispered under his breath.
Hugh widened his eyes. His head turned to James quickly. James’s whole body tensed up. On instinct he drew his sword. Hugh turned back to the other group with his baseball bat in hand. Wolf drew his sword. AlphaDeus turned on a sound device connected to his sword. The piano sword hummed. Alice backed away keeping a hand on her sword hilt, and Kraid followed her closely.
The other group had their weapons out already. James noticed Anthony’s katana. It fit the description completely. Beyamor’s case had been solved. Everything made sense now. As the four of them walked closer Anthony fastened a half black and half white mask to his face. It was just as Wolf had described. It was the mask that had driven Winged Kraby mad.
Anthony’s group stopped. Corduroy still walked in front. He carried his bo staff forwards and pointed it at Wolf. Corduroy called him forwards. James shook his body to release tension. A one on one battle without any negotiations seemed like a strange move. Wolf knew it was personal. Corduroy was young now, ready to fight the well armored knight. Wolf turned to Alice and looked at her for a moment. In his mind and in his heart, he said goodbye to her. Alice’s eyes shined with worry.
“Have at you!” Wolf yelled in Corduroy’s direction.
Corduroy Turtle leapt forwards and ran towards Wolf. Wolf took long strides but moved slowly in Turtle’s direction. Neither side moved other than the two fighters stepping into the battle. Wolf took the first swing and chopped horizontally at Corduroy, swiping at him like he was using a baseball bat. Wolf’s sword clanged against Corduroy’s force field. The energy from the shield crackled and reformed. Wolf’s arm stung, and as he grabbed his arm Corduroy slammed Wolf’s face with a wooden staff.
Wolf lay on the ground, dazed. Blood drained from his suit. With his tactile telekinetic powers he rose again effortlessly. Carrying weight was his specialty. In his old age, his powers were weaker. Anthony saw to that long ago. But he could still use his will to push further. Wolf’s footsteps surrounded themselves with blood. Corduroy’s weapon was surrounding itself with the energy shield.
Corduroy stepped sideways to dodge Wolf’s attack. He dodged quickly enough to take one more swipe at Wolf’s weapon, knocking it and Wolf’s arm away and exposing Wolf’s chest armor. Wolf stumbled backwards and took another shot in the center of his armor from Corduroy’s blunt weapon. The energy from Corduroy’s weapon shot right through Wolf’s armor and stopped his heart. Wolf held his ground for a moment. Bit by bit, darkness was clouding the outsides of his eyes. Wolf fell to his knees.
In an attempt to end the battle, Corduroy whipped his bo staff around a few times before bringing it down on Wolf. The blow from the staff shattered Wolf’s armor and fractured the bones in his arm. The arm had blocked the death strike and Wolf pushed his hand past the force field. Wolf grabbed Corduroy’s neck. His heart continued to beat slowly as he pulled Corduroy closer.
“Shit.” Elsa said, spitting onto the ground.
“Get him!” Anthony said angrily.
“No!” Alice screamed as she pulled away from Kraid.
Alice ran towards Wolf with her sword now drawn. She jumped past James who tried to stop her. Elsa sprinted towards Wolf with blurring speed. Corduroy tried to pull away, but the more he pulled the more his neck separated from his body. He took his bo staff and furiously chopped down on Wolf’s arm, severing the limb from Wolf’s torso. But wolf had already driven his own sword past Corduroy’s armor again.
“No, no no, wait…” Corduroy pleaded.
“The slow blade penetrates the shield.” Wolf said.
Wolf’s blade sank through Corduroy’s suit and through his rib cage. Elsa saw the blade emerge from Corduroy’s back. Corduroy struggled to heave air into the punctured lung, but only blood seemed to enter it. And as the blood entered his other lung he could no longer breathe. Corduroy twitched and his torso shook. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, trying to stay around for a moment longer. Corduroy thought of his destiny. He fell on the ground, puncturing Wolf’s sword deeper and at a different awkward angle. Corduroy fell asleep and then he died.
Elsa, finally stepping over Wolf, saw Alice coming. James was following closely behind. Before Elsa could stab Wolf to death, Alice covered Wolf with her body. Elsa hesitated for a moment before deciding to kill Alice first. And in that moment of hesitation, James was able to crouch under Elsa and block her attack. Their swords clanged together and Alice winced. Alice felt death looming and thought that maybe she had been lucky to be alive at that moment.
“Alice…” Wolf said. “M’lady… Please. You have to run now. I fear this will end with all of us dying. I… am dying. Please. Alice… Save yourself.”
Alice hugged Wolf and cried into his armor. Her tears dripped onto his face and he smiled. He hoped she would listen to his words. Alice rose from the bloody heap of armor and swallowed her fears to run off and away from both of the groups. Elsa and James started to fight one on one, and everyone else seemed to edge in closer to the fight.
It hadn’t been even one minute before Alice ran into another man approaching the battle. He wore a tie. His shirt and slacks looked awkward walking on land that resembled a desert. Sand blew across his shirt and got in his pockets. His tie would rarely hang where it was supposed to. She swiped him with her sword and cut his shirt. She paused to look at his arm, and she found no blood. Instinctually she grabbed her own arm and felt a cut there instead. She froze, not knowing exactly what to do. The man grabbed her arm and introduced himself.
“My name is Fame Designer.” He said. “You’re coming with me.”
There are a few people still that we haven't seen in the story yet. There are people I wish I could stuff into the story here or there because they're awesome, but there are some of those people I will not be able to write in. I don't want to give a list of people I've entered into the story to save a few surprises... but I do want to give a shout out to someone who will absolutely be in the story. Sorry to spoil it but, Handy - you will be in there somewhere in the last chapters. I knew that since like chapter 8 or something. But, I have to give you a shout out. I was figuring out how your character will look, and I looked through every single one of your blogs. They were hard to get through. Mostly because I was laughing too hard to move on. Handy - dude - you probably have one of the best senses of humor that I know of. Props to you. Thank you for giving me a night of laughter.
In the morning, Ravensdale was brightly lit without a cloud in the sky. James walked with his group walking into a deserted set of buildings that, despite the well lit area, seemed shady and evil. Around every corner of every building and coming out of the windows were shadows that seemed to push themselves out into the sunlight. James readied his sword and that prompted his team to do the same. Hugh stood to one side with his baseball bat and on the other stood Wolf with his blade out and ready to strike. Kraid and Alice Dixon were in the middle with AlphaDeus covering the back.
"Do you think there is anyone here?" James questioned.
"There is always someone." Hugh said. "Always expect someone."
"I always think everything could be a trap." AlphaDeus said. "Which is why I'm still alive."
"Is this really the appropriate time for that?" Wolf said.
"I think the joke is on you." A man said out of their line of sight.
"Who is there!" Wolf said. "Show yourself!"
"Why have you come to Ravensdale?" The voice said.
"We're looking for the masked man." James said. "Someone in a mask that is killing hundereds of thousands of people. He has great power. And we intend to take him down."
"Ah yes... Let me introduce myself..." A man emerged from the shadows carrying a shot gun and wore a small mask over his eyes. "My name is Gareth. Some people call me The Comedian."
"Pppttthhhheehehehe..." Alice laughed.
"What?" James turned. "What's so funny?"
"He's a comedian. I just." Alice raised an eyebrow. "I thought it was funny?"
Gareth walked towards James with his shotgun aimed level with his stomach. James looked around at his team and they were starting to smile. He noticed that there was a feeling rising up from his throat. Something tickled him. The whole situation was a bit funny and ridiculous, and he let a bit of a hiccup sounding laugh out of his esophagus.
"Anthony sent you didn't he?" Gareth said. "He sent you all here to die. You all have been tricked. You're looking for a masked man and of course he sends you to me. Was he a reverend? A preacher this time?"
"What? Heheh... Are you saying Anthony is the masked man? Phuhuehhehe... Ahhh... Breathe..." Hugh said, trying to keep control. "Cckekeheheh... ugh... That's... impossible. Isn't it? I mean he helped us. He healed people. Out of everyone he seemed to be the most humane."
"They aren't really healing powers." Gareth said while he lined up his shotgun on James's head. "He's just making you younger, and then older again to preserve your age."
Everyone broke out into laughter because his explanation seemed quite funny at that point. Gareth was not surprised by the laughter. After all he was The Comedian. He could read phone numbers from a phone book and people would laugh. It was painful being the clown because no one would listen. Nothing important could be said. All his life, people would brush him off. So, instead of suffering other people, he became The Comedian of Ravensdale and before long became the reason that no one went there anymore.
It had all come down to this. James turned into the barrel of the shotgun and froze in time. His thoughts crystallized into a clear epiphany. His lucky coin had always pointed him straight towards Anthony every time. His luck told him to stay with Anthony when his coin was doing strange things like not landing on ether side. Anthony Burch was their man, but he couldn't prove it. It was a shame, because he knew how to prove it very easily if, in fact, they had been double-crossed. AlphaDeus had to make a new list of superheros and see who was dead. If there was anyone dead in Anthony's team, then if Anthony was also alive, he would have some explaining to do. Such a shame to realize this now, James thought.
Everyone continued laughing. They rolled on the floor laughing. They curled up and laughed on the floor rolling around struggling to breathe. They laughed out loud until they had tears in their eyes. The only one not amused was Gareth.
"Let's see who laughs last." Gareth said confidently.
"Hahahahahaha!" Everyone laughed.
Gareth pulled the trigger and the gun misfired, shooting the metal parts of the shotgun into his own face. The metal burned and he dropped his gun. Hot splinters of metal were embedded deep within his nostrils and his mouth. He could feel some of it in his neck and his forehead. He was in extreme pain and was having trouble breathing. The metal in his throat started sealing up his flesh and breathing stopped. His mouth hung open trying to scream but his vocal chords were all shot up with beads of metal as well. His knees hit the ground and he started grabbing at his own face as his vision went dark. He wasn't able to feel his hands or face to be able to tell whether or not he was able to take out any of the metal shards. His body convulsed as his lungs filled with blood. After drowning in blood he lay still. And only after he lay there for a few moments and his spirit left his body did the laughter cease.
"That, was a strange ability." Hugh said. "I don't think we can exactly be ready for powers like that. I mean, we come in here with bats and swords, and sometimes these mental power guys just fuck us up."
"I got lucky." James said. "The gun misfired. And The Comedian blew his own face off."
"Do you believe him?" Kraid said. "About our Reverend Anthony?"
"I don't know." James said. "There are fewer and fewer options. Fewer choices of people this masked man could be. We need to get to AlphaDeus's computer to check for the survivor list. Then we will know where to go next. Let's head for North Bend."
"Niero." AlphaDeus said.
"Niero?" Hugh asked.
"The computer is called Niero." Alphadeus explained.
Near North Bend Alphadeus's lair was covered in wires and technology. It had been untouched since they had been there. Niero sat in the middle of the room shut off for the moment, but with the flick of a switch Niero was turned on. Niero lit up red and green. And when Niero was functional, AlphaDeus started giving the computer his commands.
After a few keystrokes a list was spit out.
"No Beyamor." James said. "Damn it. The list was too big last time."
"Could it be that Elsa and Anthony have deceived us?" Hugh said.
"That's what this looks like." AlphaDeus said. "Law and Beyamor are dead."
"Okay, wait." Alice whined. "Maybe they're in trouble! I mean couldn't Anthony and Elsa be under attack? They might need our help!"
"We need to find them either way." Kraid said.
"Yes, exactly." Hugh seconded.
"Corduroy Turtle?" Wolf said. "He's the guy that beat me with his bo staff skills."
"I don't know a few of the people on this list." James said as he flipped a coin.
The coin showed heads on the upward facing side. It answered a question James had asked about Anthony. He had asked the coin to show him Anthony's true nature. The coin had answered yes to the question: "Is he our man?"
"I think he's our man." James said. "But, I will hold judgement until the facts are in."
"Then we head back towards Silent Hill." Hugh suggested. "Something tells me we are going to run into them."
Hello friends. Another chapter as promised. Four more to go. I didn't have a picture or a reference for Handsome Beast - but later on I have a list of pictures that I need to add to some of the existing chapters, so I'll be trying to update those as we head closer to PAX 2011. Very special chapter. And hmm... I think it is high time we got to the good guys! But that is for next chapter. Thanks for all the comments last time! It was good to see everyone that I remember still alive and kickin'. And very special thanks to my as always wonderful and talented girlfriend Kahla for Elsa's picture!
Handsome Beast stood there unassuming in his suit and tie. He waited there patiently for Virgilio who was just a bit late for his appointment with him. In an alleyway he sat against a wall and smoked a cigarette. It was a cool night and the sunset painted the roads and buildings pink, purple and blue. It wasn’t often that he was able to truly enjoy himself and relax. There was always something going wrong in this god forsaken world he lived in, but not right at this moment. He wondered how it could possibly get better than this.
Virgilio approached and he looked rushed and worried. He strutted over to Beast with an automatic rifle slung over his shoulder. He looked different these days. He sported a red tie and sunglasses. Virgilio looked positively like he was going to come over and slap him. Beast rose his hands up and got ready to put a hand on his own firearm that was currently holstered.
Virgilio stopped and whispered, “Beast, we have to get out – of – here!”
“What? Why are we whispering?” Beast said.
“Elsa is near.” Virgilio pointed in the general direction of where he saw her group. “We have to get out of here.”
“Shit, she’s going to kill us.” Beast said. “Thanks for finding me.”
“We can thank god for me later.” Virgilio said. “Follow me.”
Down the road two people walked towards Anthony. One of them looked familiar. She was just a girl but Anthony thought maybe he had seen her before. The man beside her was Corduroy back from his mission to kill the forest spirit. He remembered his previous encounter with him that had happened long ago. He couldn’t quite get a hold on what Corduroy’s weakness was back then. In one on one combat he could always use some sort of force field to protect himself from weapons. This was before he had returned Corduroy to his previous state. He had almost defeated him in the battle, but he had almost died trying.
Anthony suspected all Corduroy had to say was that he finished the job. As they came closer he started to put together who the child was. It was his long lost love Ashley Davis. It was around two years ago that they lost contact. He wanted to hide Ashley away for her safety before a scheduled encounter with a skilled swordsman, so he changed her into a five year old to hide her identity. He had promised that he would come back to her and bring her back to the same age but it never came to pass.
He had retreated from the battle badly injured. In the time that it took him to come back to find Ashley, she had gone missing. It wasn’t until later that he found out that the attacker was Wolf. Possibly it was he that kept Ashley away, but there she was – only a little older than when he left her. This was Anthony’s chance to bring her back.
“Anthony!” Corduroy said. “I mean her no harm! I found her in the same place I found the forest spirit!”
“You mean everyone harm you bastard!” Anthony yelled.
“My darling! Ashley!” Anthony cried. “Do NOT hurt her!”
“I bring this child safely to you.” Corduroy said. “You have to trust me. Please. I knew when I saw this child alone, that it had been your doing.”
“Why?” Anthony said, carrying young Ashley in his arms. “Why would you do this for me?”
“I owe you my life. You saved me when you could have left me to rot.” Corduroy said. “We’re the bad guys. The good guys are dropping like flies and probably have very little support left. We should be teaming up against them to wipe them out.”
“So, what do you know of your purpose here in the world?” Anthony asked.
“There are things I suspect.” Corduroy said. “I suspect that I do not live a normal life in this world… My life seems special. I feel I’m a part of something greater.”
“Indeed Corduroy Turtle.” Anthony pondered. “Perhaps you are. But if it comes down to you, me, Ashley, and anyone else still alive, I think we might have to duel it out ourselves. We will duel if, in fact, our purpose is to see who stands last.”
“In the end, what does the last man standing get for all his, or her, trouble?” Corduroy looked over at Elsa.
Elsa nodded and said: “It could be that our purpose is to prevent something awful from happening. It could be that there is no purpose. If you ask me, all we really know is that all the people with nano-machine based powers are being picked off to finish out some sort of end game.”
“I love you Anthony.” Ashley said nuzzling him.
“I love you too my darling girl.” Anthony said wondering if she remembered anything. “I will change you back. And everything will be as it was.”
“But,” Ashley pouted. “You said you might have to kill me.”
“You might have to kill me too Ashley.” Anthony smiled.
“It’s not fair!” Ashley cried.
“I know baby girl,” Anthony said. “But listen. First thing’s first. I have to sacrifice someone to make you better.”
“Okay…” Ashley continued to pout.
Elsa pointed towards an alleyway just past a few of the buildings. It was sunset now and there was calm warmth in the air. Elsa told Anthony to distract the two people trying to retreat to their left hand side. On one of the twisting roads, Anthony was told to cut them off and wait for her signal.
Anthony ran around the buildings and followed the road they were supposed to be retreating to. Elsa has an amazing sense of direction. They all bumped right into each other and both of the suited men, seeing Anthony, fumbled around for their guns. They saw Anthony starting his ritualistic approach to extracting their youth. He sat comfortably down on his knees and started accelerating their lives.
“Anthony, you don’t want to do this.” Virgilio said using his persuasion ability.
“I – don’t want to…” Anthony stopped the aging process.
“I’m much too handsome to die.” Handsome Beast said.
“Too handsome… Too handsome to die…” Anthony mumbled, hypnotized by the both of them.
They had similar powers and were both completely in control of Anthony’s actions. But Anthony had distracted them enough for Elsa to come down from above and pierce Virgilio’s skull and lodge the blade in between most of his vertebrae. Virgilio froze with his mouth open and a surprised look on his face. Handsome Beast turned and spoke in enough time to catch Elsa’s ears.
“I’m so… so freaking handsome.” Beast said.
“You’re… Damn you’re so fine…” Elsa was love struck.
“I wouldn’t kill such a handsome dude.” Anthony said.
Corduroy Turtle wound up and smacked Handsome Beast hard in the back of the head with his bo staff. Beast’s neck muscles held together, but the muscles were the only strands of flesh holding on. His spine spilled out in threads. The blood vessels and veins splattered blood in a nova around his feet. His feeding tubes drained of a burrito Beast had eaten just minutes before now, oozing out into what was left of his breathing tube that was making vile sucking noises. The muscles that were still attached miraculously kept his head from falling right off, but Handsome Beast only succeeded in twitching and making squishy noises before his body fell to the ground in a heap of bones and flesh, no longer held together by his will.
“You guys looked like you were in trouble.” Corduroy said, seeing Anthony and Elsa snap out of what looked like a trance.
“Yeah, yes,” Anthony said. “Of course, thank you Turtle.”
“Okay, okay.” Elsa said, shaking her head. “Let’s get down to business.”
Ashley walked over and sat by Anthony. Anthony pushed out his hands towards the two freshly dead corpses. Slowly, Ashley and Elsa changed as the bodies turned to ash. Elsa looked at her hands as they turned younger. Her whole body seemed to become hydrated with youth. As it happened, she ran her fingers over her neck and her face. Her breasts were larger and firmer. Ashley grew spontaneously into her proper twenty something age, went through puberty, grew long locks of hair, and developed her mature womanly features.
“My love…” Anthony said staring into Ashley’s eyes. “We are together again.”
“This time forever, okay?” Ashley said.
“Forever is just fine.” Anthony said, knowing that it wasn’t true.
“I know what my power is now!” Ashley said excited. “Leni!!! Lenigod!!!”
A puppy scampered around one of the buildings and landed in Anthony’s lap.
“It’s… Our old dog!” Anthony was surprised. “I thought he was dead!”
“He ‘is’ dead, silly.” Ashley explained. “This is a figment of my imagination.”
Anthony broke a sweat realizing that Ashley may currently be the most powerful one in the group. With her power, she could potentially wipe out anyone that crossed her. All those years alone she had to fend for herself. It must have been then that she learned how to do it. She was alone, and needed a friend. Her imaginary friends must have come true.
It had been a while since Crime had started looking, but he found the designer’s lair. For the amount of area he covered trying to find it, it seemed as if it was a little too easy to find. It seemed like it was his destiny to do this very thing. Every time he searched his feelings, it led him here. Something was guiding him. But when he tried to figure out who or what was guiding him, nothing came to him.
There was a bunker in a short distance past all of the dust that seemed to hover in the air. The sun lit all of the dirt that the wind lifted. It simultaneously made the dust, the sunlight, and even the wind visible. And until he stepped down into a metal ramp it was hard to breathe in all the dry hot weather. Walking down the ramp, Crime realized that the dust seemed to be repelled by whatever energy seemed to be flowing in the floors and the walls of the bunker.
The whole bunker was made of metal and seemed more like a vault when Crime came to a large door. The door, of course, could not be forced open. Crime screamed at the vault door in the off chance that his power could unhinge it, but nothing moved. The echo of his voice off of the walls pierced his ears. The pain added to the frustration of not being able to enter the lair he had fought so hard to access.
There was, however, a strange white wall there that was uncharacteristic of the bunker that was surrounded by the usual thick sheets of metal. A robotic arm set itself up and out of a mechanically opening door on the opposite side of the bunker. Crime looked at the weapon that the robotic arm carried quizzically for a moment. The gun shot a projectile energy blast into the white wall and opened up a portal onto it.
Crime knew all too well that this meant he was being invited in. Memories of his past lives were becoming clearer. He looked in the portal to find a man staring back at him. If this was the famous game designer then maybe this was really the end of the story, Crime thought. Crime instead lunged for the portal weapon, thinking that it would be a powerful weapon against the designer – if it came to that. Unfortunately the robotic arm yanked the weapon backwards and collapsed quickly inside of the metal wall it came from.
“Crime, please enter.” Fame Designer smiled at his desk, folding his hands together.
He walked towards Fame with a slight hesitation. Crime didn’t know what he really wanted. He didn’t know exactly how things were supposed to turn out. The game Fame built might be a single player game, a multi-player game, a linear game, a non-linear game, or it could even have been a movie, a book, or simply a blog. Crime hoped that he was destined to last until the end.
Crime entered the portal and found himself in an office. Fame Designer sat back in his chair and welcomed him.
“So, here we are again.” Fame smiled. “I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my game, but apparently I have some bugs in it still.”
“Ah, so it is a game.” Crime raised his investigation finger.
“Yes.” Fame said. “And that means you know way too much.”
Fame Designer stood up from his chair abruptly and it was thrown backwards clanging against the wall. They stared at each other silently for a moment. Fame tried to gauge his reaction. Crime stood his ground, flinching only slightly. The air was hot and humid in the room now, and both Crime and Fame formed droplets of sweat on their foreheads.
“Reminds me of Beyamor… This humid room…” Crime said.
“Hah, yes – perhaps people are moist when they fear death.” Fame said.
“Why is it that everyone is dying Fame? Why design the game to involve so much death?” Crime asked, trembling, while simultaneously asking himself what Fame Designer’s powers were.
“Don’t be so dramatic Crime Minister.” Fame Designer waived his hand, trying to brush off his comment. “It is simple… Be the last man standing and you win the game. The point of all of this was to play the game without our previous memories of each other. We are all a part of this. All of our friends from Destructoid are a part of it, but they’ve had their minds erased for the purpose of living inside this world, and this world alone. Your memories persist. Perhaps your memories led you here to me.”
“But we could have just lived out our lives here without knowing.” Crime said. “What if we were stuck here?”
Fame explained, “There are timers, conditions, and people that will stop the game in the event of an emergency. When the game is over, I will see you on the other side. However, I hope that I can kill you first, so that you do not reveal the secret to anyone else. Although, if you kill me first, I humbly request that you also role-play your part in all this, and refrain from revealing the game’s true nature. There is something… human… about not knowing what the after-life is like. Let them play their parts out. Let them experience this world, for what it is designed to be.”
“And if I win, what happens to you?” Crime asked.
“I wake up back at home and watch over all of you. Fix bugs in the program. And respond to the people complaining that our single player version of the game requires you to be online.” Fame said.
“Single-player online? That does sound kind of stupid doesn’t it?” Crime reacted.
“Damn it.” Fame slammed his fist against his desk. “The idea of single-player online isn’t new. You do it all the time with games in your browser or on other platforms that are online only. It is the perfect way to stop cheating and piracy. There is no way to pirate our game unless someone hacks into our servers, gets our code, and takes the time to figure out how to reverse engineer our code and sync it with our clients. They’d have to run their own servers! They would be paying with their own money! It makes things way too hard for hackers. And why would anyone complain? Everyone has internet all the freakin’ time anyway and we are only charging a subscription fee of about a dollar a month.”
“Woah, dude…” Crime said.
“Sorry…” Fame said. “So, it’s your move. I have absolutely no idea what my power is.”
Without anymore thought, Crime roared and shook the room with the power of his voice. Papers flew about and glass lamps cracked and shattered onto the floor. The wood of the oak desk cracked into pieces. Fame Designer squinted at the wind twister of garbage but felt nothing. The sound made by Crime Minister seemed to shudder even the walls of the bunker and the rock enforcing the walls behind it.
Crime Minister felt numb. He had never attacked someone outright and on purpose. Perhaps it was his own ears being damaged, but in the past he had gotten used to such things. Something was different now. He closed his hands around his ears and felt a slippery substance. He began to take his voice down a notch, but upon looking at his hands covered in blood he screamed in fear – louder than ever before.
Fame Designer stood upright and confident in his newly realized power. He walked towards Crime, still screaming in his direction. The closer he got, the more powerful the noise. Crime pushed his powers as far as they could go, but he saw his death coming. Fame caught Crime as he fell. And there was silence. Fame seemed undamaged.
“The waves of energy I produced.” Crime struggled to speak. “It was like they were fed right back into me.”
“I think that is my power.” Fame said. “Whatever damage is done to me is deflected and done to someone else. I wonder what the implica-”
“If you are talking,” Crime interrupted. “I cannot hear you… If your power is what I think it is then you should be careful that it doesn’t go both ways.”
“Thanks for the tip Crime Minister.” Fame said as Crime Minister died.