Pachinko

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - Create New Player

Submitted: April 28, 2019

Reads: 36

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Submitted: April 28, 2019

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I dreamt of her you know, the one. It has been over twelve years since I last thought of her, the one I loved. The only one I never loved with such intensity. The one separated from me because of bad timing and other trivialities that prevented us from being with each other. In my dream we were at a party together, like the ones the boy scouts used to throw. She loved parties, while I hated them. I was being my awkward self, standing with my fiends, arms folded, as the only one not dancing. I felt the groove of the music, but for some reason it never left my head, leaving my feet paralyzed. She was across the tent, dancing like her life depended on it. Looking at her made the music fade away in my head an my vision was focussed solely on her, like we were the only ones there. I was trying to gather enough courage to approach her, to finally let her know I existed, that I was madly in love with her. When I finally gathered enough courage, from out of nowhere another guy appeared, lurking from under the shadows, placing his hand on her lower back and they started kissing. All the courage that was build up inside me fell right back to my feet, leaving me and my secret love for her all alone, even though I was surrounded by a bunch of dancing people. There I was, nailed to the floor. But more than anything, when I looked into the eyes of the girl I loved, I knew I could never be with her, not at that time. Somewhere inside of me a little bit of hope clenched on to a very small part of my broken heart. 

I never really had a girlfriend before you know. I think I was just scared of opening up to people. Of course I’ve had crushes before, but after her I never acted on them. Secretly I loved them but at the same time I never loved anyone as much as I loved her. 

 

Ever since I saw the Great Wave off Kanagawa from Hokusai, I wanted to visit Mt. Fuji. To be able to use it as my own personal inspiration to paint, as it had done to so many other artists before me. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan standing at a 12,389 feet. I didn’t know it’s also an active volcano, but luckily it hasn’t erupted since 1708. On a clear day it’s possible to see it from Tokyo, even though its located sixty miles south-west of the city. So it took us a while to get there, two hours by motor coach to be exact. Our first stop was the visitor centre, which held mostly general information about the mountain. Since it’s still an active volcano, this was rather interesting. Our next stop was the fifth station, which held a lot of shops, a small shrine and a great view of the mountain. We were lucky to see the exceptionally symmetrical cone covered in snow, which only happened for five months a year. This was the most known symbol of Japan, whenever you think of Japan, you would think of Mt. Fuji. It’s quite oblivious I couldn’t bring all my painting equipment with me, so I just brought a notebook and a few pencils with me. When I get home I’ll make my sketches into real paintings, but one thing was sure. The mountain that has given inspiration to great artists, was rubbing some of that off on me. I quickly opened my sketchbook and started drawing. My hand was moving over that piece of paper as if my mind was directing it without me. Almost instinctively it moved to the right spots, creating a whole new mountain on paper. Art has always been a part of me, a way to communicate with the deeper self of both me, the artist, and the viewers. Even with it just being a sketch and not even a real painting yet, it was able to make my heart explode and my soul sing. This is what I wanted to accomplish with everyone else when they would view my art pieces. 

We had booked our tour to Mt. Fuji in our hotel lobby and it also included a trip to Hakone, about an hour and a half from Mt. Fuji, so that’s where we were headed next. Through a cableway we went up another volcano, to a place where they made black eggs. I know what you’re thinking, black eggs? Who would eat black eggs? But these were actually regular chicken eggs, which they would boil on the spot. Due to a chemical reaction with the sulfurous water, the shell would turn black. Locals sometimes refer this valley as “The Death Valley”. About 3000 years ago, Mount Hakone erupted, leaving the crater filled with a hot spring. All along the way to the black egg vendor are active sulfuric geysers, which can be hazardous at sometimes. During potential unsafe conditions, the road to the egg vendor would be closed. Luckily we were there on a good day, so we were able to witness the whole boiling process. One one hand I really wanted to try one, but in the end I didn’t. I couldn’t get it over my head eating a black egg. Event though local legend holds that for each black egg eaten, seven years are added to one’s life. My life was already miserable, I didn’t want to risk adding seven miserable years to that. 

 

I was looking around the lake for a good spot to draw Mount Fuji. Under the blue sky, the view was astonishing, for the lake and its whole surroundings were brimming with life. Lake Ashi was surrounded by a majestic atmosphere and the magnificent Mout Fuji appeared on the mirror-like surface of the lake. I couldn’t picture myself a better scenery to immortalize in my sketchbook. I brought my black one, with hard cover so it wouldn’t tear easily. It also had an elastic closure to protect my drawings inside. As it came to my artwork, I was really picky on what materials I used, even going to the type of paper to draw on. As for my pencil, I brought my preferred art pencil with me, a Staedler Mars Lumograph 2B. It had a great feel in my hand, making it very comfortable to work with. At the end of the day it really is just a pencil, but still I felt the difference with other brands. 

The lake is the finest of mirrors, never really showing what lies beneath, only converting it to an image so beautifully broken. I love painting reflections on the water, they had always intrigued me. Maybe that was the reason why, because most of the time my life felt broken too. Besides showing an exact replica of real life, it somehow showed another reality too. It’s like they offered you a gateway to another reality. I had my sketchbook in front of me and I saw my pencil move across the paper. At first I didn’t know where to begin, but eventually a clear form of a mountain took hold on the paper. I lightly sketched in an outline of the horizon, the lake, trees and the mountain. I made sure I kept the outlines light as I would only use them as guidelines. Using my 2B Staedler pencil, I cross-hatched multiple, evenly applied layers of graphite over the entire lake area. The sky tone gradually lightened as it reached the horizon line, where the sky met with the water. The mountain itself was a simple structure. I made it look like the sun was kissing it’s snowy surface. I kept most of the details indistinct. Using a very tight scribbling pencil stroke, I drew the outlines of the background trees.

My artwork consisted basically of a rough outline, but detailed enough to already capture your heart and never let go. The plan was to finish it later in time, but for now, I had to make sure I was back in Tokyo in time. 

 

Super Potato 19h45 - I got there early, which gave me enough to time to check out the interior of this place, make sure it was really a public place after all. I had to navigate my way through a maze of computer stores, manga shops and a lot of girls in maid costumes to get here. By hearing the sounds of 8-bit video game keyboard music, I knew I was in the right place. The first floor I saw was filled with toys and gifts from video games themes. There was even a huge collection of stuffed animals from your favorite character. The fifth floor was were I was supposed to meet with that strange man. This floor had a vintage video game arcade with a collection of old games. Their collection wasn’t as big as other arcades, but they made up for it with their collection of memorable classic games of which you thought they were extinct. I was supposed to meet him at the arcade machine of Pac-Man. As a kid I used to love this game, playing a yellow blob who is roaming through a maze swallowing white circles. All while being chase by four ghosts named Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. Even I’m surprised I still know their names, while I haven’t played it in several decades. This definitely brought back some memories. 

I was halfway my game of Pac-Man when I heard a man coughing behind me.

“Having fun?”

Looking over my shoulder I noticed it was the same man who claimed to have something that would help me. Looking at him had caused me my last life. Back when I was I kid, my score used to be twice as high as this, without even losing a single life. 

“I don’t think I have properly introduced myself. My name is Hirohito, so this makes us not strangers anymore, right?”

“You’re right I guess, my name is Brian.”

While I was stretching out my hand, Hirohito was already bowing in front of me. Quickly I place my arms beside my body and returned a respectful bow. 

“So,” I continued, “you told me you had something that would make me feel better, right?”

“Cutting straight to the point, I like that! Follow me!”

He gestured his hand, telling me I had to follow him. We made our way trough dozens of arcade machines, going from Pac-Man to Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Tempest and even Frogger, to some dark room in the back. All kinds of different arcade machines were stowed here. I’m guessing these were all the ones that needed repairs or something. 

“What are all these machines doing here?” I asked Hirohito.

He completely ignored my question and urged me to follow him to a machine covered under a white sheet. There wasn’t a lot of light in the room, so I couldn’t really read its name when he uncovered the white sheet. It kind of looked like a Pachinko machine and the arcade machine of Donkey Kong made a baby. The whole machine looked like a vintage arcade machine, but half of the screen looked like a Pachinko machine. 

“I know this looks weird,” Hirohito said to me.”

“It kinda does yeah.”

“You could say it looks like some prototype for a whole new gaming experience. First you need to beat the score of your predecessor with Pachinko, which would be mine in this case. After you beat my score, the other part of the screen will start a new game, one in which you will play the lead role. I know this must seem crazy, but it works, trust me!”

I was still a little skeptical about the whole thing. 

“So how would I be playing a lead role in a video game?” I asked him.

“Well, it’s not really like playing a video game. The machine will literally suck you into another world, into a character and world of your choosing.”

“Look man, I got to say this all seems a little crazy for my taste. Are you really expecting me to believe any of this?”

“Why don’t you do me a favor and just try it out? There’s no harm in that right?”

He did make a good point, even if it was just another retro game, what harm could it do?

“Alright then, I’ll give it a try.”

“I got to warn you though, this game connects with your mind. Meaning it will go deep within your conscience to find your hidden desires and fears. It’s built in such a way that it might use your own fears against you. Are you prepared for that?”

“One way to find out I guess.”

I got to say I was feeling rather confident about myself, as far as I knew I wasn’t really afraid of anything, so what could a arcade game possibly use against me?

 

The moment he plugged the machine in, an electronic sound filled the space, together with a bright white light that lit up the entire room. When it finally dimmed down, the right side of the screen remained black, while the built-in Pachinko machine was emitting light in all kinds of vibrant colors. Because Pachinko is rather unknown in Belgium, I haven’t been able to built up my skills. Hirohito explained the rules one more time and guided me through the whole process. Being quite inexperience with this game, it took me several attempts to beat his high score. Luckily for me, his high score wasn’t that high, so I was able to beat it after my fifth try. The second I saw my score on top of that list, two lines of white text appeared on that black screen:

 

Continue

Create New Player

 

Hirohito was urging me to create a new player. Back then I didn’t know why he wanted that so bad, but I was eager to check out the game. I moved the joystick to create new player. Another white line of text appeared:

 

Place thumbs on scanner

 

I was looking at Hirohito, ready to ask what scanners the machine meant. Before I could even ask that question, I saw two handles appear on both the left side and the right side of the machine. By now, the whole machine reminded me of a pinball machine.  So basically it combined three different kind of gaming machines, made into one. The moment I grabbed both handles on the side of the machine, I felt a small needle the size of a thumb nail penetrate the skin of my thumbs. A small drop of blood escaped the opening where the needle had penetrated my skin. I felt it flowing right down the handle and right into the machine. 

“WHAT THE HELL MAN?”

Hirohito reassured me that all of this was normal, even the screeching noised the machine started to produce.

How can no one hear this? I thought to myself. With this amount of noise, somebody must have found out about this machine by now, even though they kept it hidden from the public; as if no one was supposed to know it existed. I was dying to found out what was going to happen next.

The whole room started spinning, faster and faster until it looked a circle filled with white dots. It felt like I was being sucked into a scene from Star Wars, ready to jump into hyperspace.


© Copyright 2020 Nick Van loy. All rights reserved.

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