When you turn off your xbox, playstation, pc, SNES, or insert platform of choice, the screen goes black and you walk off to make hot pockets. This is a normal, everyday occurrence, and you and all other people like you pay it little mind. But to the people inside the game, this is a godsend. The grunts put down their needlers, the creepers slink off into darkness, and Peach and Mario head home, eat dinner in utter silence, then go to separate beds.
But sometimes they don’t go straight home. Sometimes they need to ease the gory details of repeat mass-murder out of their psyche somehow. Alcohol helps.
Somewhere in the console, at an establishment named ‘the Health Kit’, two men, one a gruff ex-pinkerton, the other a veteran from a mix of various job titles related to law enforcement. He isn’t what you call gruff though; if they were in boy band, Booker would be the tough one and Leon would be the ‘cute’ one.
“So then they load up the game again,” Booker says, “So I have to go through this whole big story all the way through all over again, when I already know that in the end I’m just gonna get (Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler).”
“You think that’s bad,” Leon says, “at my last count I’m on my ninth play-through. He’s unlocked every weapon, every overpowered game-killer, and you know what he wants to do? Professional, with only a knife and an upgraded pistol, just to see if he can. So now I gotta slog through the whole thing, taking nothing but headshots and cut zombie Achilles tendons all day, while hearing, ‘Leeeeeon!’ every five minutes. I swear you got it easy with yours.”
“Really,” Booker says, “Ever heard of 1999 mode my friend? And as for escort difficulty, I’d bet your sassy little Ashley never hit you upside the head with a wrench. You just shoot, shoot, shoot, I have to deal with quantum physics and alternate realities and way more confusing bs then you do zombie boy.”
Leon takes a long hard chug of IPA and slams the bottle back down on the table. He had probably had too much already, which is why he said next.
“Put your money where your mouth is.”
Booker stops drinking mid-way through and glares at the pretty boy.
“You suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”
“You heard me right,” Leon replies, “you think you got it hard, then put up or show up. Tomorrow morning when he flips the console back on we switch games. Send a notice, call it a mod, or a DLC or something. I go to Columbia, aka racist Disneyland, with the beautiful Elizabeth,”
“Watch how you talk about her pretty boy.”
“Meanwhile you head to the filth strewn streets of Pueblo and handle Ashley on the next play-through. We see who can pull of the other’s game. Hard mode on each, first one to die three times is a punk.”
Booker shakes his head.
“Hey man, you want to handle it, I can deal with your little zombie problems; good luck trying to kill a friggin ghost…one thing though, I get to bring my guns and my vigors, and none of this inventory management crap.”
“Fine, keep the antiques,” Leon says, “I’ll bring my own guns. Because you know, I can carry more then two at the same time.”
“I can walk and shoot at the same time.”
Leon laughs under his breath.
“Yeah good luck trying to run from ‘It’.”
“You’ll find out.”
An old brass door creaks open. A shadow runs by in the dark and the man behind the door draws his mauser. He sees the figure of the girl tucking herself away into a corner.
She throws a lead pipe his way and it goes astray.
“Hey, take it easy.”
He moves closer and she retreats back.
“No, get away!”
“Calm down. Everything’s going to be ok. My Name is Booker, I’m under the President’s order to rescue you…”