The Fae Worlds

New Game

Teri’s eyes met with mine. “You’re the only person I can think of who’d be willing to try this out with me. Please don’t let me down.”
Running my tongue over my lips I looked at the box on the bed. “How does it work?”
“From what I read we set the game up to run for a certain time in this world, they suggest starting with around four hours to begin with, and we spend it in the game world. I don’t know for certain how time here relates to time there, although most of what I saw linked each hour to a month.”
Blinking, I studied her. “You want me to travel to another world for four months.”
“Four hours.”
“Even if it is four hours here four months there…” I nibbled my bottom lip. “It’s a long time, Teri. Long enough to build relationships, and to have to walk away from them….”
“When we leave the world is paused. Things don’t change when we aren’t there, Mare, so it’s not really walked away from them. It’s taking a break.” Teri smiled. “How about we go for two hours, see how things go, and if you feel like it’s something you shouldn’t be doing then I won’t ask you to go back.”
“You say that, but you’ve made that kind of promise before.”
She nodded. “I have, and this is a very different kind of situation, because of what we’re doing. Going into another world alone… I don’t know if I’m ready to do that, and it does say this can be co-op, so I thought it would be good for both of us. You said before you wanted to try out something different.”
“One of the fae’s magical games isn’t exactly what I meant.” I raked a hand through my hair. “I know they’ve been tested, but I can’t help worrying about getting trapped there.”
“Honestly, that’s kinda the reason I don’t want to do this alone. I believe in them when they say it shouldn’t happen, but… well, we’ve all heard the stories about what happens to people who find themselves unexpectedly travelling to another world. Being alone would make it much harder.”
Raising an eyebrow, I shook my head. “Doesn’t make me more inclined to join you.”
“All the testing they did should be enough. People have come and gone from this world multiple times. I’ve got no reason to think anything untoward will happen to either of us, and the game does look really interesting. We’ve got options to pick from, to create the world we end up on, which means the game will be different for everyone who plays it.”
“Know much about the NPCs?”
“They, I think, are procedurally generated too, so they’re all going to be different.” Teri smiled. “Come on, Mare. You did say they sounded interesting.”
“Yes, for other people. I know there are some groups planning to do let’s plays of the games, and I was planning on living vicariously through them, rather than jumping into one of them.” Sighing, I picked the box up, to look at which game it was she’d bought. “You went with Segiri.”
“Segiri looked more interesting than the others, with the survival option, although I’m not sure about going with that for the first play through. We could go for something simple first, before changing to another world. I think we can have multiple worlds on it.”
I nodded. Segiri, when I’d looked into the games, looked like the most interesting one to me, but it was the kind of game I’d normally play. Teri, on the other hand, barely ever touched games, unless I convinced her to play something with me. The fact she’d actually gone out of her way to buy one of the games was interesting.
“Why did you make the decision you want to get one of the fae games?”
For a moment I wasn’t sure she was going to answer, and then she shrugged. “I know why you’re asking. It’s not something I imagined doing either, but this seems so different to playing a game. This is experiencing a whole other world, with the game aspects, and I… everything about it seems more interesting than sitting in front of a screen.”
Commercially the fae games were of interest to people like Teri, who might have been interested in actually gaming if it wasn’t for the fact it meant sitting in front of a screen, as well as gamers, who wanted to live in the kinds of worlds they’d always connected with from a distance. Only it meant trusting magic, which wasn’t something I was sure I really wanted to do. Not with what I knew about it.
At the same time travelling to Segiri, as dangerous as it might be, was even more tempting with the game in my hands. Had I been buying one of the games myself it would have been that one. Sighing, I looked at Teri again, and she smiled at me, because she knew me well enough to know exactly what the sigh meant. Her eyes met with mine for a second, and she reached out to take the game from me.
“Pick a world, Mare. Then we can start exploring it.”
Going alone I’d have definitely gone for a survival world, but as Teri was going I’d need to pick something a little easier. What I knew about playing games was unlikely to be easily transferable, considering what I’d seen, and yet it was enough for me to want to try doing the kind of thing I would if I was playing normally. Hard mode survival, throwing myself in at the deep end. It was just a game. Hopefully, as long as the magic worked the way it was supposed to, because no deaths were meant to affect anyone long term, like they wouldn’t in a normal game.
With Teri survival wouldn’t work. I knew what she preferred, and as it was her game I wanted her to enjoy what we were doing. Nibbling my bottom lip, hoping it didn’t end up being agame neither of us enjoyed, I went through the genre options. She probably wouldn’t want it to be apoc, or post-apoc, because they would probably be harder for her than the others. Post-apoc did depend on when after the world changed, as there were some games where she’d enjoy it and others where she wouldn’t. It didn’t seem like the game gave any choice as to when, so it would be easier to pick another option.
“How about something fantasy?” I ran my tongue over my bottom lip. “If it was just me I’d probably go for a mix, but it might be easier for you to go for something simpler.”
Teri raised an eyebrow at me. “Don’t go easy on me, because you’re worried I won’t be able to handle it.”
“It’s not that. I want us to both enjoy this, and to enjoy it we need to go for a world that works for both of us, because what I’d enjoy isn’t what you’d enjoy.”
Nodding, she looked at the box, raking a hand through her hair as she did. “I was thinking about that before, as I know what kind of games you like, and they really aren’t the kind of thing I’d play normally, but with this… I’m almost tempted by the idea of going for something unusual. Something I might not enjoy if it were an actual game.”
“We can go with whatever you want. It’s your game, Teri, so we go with what you enjoy. Getting my own copy of the game is something I can do if I think I want to do something else alone.” I smiled. “Maybe you can join me in that, if you enjoy what we do now.”
“Okay.” She ran her tongue over her bottom lip, looking at the case once more, where the options were written. “I’ve been tempted by a sci-fi fantasy farming and building game, but with you here… it sounds easy for you, compared to what you normally play.”
“Like you said before this isn’t a game. It’s an experience. What I know about gaming is probably not going to be as useful as it may seem.”
“Maybe not, but I know you well enough to see the choices you’d pick, and you’d definitely go for something more complicated than I would. Probably something post-apoc, maybe with another genre, setting it to hard, because you like to make things complicated for yourself.” Her eyes met with mine, and I smiled. “Also something survival, as you love survival games.”
“Yeah, I probably would, but, like I said, this is your game. We go with what makes the most sense for you, rather than throw us into the kind of game I’d play.”
For a moment she was silent. “How about we go for a mix of the two? Survival can have similar elements.”
“It can, but that all links in to being able to live in the world, and I think I’d like something a little simpler, if we’re going to be working together.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You’d like something simpler?”
“Cooperative games are always different to solo. Solo survival would probably be easier than coop to begin with, especially as I have no idea what I’m doing, and then once I know things a little better I could teach someone else.”
Nodding, again, Teri looked back at the list. “Yeah, I can go with that. So you’d be happy to go with the world I’d pick?”
“As a starting place I think it would be best for both of us.”
“Then we’re decided.” She stepped forward to put the game in. The fae created the games for every possible system, so anyone could play them. “I don’t know exactly how this part works, but we’ll see.”
With a whir the system started up, and the next thing I knew I could feel the magic wrapping around me, like it could tell there were two of us there to play the game. Teri reached out to take my hand. I could feel her shaking slightly, as we were drawn in, and the next thing I knew we were standing in front of another screen.
“Please choose your Segiri.” The voice was more natural than I expected. “Input the options for the world you’d like to explore, and then press the create button.”
Teri reached out with her free hand to press the choices we’d agreed on – a sci-fi fantasy farming and building world, normal difficulty, cooperative rather than competitive. Large competitive games, from what I’d heard, was something people were working on, although it wasn’t something I’d ever been all that interested in. If I was playing a game with other people I’d always prefer going for coop. Then again I’d never had much luck with competitive games.
When she pressed the create button everything in front of us changed. It wasn’t the fastest of processes, but eventually the new world was all around us, and a man stood in front of us, looking between the two of us.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Austin, and this is your version of Segiri. I’m here to teach you about the game, what you’re going to be doing, and how this will work.” He smiled. “This is a new way of experiencing a different world, so I’ll be with you for a few days, until you’re settled in, before I move on to help guide someone else.”
Studying him, I raked a hand through my hair, trying to work out which question I wanted to ask first. I knew there’d be a guide, but the fact he knew why we were there was interesting. Maybe it was something I should have expected.
“You know this is a game?” Teri sounded confused. “I thought you were created with it.”
“All the guides were. Due to the job we do we needed to know more than the others, especially as there’s a limited number of us. I’ve been there to guide numerous visitors to Segiri, and it’s entirely possible we may meet again, depending on the kinds of worlds you enjoy exploring.”
Nodding, I ran my tongue over my bottom lip. “Every Segiri is different.”
“Of course, but there are only so many elements of these kinds of games which can be changed in a way we’re unable to help guide you during the early days. It makes this a little easier on us.” Austin shrugged. “I’m not going to say this is something I’d have chosen to do, if there was a choice.”