I had done it. At long last, weeks of trial and error applying ridiculous solution after ridiculous solution through which it seems every ultimate eventuality had been considered and even anticipated I had almost accidentally finished the adventure game I didn't even realize I'd been playing; strangely enough, given my difficulty with it, the game had apparently been of my own creation. Yet I knew nothing of its intricacies and details save what I was now appreciating in retrospect as the craftwork I had enjoyed which had smoothly, seamlessly subverted my ordinary experiences; ignoring the then unrealized fact that it was a dream and thus clearly the former, in-dream perhaps the game was a product of the subconscious rather than the conscious mind? Is this what virtual reality will be like to the players with slippery grasps on reality? Perhaps someday I would go on with these experiences to author the game which I had just played and send it back through time.

    I was the first person ever to finish it. In the act of realizing the final act of the game, casually pursuing an ambulatory object of my desire I am led onto a stage where an awards ceremony is already in progress, assembled in anticipation of my pressing conclusion of The Game. I sit back, pleased, as an announcer presides over a presentation of video-captured (or computer-simulated?) highlights of the past few weeks, subtle advancements in the game all unsuspected at the time.

      "You may remember this," says the announcer, "as the piece de resistance of this game's predecessor."

    An almost-interpretable graffiti doodle of a three-quarter view three-dimensional pointy cross a by the game company's mascot, Bobo the monkey - the only graphic in the entire previous game, which had carried itself out primarily in a textual medium. I recognize it, for plot purposes, as an almost-forgotten artifact of previous years' intentional gaming.

      "Of course in the years since the technology in the industry has advanced unimaginably and the skills and talents of its finest craftsmen have increased apace. Although this work didn't end up in the final release of the game, we show it now as bonus behind-the-scenes material from a fixture in the gaming industry."

      (same cross, rotated 45 degrees.)

      "Take the opportunity to admire and appreciate..."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 90 degrees.)

      "the fine improvements modern software engineering..."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 135 degrees.)

      "has permitted Bobo in his new interpretations of truly a classic theme."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 180 degrees.)

    I won. I won. I wonder if now that I've unexpectedly surpassed this unknown hurdle I can finally get on with my life?
I'm afraid to accidentally finish this game. You know how it is, like realizing that you just flipped the last page of a book you were really enjoying? But you've got to play - you can't stop even if you want to. Denying assertions of eXistenZ, this game has no pause, though if you count the difference between dream and wake it dilates such that the hours of dream-life experienced in minutes of slumber can seem uncountably greater.

We'll have plenty of time to sleep when we're dead, but how much time will we have to dream?

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