This was really cool! It made me angry all over again at the likes of Kelly Loeffler, who is an American politician who knew about the pandemic early and took the time to arrange her stocks. It’s like she knew the upcoming area had poison, and used the time to buy all the antidotes. Argh!
Anyways, there’s a subtle difference between the ‘game world’ of your piece and the real world, which is that in the game you’ve already been poisoned, and in the real world there’s a threat of disease. Pushing the game world version more could potentially distract from the real world, but I wonder if there’s a way to arrange the piece that raises tension? I think it’s a big ask with a limited word count, but I know when I’m poisoned in a game, seeing my health slowly tick down makes me more and more panicked. I wonder if there’s a way to do that in here?
Either way, I think you have a cogent and relatable piece here. You’ve managed to tell me how I’ve felt this past year without realizing it. You should be very proud!
Yeah, Loeffler is exploiting a mechanic that needs to be patched out STAT.
That’s a good point! I’d like to figure out how to extend the “youre poisoned” conceit while ratcheting it up, all while somehow keeping in the examples. I might have to just expand this into a longer thing elsewhere.
Wonderful piece! The framing device has real flair to it - I felt immediately engaged and emotionally involved, which only served to heighten the reading experience. Also - and this is particularly impressive to me given it’s something I struggle with a bit - you maintain a really sensitive, granular view of how gameplay mechanics shape the player’s thoughts and actions.
I do wonder if it might be worth altering the structure, though? It feels as if all the video game examples of poisoning and how it impacts you are divided from the all the real-world examples. I think moving from the video game to the real-world is the right choice, but the comparisons might benefit from being emphasised more. I can see some strong points of connection between the two ‘sections’, but interweaving them would likely make them more apparent.
On the other hand, I do enjoy how the current structure effectively turns the essay into a conceptual pathfinding exercise of the kind you describe in Pokemon!
Thank you for the kind words! You definitely got what I was going for. And I agree with your note, in my next draft I need to blend the two “worlds” more, and draw the comparisons and parallels more directly. Strengthen the analogy, as it were. Thinking of reading as a kind of pathfinding exercise is really cool, btw, there’s something there to write about I’m sure.