Monday, 22 August 2016

ATSOS - 116234.9

I'd given up hope of hearing from Doug again. It had been says. But I kept the radio on as quiet as I could in my room. Just as I was falling asleep last night, I heard him. It's been a long night transcribing. I hope I've got it all down right.


Pilot log, 6234.9. One journey is complete. But as per usual, it has only given me more questions. The Atlas was not the answer to everything but merely a small part in a much bigger puzzle. I finally collected the ten Atlas stones, the various Atlas stations had given me along my way across the galaxy. And then an eleventh Atlas station. There in the middle was the familiar red orb. I presented the stones to it, intuitively knowing what to do. And as I gave the stone, I knew what was about to happen. Because it had happened to me. The reason I can't remember my past, is because I don't have one.

As the Atlas took the stones, a star was born in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Planets formed in an instant and on one of those planets, so far away, so alone... A traveler awoke. This is the way I came in existence. Someone who came before me followed the exact same path that I found myself on. Collected Atlas stones and created me. This is how this synthetic galaxy continues it's circular existence.

I feel even more at a loss that ever before. I am not a person but merely a thing. I thought I'd found my purpose in the Atlas but in the end I was simply being manipulated into following a path I was designed to follow. That is why the three sentient races of the galaxy prophecy about the travelers. Not because of some religious portent, but because we've always been here, fulfilling out part in the creators plan.

The Atlas offered me answers, it asked me to bring it's message to the galaxy. Was it lying? Or has it deviated from it's original path only to be forced to revert to it at the very end?

So many question. Just swimming around my hear. I can't concentrate.

The Atlas gave me one final gift. Coordinates. To what I didn't know, but the system was close. I'd followed up til now... I had not other options. I tapped them into my navi-computer and jumped. Oh wondrous galaxy. How does it keep surprising me. At the centre of the system was a black hole. The first one I'd seen in all my travels. The system was busy. A lot of traffic. Capital ships and cargo ships warping in and out. The black hole didn't seem to bother them, in fact it seemed to draw more business to the system. Although I'd never seen one, I knew this one was small for a black hole. How do I know all these things? Who's knowledge is in my head?

I spent some time exploring the system, putting off what I knew I had to do. In the end there was nothing else for it. I flew towards the black hole. All my knowledge told me I should be crushed or stuck for all eternity in some paradoxical time anomaly at the event horizon. But I knew deep down that, that would not be the case. I'm not suicidal.

My ship and I flew for what seemed like forever. Finally we were spat out of the wormhole. I check my navigational equipment. I'd traveled over one thousand light years towards the centre of the galaxy. So that is my new destination? That was my original goal before the Atlas. And now the Atlas wants me to go there. Unless I want to wander aimlessly for the rest of whatever life I have, what else is there to do?

Then a familiar sight. I'd not realized until that moment that I hadn't seen them for some time. Nada and Polo's sphere. I docked. Polo seemed glad to see me and I him to be honest, despite my distrust of the Gek. He shared some information with me as per usual, this time his focus was financial matters. Par for the course for a Gek I suppose. Nada spurned me. I'd followed the path of the Atlas. The path that he'd broken away from. He seems to still want to help me however, despite his disappointment in me. A disappointment I share to be honest. He pointed at a screen in front of him. The coordinates to another black hole.

So that is where I am now. I'm trying to prepare the best I can for the journey ahead. The journey so far has felt long, but it's nothing in comparison to what comes next. Even with black holes moving me forward a thousand light years at a time, there is still nearly two hundred thousand light years to the centre. I've upgraded my warm reactor as best as I can. It'll allow me to jump that little bit further between systems as I search for black holes. It's already taken me to some incredibly exotic planets. More wonders. The galaxy never stops amazing me.

[End Of Message]

Doug sounded sad but seems to have a new sense of purpose. I can't get my head around the idea of an artificial galaxy, created by some unknown people. It all just sounds so bonkers. But he seems to believe every word he says. He's got a long way to go. I hope he keeps broadcasting. I want to be there with him, every step of his amazing journey.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

ATSOS - 116228.8

Doug has been very quiet over the last few days. I've left the radio on in the background as much as I could, rushing to it if I heard any strange noise. But there was nothing. Then last night at the usual time, I finally heard him. His familiar voice, beginning his message in the usual way, but somehow different...


Pilot log, stardate 6228.8. Where to begin? I have left behind the slow and methodical approach of a scientist, scanning and cataloguing meticulously. I've even lost a lot of my wanderlust for what for me an entirely new galaxy. I could have kept all those thing. I could have kept my innocence. But curiosity it seems has prevailed.

I went in search of answers to who I was. What was my purpose? But instead I found new questions. Bigger questions. What is this galaxy? Who created it? Who destroyed it? Why has the truth been buried? 

[Strange Noise]

A strange noise then interrupted the message. It sounded man made and digital, like code. It also sounded really familiar. Then I realized that it sounded like the old dial up modems, sending and receiving data as it connected to the internet. At the time, I thought nothing more about it, as after a short while the noise stopped and Doug's message continued. The digital code popped up a few times throughout the transmission and after, I wondered what it was. I hadn't heard this in Doug's messages before. If it was data, maybe I could open it? As the messages are on loop and repeat a few times, I hooked up an mp3 recorder to the CB radio with a jack converter and recorded a loop of the message.

I scoured the internet for some free software and found an audio-visual converter that some M.I.T. student had uploaded to his site. I played the recording through the software and bingo. There it was. I couldn't believe my eyes. Despite hearing Doug's stories over the past few days, I definitely was still a bit dubious about how real all this was. Now in front of me, on my computer screen were images from other worlds, from another galaxy!

I've added the pictures where appropriate from the transmission.

[Message Continues]

Written in Vy'Keen and Korvax texts, embedded in ancient and abandoned shrines, across every star system I visit is the history of this galaxy. Euclid. It seems this galaxy was created! And I don't mean in a religious way, but I don't exactly understand what I do mean... It was created. And then the three sentient races were seeded in it. First the Gek and then the Vy'Keen and Korvax. Then came the sentinals. It was they that brought about a great cataclysm, destroying most of the civilizations that had been built up over millennia in the outer rim and leaving on the remnants of the the three races that now live out here. 

The Vy'Keen hate the sentinals with all their warrior passion and want to wipe them out. The Korvax see them as an abomination. The Gek... Well the Gek don't mention them. When I first met the Gek, they came across as a peaceful and gentle race who want little more than to earn a wage. A big wage. They are a race of traders and only seem interested in money. But that is not at all what their history says. Their shrines have told me the secrets of their past. That they were the first race. A warlike race that wants nothing more than to conquer the galaxy and wipe out every other race.

Have they changed their ways? Wealth can certainly change opinions pretty fast. Or has their wealth merely enabled their sordid plans? Instead of trying to wage a war against the Vy'Keen who would easily best them in combat, have they used their wealth to buy the domination they so seek? The Gek... Could they be responsible for the sentinals? The more wealth they accrue, the more technology they can buy, the more of a hold they have on the galaxy...

I'm not sure about any of this, but I am sure that these are not the ravings of a lonesome mad man. Because I am not alone. Nada and Polo. I've met them many more times. I don't know if their following me or what, but every now and then, they turn up at a system as I warp in. Polo is a Gek but seems at odds with the way they behave, chastising them for their greed. Nada is also an outcast, having broken free from the Korvax collective mind. His reasons are more radical. I guess it would take an intellect far greater than my own to form such a hypothesis in the first place. But when he told me, I wondered how I could have been so blind. Wandering the galaxy... A galaxy of a hundred billion stars... And only three sentient races. Similar plants and rocks on each planet. I assumed that all plants and rocks looked the same but Nada insists that the diversity of the galaxy should be infinite and wondrous. He's shown me the maths to prove it. Complex algorithms, but algorithms nonetheless. Everything... Everything in this galaxy has been coded into existence.

The revelation has been eating at me for days now. Paranoia has crept in and out of the corner of my eyes I swear I see voxel like patterns in the landscape. In the distance. Rendering in before I arrive so as not to break the illusion. I share Nada's curiosity and need to understand. Nada does not wholly approve of my other companion, but understands that we all want the same thing.

My other companion. The Atlas. it's been with me since the start although I did not know it at the time. The red orb I was carrying in my ship when I crashed back on Elysium. It has watched over me since then. I've now visited many Atlas stations scattered about the outer rim. Each time I visit the Atlas entity appears to me in a different form. The red orb, a black hole, a robotic eye, a white light containing the specifications for the three major races of the galaxy. I can't explain how the Atlas communicates with me. It doesn't speak. There is no physical attachment. It seems to simply suggest ideas, concepts  and emotions in my head... And I understand. I understand that it wants me to expose the truth that has been hidden for so long. I understand the sentinels are a blight and do not belong. 

I don't understand why the Atlas has chosen me or why none of the other races can hear it's call. They must know it exists. It's presence is everywhere. There are entire wings that are locked to all but carriers of Atlas passes. Locked doors in every building on every planet that no one can access but me... It sounds all so self aggrandizing, but I did not choose this... Yes... Yes I did. I chose this path. I chose curiosity. I could have wandered the galaxy forever marveling at the wonders I saw. But I wanted more. I went in search of my forgotten self but have found a new self. I am what the Atlas wants me to be. This must be what region feels like. What belief feels like. But the Atlas isn't a god, it's a real, solid thing. 

In the back of my mind there is a constant nagging that I'm being led astray, or manipulated. But I don't feel that I am. I want answers as much as Nada and Polo, as much as the Atlas. Between us we will uncover the truth and expose it to the rest of the galaxy. This is my purpose, this is who I am.

[End Of Message]

My heart was racing after seeing the images. They make all this all the more real. I don't know how to deal with it. Are they really coming from another galaxy? An artificial galaxy? If so, this must have happened millions of years ago. I just don't understand what's going on. I was happy to play along to someone's silly prank before, but you can't produce images like that of someone's made up story. Where ever Doug is, he's real and I might be the only person who is hearing his story.

Friday, 12 August 2016

ATSOS - 116224.8

The message were less clear tonight. A lot of interference. But I think I managed to get most of it. Doug sounded hazy, almost dream like and yet with a new sense of purpose.


Pilot log, stardate 6224.8. What a day... I awoke unharmed and well rested in my shelter in the Hosnian System. I spent the next few hours routinely exploring and cataloguing nearby star systems. Much of this sector seems to be controlled by the Korvax. A scientifically minded race of artificial life forms. Their inelegance is boundless, far superior to my own.

On many of their planets there seems to be the same little shrines that are present on Vy'Keen worlds. However, instead of containing religious texts, the Korvax store ancient knowledge in them. One particularly interesting encounter taught me that the Korvax believe The Atlas to be a bringer of life. That once the galaxy was dead and that The Atlas brought about the great civilizations that once thrives in the outer rim of the galaxy. Now they are gone. There was also information about life forms known as Travelers. 

In recent Korvax encounters and now armed with a very small Korvax vocabulary, I've ascertained that the Korvax believe me to be a traveler. Whether it's the same Traveler as in the text I discovered, I don't know. My understanding of their complicated language doesn't stretch that far.

I have had one revelation though. Arriving at the Andorian system, I discovered an enormous un-maned, diamond shaped space station. As I approached the surface, doors opened to me and I flew in. Inside was huge and like nothing I'd seen before. The cavernous space was almost religious in it's grandeur and there in the middle, like a shrine was an enormous red entity. In constant flux and yet beating, almost like a heart. The same matter as I was carrying on my ship when I crashed back on Elysium Prime. I touched the interface below the red orb and it spoke to me. The Atlas. It knows me. It's knows who I am and what I'm meant to be doing. The sense of relief and elation was indescribable. I have a purpose in this vastness of a galaxy. I'm not alone. But I still need more answers.

For now, it's back to the search. I'm currently in orbit around Andoria I and Gladys and I have our work cut out for us. Five planets and one moon. Heading for...

[End Of Message]

That's all I could make out from his first message. The static took over and it was at least an hour before I heard from him again. I'm worried about him. Every time he talks about The Atlas, it's like he loses himself. The further he gets from the idea of The Atlas, the more "human" he seems. I don't know if that's just me humanizing the situation or what. I wish I could somehow let him know that there's someone listening to his story. But for all I know this has been traveling through space for thousands of years and he could be dead by now.


Pilot log, stardate 6224.9. I have some more answers. Finally. Whilst searching the Adipose system, I received a signal from an odd spherical ship. It seemed old. Very old. As I approached, doors opened to beckon me in. The ship was crewed by only two people. One a life form called a Gek and the other a Korvax. Their names, Nada and Polo. My mysterious benefactors. To my surprise, they both spoke in my language. How Polo managed to make the sounds I make with what is essentially a beak, I will never know, but the busy little fella shared his scientific data with me and told me to head back out and explore. 

Nada was something of an enigma. A Korvax. A race of scientists in pursuit of pure knowledge. He wore a cape and head regalia in fashion of a religious leader. He also offered me information in the way of a direction. It was my choice. To continue my original journey to the centre of the galaxy, to pursue The Atlas or to forge my own path through the endless galaxy. 

It seems, despite their help getting me back on my feet, their only wish for me is explore. But why me? What is their interest in me. Trying to get any other answers was impossible. They were extremely busy in their own mysterious pursuits.

My choice? The freedom to explore a galaxy might seem wondrous to some. But to wander, aimlessly amongst a hundred billion stars scared the crap out of me. It would certainly be interesting to return to my original course and find what I was heading for at the centre. But the burning desire for self exploration is my current goal and that is what I opted for. 

Nada has given me the coordinates for the next closest Atlas Station. Four jumps away, if I can gather the necessary fuel.

[Gladys chirps in] Toxic protection critical.

Ah crap. Thank you Gladys. I'm getting so distracted, I'm getting careless. I wonder how many more times I can die before it's permanent...

[End Of Message]

The transmission trailed off and that was the last I head from him last night. I hope he's okay. I hope he's made the right choice. I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

ATSOS - 116223.8

I've been trying the last few nights to pick up that signal I heard the other night on my brother's old CB radio. I was about to give up, when I heard not one, but a string of messages that continued over a five hour period last night. I was so excited to hear it again. Here's what I heard.


Pilot log, stardate 116223 point... something... I think. I have no idea where I am or how I got here... Or who I am... I just woke up at a crash site. There's a broken ship near by and debris all around. There's a strange mass inside one of the pods on the ground. I'm going to investigate.


What... the Hell... was that?! This... thing just floated up out of the pod and I was like in a trance or something. It felt... familiar. Comforting. Atlas. But it left me with overwhelming desire to leave this planet and continue my journey to... where?

Well I better get to work fixing my ship if I'm ever going to leave this place. Might take a while seeing as I'm all alon- argh!

[Robotic Voice] Toxic protection falling.

What the Hell was that?! My suit is... talking. Ok so maybe I'm not that alone. She's nice. Sounds familiar. Sound like Gl... Glad... Glado... GLADO... THAT'S IT! I shall called her Gladys. Hi Gladys. Thanks for the warning. Wow Gladys has a lot of information on this planet. Including the fact that it's currently raining a highly alkaline substance which is damaging my suit and equipment. I better get to work.

[End Of Message]

A few minutes later, I heard this.


Pilot log, stardate 116223.8. Gladys has confirmed the date and time. As I was scouring the area around my crash site, I discovered some other abilities my suit has. I have a jetpack. How cool is that?! I also have a mining device that has various scanners attached. It can locate nearby points of interest and can analyse flora, fauna and minerals. Doing so seemed to award me units from some unknown source. Was I an explorer? A botanist? Whatever I was, I seem to retain at least a passing interest in biology, botany and geology so I have decided to continue to catalogue and name everything I see. It could come in useful. I've also decided to call this planet Elysium after some vaguely remembered fairy tale in the back of my mind.

[End Of Message]

Another few minutes go by...


Pilot log, supplemental. The ship damage is fairly minor. The casing on the launch thruster was slightly damaged from the crash but thankfully I seem to remember how to mould carite. So after about thirty minutes I was able to lift off from the planet's surface. It turns out, I'm not such a good pilot. It must have been me piloting the ship though right? I mean, there was no one else with me when I woke.

I decided not to venture too far as I wasn't sure how my patchwork on the thrusters would hold up. It wasn't long before something caught my eye and I landed to investigate. I've no idea what it was doing out here in the open on some strange planet, on its own, but there seemed to be a computer terminal floating next to a few cargo boxes and a waypoint marker. As I drew near, it began to glow and the screen burst to life showing a series of statistic. My statistics. My name. Dangerous Doug.

I remember. My name is Doug Caine. They called me "Dangerous" Doug. I can't remember why... maybe my flying skills? Remembering my name did not however kick start any other memories. Why does this computer know me? It seems to be a trade network of some kind. Is that who I work for? Rather than exploring, was I searching out rare materials to trade? Does this have anything to do with the Atlas? No... the Atlas is something... Bigger. I know that much.

I continued my search and nearly lost my ship a couple of times with some truly awful landings, despite the ship having land assist features... I ended up in a place Gladys called The Wumani. It seemed to be a trading post. Ships were coming and going regularly from the single landing pad outside. I landed a short walk away and made my way over.

I am not alone out here. I met several people from an alien race called the Vy'keen... at least that's what I thought at first. It turns out I don't speak Vy'Keen. But I worked out eventually that they were all from slightly different races. I think. Who can tell. Aliens, amirite? I guess they must be part of some kind of collective. They all spoke the same language, I could tell that much. I tried traded with a couple of pilots, but the language barrier got in the way, so I headed inside. There a rather large Vy'Keen scared the crap out of me by shouting at me and grabbing my gun. I recognized one word he said. "Interloper". He said it a lot. Was he talking about me? Why call me that? How do I know that word? Anyway, he eventually let me go after I gave him some spare materials from my pack. Bully.

 I'm heading back out now to see what else I can find on this planet. Hopefully some more clues as to who the Hell I am... That would be nice. I'll check in again later.

[End Of Message]

Half an hour goes by before I hear his voice again.


Pilot log, supplemental. Night is falling. I've finally scrounged enough material to fix the pulse drive on my ship. This should allow me to reach the other planets of this system. I've seen them dangling there in the evening sky and now I should be able to reach them. Do they hold any more answers than this planet? Well there's one way to find out. Here we go...

[Loud noises like a jet engine]

Ooh! I made it. Can't believe I'm not dead... I'm in space. SPACE! Yeah! I count... three planets and... two moons orbiting the largest planet. This is a pretty busy system. There's ships warping in and out all the time. So much traffic. I'm setting coordinates for the largest planet. Elysium I. Engaging... Now!

[End Of Message]

It's another long while before I hear from him again.


Pilot log, supplemental. I've spent a good while exploring this sector and cataloguing an amazing array of life as I go. I ended up at the system's space station, a trading hub I think. There a Vy'Keen shouted at me in what seems to be their customary way and ended up giving me a new mining weapon which was a vast improvement on my own. I guess he thought mine wasn't up to scratch?

I soon picked up a signal coming from Elysium II. It led me to an outpost where a Vy'Keen greeted me as if he... she? was expecting me. It gave a slate to look at and I was amazed that I could read it. It was in my language! Not only that, but it contained a blueprint for a hyperdrive. Did my ship originally have a hyperdrive? Was it damaged beyond all recognition in the crash? Maybe it was stollen whilst I was out cold. Or am I from this sector of space? Whatever the answer, someone knows I'm here and want's me to leave.

I wasn't yet comfortable with though of someone else dictating my actions so I explored some more of the system. The other planet and the two moons. But this only threw up more questions. On my travels I found amazing monument scattered about the system. As I drew near they would activate and somehow imbue me with information of what seemed to be a Vy'Keen religion. One particularly large monolith made me hallucinate with it's powerful energy. So much so that I felt pain even when I snapped out of it.

Eventually I came to yet another outpost and was presented with another message in my own tongue. This time signed from Nada and Polo. Their names mean nothing to, but the information in the message included the recipe with which to fuel the hyperdrive. What with the cryptic way this information was given to me. Why so convoluted? 

Regardless, I feel that I have learned as much as I can from the Elysium system and have set my sights on my closest neighbour to test out my newly fashioned hyperdrive. Course set. Engage.

[End Of Message]

Surprisingly, only a few minutes later and he was back.


Pilot log, stardate 116223.9. I arrived at the next star system which I called Muir and headed straight for the space station. There I met a new race of mechanical people called the Korvax. Without knowing any of their strange language, I had no luck in communicating with them. As I left the station, I picked up a signal coming from Muir I.

I arrived at the source of the signal to see some kind of industrial building, guarded by floating robots. The signal was coming from inside, but the door was locked. The burning desire for answers took over and I blasted the door open angering the Sentinals. After a brief exchange of laser fire, they gave up the chase and left me alone. Inside the building I found schematics enabling the creation of anti-matter. This will speed up my ability to jump from system to system.

Now here's where things get really strange. As I left the atmosphere of Muir II I was chased down by pirates who were after my cargo. I had a few rare metals back there and it would certainly make a good pay day for them if they could get their hands on it. Did I mention that I'm not a good pilot? I'm really not. There was nothing I could do. I sought to outrun them in the planet's atmosphere and head back down...

Black. Nothingness. And then... I awake again on the Muir station, inside my ship. My ship... My ship was destroyed. I know it was. I felt the heat and the pain. I died. I'm sure of it. And yet there I was, whole again. Alive.

I could not let go of the feeling that I was not imagining any of this. I headed straight back to my last know coordinates and there... floating in space, in orbit around Muir II was the cargo I was carrying when the pirates shot me down. I was so scared. But what was there to do? I'm alone out here. Despite other races going about their business like there's nothing wrong. I'm alone. There's no one like me, who has gone through what I've gone through. No one can help me. I've only myself to rely on.

I'm now looking through my star charts to see where I should go next. What's that? There's a course layed in already. It's heading towards the galactic centre. Is that where I was heading? Is that where my answers lie? It'll take me years to get there in my current ship. I need to find another way, another ship. The next system is only a few lightyears away. It's time to burn up anti-matter for another jump. Wish me luck.

[End of Message]

That one was a bit chilling. "Wish me luck" as if he was speaking directly to me. Does he even know that someone is listening to his transmissions? I do wish him luck. Again his "jump" only took a short while.


I'm in large system. many planets. Vy'Keen here. I'm on my way to a signal I picked up. Coming in to Osiris I now. The signal is coming from that monument. It's different to the one's I've seen in Elysium and Muir. More familiar... Landing... Now. That was a smoother touch down. I think I'm getting the hang of this now.

It's like the stone is calling to me. That sounds stupid. I never knew what people meant when they said that. But I guess this is it. It's like a warm blanket. I think it's- argh!

[A minute goes by]

Fell into a trance again, like the red blob on Elysium Prime. The Atlas. Telling me to... follow.

[End Of Message]

By this point it was getting late and I was about to pack it in when I heard one last transmission.


Pilot log, stardate 16224.0. I think I accidentally betrothed myself to a Vy'Keen. I'm not quite sure how it happened. I really need to learn more of their language. Suffice to say, i can never come back here. Osiris is a no go system for me. 

After briefly investigating a distress signal and finding nothing I decided to move on quickly. Was someone having me on or was I just too late? I think I'm starting to get a bit paranoid.

I used the last of my anti-matter to warp to the Hosnian System. I've found an abandoned factory on a small planet and am settling down for some rest. Hopefully Gladys will alert me if anything comes near. She's been good to me. The closest thing I have to company... well apart from that Hog Dog pup that followed me for a few miles a while back. I liked that Hog Dog. Wish I could have kept him. Not practical I guess. Well good night out there. Let's hope tomorrow brings some answers.

[End Of Message]

And that was it. I'll be tuning in again tonight after work. I can't believe what I'm hearing. It must be a recording or just someone having a laugh, surely? Right?


Monday, 8 August 2016

Game Time: 1997, Tamagotchi

In the News

It’s 1997. Rapper Notorious B.I.G is gunned down in a revenge killing for his alleged participation in the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur. Princess Diana, her bit on the side Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul were killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris. Great Britain handed over its rule of Hong Kong. Mother Teresa, the nun who tended the poor and sick of Calcutta for 40 years, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died on September 5. In the UK, Tony Blair is elected Prime Minister after 18 years of Tory rule. It was time, Tony Blair said, for ‘Rule Britannia’ to give way to ‘Cool Britannia’. The birth of Dolly the sheep leads to President Clinton banning all federally funded research into human cloning. A scene from the Pok√©mon anime show (based upon the highly successful games) causes 685 Japanese children to have seizures. WWF’s PPV “Bad Blood” showcases the first ever Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. 

The Game Times

The seminal releases are: Fallout on PC; Final Fantasy VII and Grand Theft Auto on PS1; Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Goldeneye 007 on the newly released Nintendo 64; and a handheld digital pet called the Tamagotchi.

The Tamagotchi is a ray of light in a dark year wherein the death of the Notorious B.I.G left a 12 year old Owen – still vulnerable from Tupac’s death the year before - in the slough of despond. Another mentor gone. My hanky-turned-bandana wilted. My “THUG LIFE” torso pen tattoo rubbed off.

But then my hot Croatian girlfriend, Richella, told me to go to Argos and buy a Tamagotchi. I had the required £12 saved from taking loose change out of coat pockets in the church lost property. Tamagotchis are a small alien species that deposited an egg on Earth to see what life was like, and it is up to the player to raise the egg into an adult creature. The creature goes through several stages of growth, and will develop differently depending on the care the player provides, with better care resulting in an adult creature that is smarter, happier, and requires less attention. For me it was an instant hit because the creature was black and reminded me of the Notorious B.I.G. I loved it dearly, often setting my alarm in the night to keep up regular feeds.

Why I Stopped Playing

By early 1998 a monstrous trend had gained popularity wherein lowlifes were pressing the “reset” button on unsuspecting Tamagotchis. I made extensive efforts to bolster the defence of mine by asking the builders next door to dab a bit of cement into the reset hole to make pencil penetration almost impossible. However, this one time in church, Owen Davies asked to look at my character because it was 14 days old and had grown into the smart looking one, not the ugly one with blubber lips. What I didn’t know was that he had brought a compass with him with the intent of scooping out the cement. I’ll never forget how the preacher’s last sermon point on forgiveness was lost on me the moment I heard the reset “beep”. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t fight anyone over it, I’d lose- too skinny, weak thighs. I just settled in my chair, fell back into pitiless indifference towards everything and everyone, including the effort of rearing another character, and embraced another year of shadows and night.

Three Questions for the Comments Below

What were you doing in 1997? What were you playing in 1997? Why did you stop?

- Owen J. Batstone.

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Across The Sea Of Space

So I was up the attic over the weekend and I found my brother's old CB radio with it's huge antenna. So I plugged it in and after a bit of fiddling, I finally managed to get it to work. Heard all kinds of weird things, but one really caught my attention. One voice speaking seemingly to himself. I found myself mesmerized by the dream like way in which he was talking. I suddenly snapped out of it and realized that I should be writing this down! After I scrambled for pen and paper, I realized that the message was on repeat so I had plenty of time to get it all down, which is a good thing as most of it was mumbled and hard to hear and there was a lot of static, so it took me a long time to get it all. This is what I transcribed.


Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns... Stars of every kind. Big ones, small ones, yellow ones, blue ones. I like the blue ones. Blue...

I've seen things. Crazy things. Crazy... Space stuff. Crazy space stuff. Space ships. Space rocks. Space docks. Space whales. Space dicks... [giggling] Dicks.

Where am I? I think this is a dream. Am I dreaming? I think I'm dreaming. It's all floaty like. Floaty...

I don't know... Anything. I know nothing. Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I?

I think I've been here a while... Where is here? I don't know... 

Soon. I'm going to wake up soon. Very soon...

I think I'm hungry...

[End of Message]

Felt kind of spooky listening to that over and over. I wonder if he will wake up. I wonder if he'll make any more recordings. I'll be listening out for them and I'll keep you posted.

- BloggyDave