I couldn’t believe the excitement over Daniel’s game. Everyone was talking about it. Every station in the gaming hall was tuned to it. Daniel had rented the hall for the first two hours to introduce it, after that none of the other presenters could get anyone’s attention. Daniel had the crowd in the palm of his hand. People were lined up behind stations waiting for a chance to play and in the meantime cheering on the current player.
The game had a navigational theme. First you had to acquire the program with the multiple NEMS which allowed you to activate the Valarian navigational beacons. You could acquire the program three ways, theft, trade or barter, or purchase. Of course, everyone tried theft and trade or barter prior to purchase because that was so much fun. It got you into all kinds of situations with the Galactic Officials and alien cultures that were trying to rip you off at the same time you were trying to get the program. But ultimately, you had to buy it to get to the next level.
The second level was a series of mishaps you had to avoid. Don’t expose the program to radiation. Don’t let it get too close to an intense light source, etc. etc. Once you made it successfully beyond those black holes, you progressed to the next level.
Level three was the difficult level and the one everyone had been waiting for. You had to program one of your NEMS to infiltrate the Valarian navigational beacon and hack it to activate the beacon for the purpose of proceeding to the rest of the levels. Programs were tonal, like the beacons currently operate. Your NEMS actually spoke with the Hummer within the beacon. If you programmed your NEMS incorrectly, the beacon did not activate or it may send you off to the fate of a Free Rider gone bad – stuck lost in uncharted space. At which point your NEMS self destructed and you were bumped back to programming your next NEMS for another try. Some players exhausted all their NEMS in the program and had to go back to level one to acquire more.
If you made it to the levels above three, past the Free Rider accident, you experienced alternate worlds at their programmable best. It is hard to impress most of us spacers. We have seen a lot in our travels, but Daniel’s visions of places unexplored made you want to program your NEMS until you exhausted them all and then go acquire more on level one just to experience the wonder of all the levels. Of course, on each level there was a battle to fight or a treasure to procure or a civilization to help rebuild, but they were all so unique. Breathtaking. Exhilarating. Eye popping and mind bending.
He had us all hooked when he called our attention to the podium and announced it was not just a game.