‘The Simulation’ by Ricardo Victoria is one of nineteen Game Lit stories by as many authors in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover. All profits from the Rise and Rescue anthologies will go to support wildlife devastated by the Australian wildfires.
“How the hell did this happen?”
“I don’t know,” Jay replied with a shrug. He was short and chubby and felt like he hadn’t slept in weeks.
“What do you mean you don’t know? This thing didn’t create itself. It is… too complex,” the tall, thin guy said with exasperation. Lou was his name, and he was pointing to a hologram projection. It was a planet, brimming with life, cities, people, animals of different kinds, some vaguely familiar, some brand new to the pair.
“That’s the thing, I don’t remember doing it. Not like that.”
“You were missing for weeks. It’s clear you were busy coding this. What do you mean you don’t remember doing it? Were you consuming again?” The tall guy gave him a disapproving look. He knew addictions were a sore spot in their friendship.
“Is that an affirmation or a question?”
“Both? Look, man. I just know I started coding this so we could have our roleplaying sessions with a holographic projection and save us the hassle of consulting the rulebooks. I just wanted more fluidity in our gaming sessions.”
“And to stifle power gaming,” the tall guy added, smirking slightly.
“Well, yeah. Things have become… unruly to say the least. Starting with you,” Jay replied seriously. While he liked to tinker with the gaming system, he was getting tired of the players’ power gaming – so much so that their story had become an unwieldy mess recently. Especially thanks to Lou’s mean streak.
“And I already apologized for that. Still, I can’t believe you don’t recall coding a perfect simulacrum of our roleplaying setting, down to physics and magic rules, history and the whole set of rulebooks. Heck, you even included a time progression of the family trees of each of our player characters. It has their genetic codes, and are those quantum interactions? Again, how the hell did this happen?” Amazement brimmed in Lou’s voice.
“Look, I’m asking the same question. I just remember I started coding, using as a base an old AI template code I found lying around from our school projects. But it looked different,” Jay offered, although he knew that, even for him, the absent-minded genius was a lame excuse.
“Different how?” Lou asked, intrigued.
“Slightly more complex, like nested matrices recombining themselves all the time as if it were a kaleidoscope. I started pouring the data into the matrices and they replied with more complex data and it started to grow up from there. I just kept working non-stop and the thing kept growing. It was odd.”
“In which sense?”
“I didn’t get hungry, barely thirsty. I was in the zone, man! Then one day I finally fell asleep and, when I woke up, this whole new universe was there, taking up all the memory, processing power, and system energy.”
“Did you try to turn it off?”
“It wasn’t necessary. Before you arrived, the whole block had a blackout.”
“The hologram simulation kept running. I think it is self-sustaining now. If that makes sense.”
“Not really. It shouldn’t be possible. And yet here it is, a whole world, nested in who knows which parallel dimension. All of it based on our roleplaying campaign,” Lou stroked his chin, caressing his badly-trimmed beard.
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A Bite of – Ricardo Victoria
(1) If you had to live in a video game, which one would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. But I probably would say that, providing I can get the appropriate combat training, Final Fantasy. Most likely 6,7,8 or 10. That’s because the things I usually dream feel like that videogame series. I like the aesthetics, the merge of magic and technology, the weird clothes, the freedom to explore and have adventure.
(2) Where do you find is the most inspiring place to write and what time of day?
Time? Probably afternoon or night, when’s less hectic. As for place, if I could write in the shower I would. That’s where I get my better ideas.
(3) What is your favourite pick-me-up drink of the day, coffee, tea or something else and how do you like it served?
Since I stopped drinking hot chocolate (for dietary reasons), I’m enjoying cappuccinos with almond or Irish cream syrup. I like it warm and in a tumbler so I don’t spill it.
Born in the frozen landscape of Toluca, Mexico, Ricardo Victoria dreamed of being a writer. But needing a job that could pay the rent while writing, he studied Industrial Design and later obtained a PhD in Sustainable Design, while living in the United Kingdom and working in a comic book store to pay for his board game & toy addiction. He is back now in Toluca, living with his wife and his two dogs where he works as an academic at the local university.
He is the author of Tempest Blades: The Withered King and has short stories featured in anthologies by Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press. He was nominated for a Sidewise Award 2016 for the short story Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon, co-written with his arch-nemesis, Brent A. Harris. He also won a local contest for a fantasy short story during college. But hey! That one doesn’t count, does it?