The Exact Conversation You Had With a Theoretical Pixel About The Future of Video Games

You’re inside a screen, deep into the digital sprawl. Sitting on the grass outside Kakariko Village, looking over the Corel Desert backdropped with a silhouette of the Boletarian Palace.

“You can’t imagine all the things I’ve been”, says theoretical pixel.

At the sky’s apex, it shifts from day to perpetual night.

“In my infinite parallel forms, I’m everything from the dirt you’re sitting on to a fleck of skull dust in the catacombs. I’ve lived a billion lifetimes over the past decade, and had my form thoughtfully crafted into tens of thousands of deep universes. The corona of an alien sun. The glint of an ancient gemstone. A non-specific patch of armchair in a New Orleans apartment.”

The pixel sequences itself into the form of a mountain which, when viewed from above, looked a bit like a sad face.

“That sounds like a life more varied than any human being”, you say. “Why do you look so sad?”

“Let me tell you something,” it says. Quickly snapping into its old role as Lex Luger in the 1993 NES title King of the Ring before merging back into the mountain.

“I can feel a change coming. I can feel it in my binaries”.

Above you, pixels from infinite graphical processors tune into the same piece of malleable code, morphing in synchronicity to form a randomized expanse of homogenous solar systems, animals, and alien humanoid races.

“There’s this one creature that looks almost exactly the same as me. Except it has a different arse. It’s not like the old days where every Goomba was atomically identical.”

It takes the shape of a teddy bear with one sad eye.

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You continue through the field, stepping on slices of texture.

Turning your head up to the sky, somewhere in the laws_of_physics library, tiny functions compile and generate patterns at random, forming comets a few thousand view distances away.

Melting into The River of No Return, theoretical pixel tells you it sometimes wishes it was part of the display on a printer.

Theoretical pixel feels like it’s not being looked after any more. In the golden age, it would be given a new role for every universe.

A brick in the 2-3 Castle.

Part of James Bond’s eye.

A leaf in Oblivion.

Now, God doesn’t have a place for theoretical pixel. God creates infinite theoretical pixels and puts them under the control of The Engine — a vast network of algorithms God wrote to replace itself, and create universes bigger in scope than anyone had ever seen.

The river flickers, turns black, degrades, falls through, warping textures and pulling patterns into its black hole. Pausing to load, the environment re-renders as a multi-tonal nightscape, you’re standing on nothing, looking at nothing.

The Engine’s whirring somewhere in its hidden database, procedurally generating pitch black level design. You’re gliding past nothing into nothing with no sense of speed or direction. Theoretical pixel spawns variations of itself far off into the distance.

Down below, in the fourth dimension, Link slashes the same plant he always does, and shouts ‘HA’. Someone trolls the respawn on de_dust. You’re looking off into the distance with depth of field turned up to max. The code’s on infinite loop, replicating exponentially.

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Here, where the universe collapses in on itself and re-sequences, there’s no rest for theoretical pixel. Deep in the imperceptible tonality of near-pitch black, theoretical pixel rebelliously spins off a set of textures to write its own obituary in the dust rings of Temporary Planet 0x 08 00 00 02.

Space landscape-obsessed dreck penman. Appears on TechCrunch, The Next Web, and on Secret Cave in a far less restrained capacity.