Life, Death, and Mario Kart...

“That’s not fair!” And with that, at the finish line I was passed by Mario, Daisy, Yoshi, and the entirety of the Mushroom Kingdom. In frustration, I tossed the controller aside. I had run the perfect race, drifted every corner, hit every question block, collected every coin and abused every item, but in that final straightaway, the dreaded blue turtle shell came. With the finish line in sight and first place victory secured, I spun out and was passed again, and again, and again. Another turtle shell, red this time, and a Bullet Bill power-up ensured that I went from first to absolute dead last. Anyone who has played Mario Kart is familiar with that reprieve. The truth is, the Nintendo racers cheat. No matter how far ahead you get, no matter how perfect your race, the A.I. will unfairly adjust the speeds of each of the other racers to ensure that every race comes right down to the wire. And nothing could be more frustrating. Life, like Mario Kart, isn’t fair. I write this as I sit at the bedside of my mother in palliative care, knowing that there are only hours left in her life. In the same hospital six months ago and five floors below, I witnessed the birth of my son. And today we try to make my mother as comfortable as possible with warm blankets and happy memories. Life was never intended to be fair. Mario Kart was never intended to be fair. Three weeks ago, the doctor had broken the news. We all knew it was coming as she had been fighting a losing battle to Stage IV cancer for a few years already. The oncologist’s were quick, like a band-aid being torn off. “We are looking at...

But Nobody Came

It was with gritted teeth and DETERMINATION that I slayed Toriel, the sweet, mother-like figure who only wanted to guide me through the ruins and keep me safe. She wasn’t difficult to destroy. It took one hit. There was no heroic fanfare upon her death, no flashing text congratulating me on my victory, no epic loot, and there shouldn’t have been. The sight of Toriel’s heart breaking in two was all the reward I got for my efforts. I wasn’t a hero. I was a murderer. Before you completely write me off as a monster, let me explain how I got there. I’d already played through Undertale’s pacifist route, going through the game without killing a single creature, talking my way out of battles and making friends with monsters. The most endearing characters in the game (i.e. all of them) became my companions in the adventure, and I grew attached to each of them; from Papyrus, the skeleton with a heart of gold who just wants to be tough enough to join the Royal Guard, to Alphys, the reptilian creature with a fondness for anime who stutters her way through conversations, to Mettaton, the robot who hosts a popular TV show in the Underground—I loved them all. “It was you who led the world to its destruction. You think you are above consequences.” And I killed them all. Because there was more story to be learned from making a genocide playthrough, and I must know ALL THE THINGS. The things that were… the things that are… and some things that have not yet come to pass. Like a serpent was offering me an apple, I was tempted. I had to know. ALL OF IT. The scenes in the game became drastically different compared to...