by Jonathan Fortin
reviewed on PC
In the future, when modern society has fallen, the Future Folk will see airplanes as gods...
As he looked upon the ruins of the airplane, Bradley let out a happy sigh. He knew that this plane—this fantastic flying machine—was a god, as all airplanes were. He knew not where they came from, and knew not how to repair them, but that didn't matter. He, too, wished to be an airplane.
Bradley waited for the others to show up—those who understood, as he did, what planes truly were. There were heretics out there who claimed that the planes had been invented by human beings long ago, before the Great Tumult claimed so many lives. But Bradley knew such people were fools. How could humans ever create something as majestic as an airplane? No, the planes had to be gods. There was no other explanation.
So Bradley ran around the temple, leaping and flapping his arms, as he imagined airplanes must have done when they could still fly. He pointed at walls and went “Pew pew!” He imagined shooting them with heat-seeking missiles. If only the environment around him could manifest the destruction he saw in his mind. If only he could truly see lasers coming out of his hands!
He knew the rules of this game very well: the faster you ran, the more damage you'd inflict upon the enemy. He also had to pay attention to his Imaginary Fuel, for if it ran out he'd have to pretend to crash by falling to the ground. There were pickups that would help regain his fuel, but the pickups did not help with his increasingly-dwindling amount of Imaginary Bullets. Imaginary though they were, Bradley was running quite low, and try as he might he couldn't seem to replace any of them unless he crashed.
There were, however, other upgrades to be found—upgrades that increased his damage or doubled his speed, for example. Bradley had even heard about an upgrade that would temporarily transform him into a real, invulnerable airplane, but had never encountered this himself. It seemed almost mythic to him.
For several minutes exploring the temple on his own proved entertaining enough; but as Bradley continued, he began to wonder where his friends were.
None of the other cult members were in attendance! Bradley continued to run around, flapping his arms, going “Pew! Pew!” as though this would cause others to arrive. Surely someone would come? But no. Fifteen minutes passed, and not a single other person came. Bradley felt disheartened. Perhaps he'd simply come at the wrong time.
He decided to run to the Red Team Base. Bradley was Blue, meaning he needed to capture their flag. After all, there was no resistance to speak of. Bradley found his way to the Red Base, stole their flag, and “flew” to the Blue Base. He scored a point, imagining cheers. Visions flooded his head of himself becoming an airplane and playing football. An entire football field where all the players were airplanes, shooting at each other! Just imagine! How wonderful would that be, if only anyone was here.
After scoring a few, the match ran out of time, and ended. Bradley was sure he'd have a victory, but it was instead dubbed a “Stalemate.”
“No fair!” Bradley called. “I scored three points, and the Reds scored none!”
But the match seemed to have made up its mind. It had been a stalemate, no matter what Bradley had done.
Bitter, Bradley visited other temples that had been erected, but there were barely any available—no more than three or four, really—and they were also just as empty as the one he had already explored.
“Maybe I'll make my own temple,” he decided. “And what a grand temple it will be!”
So he went over to the Map Editor and began to construct his own Temple of the Wind. It had been very kind of the cult leaders to include this feature. However, the tools were rather frustrating to use, and before long it occurred to Bradley that there wasn't a great deal of point in it. Why bother making a temple when he had no one to share it with? Even if he made a beautiful map, who would be there to enjoy it with him?
Disheartened, he returned to the first temple. Perhaps he'd simply been too early. Perhaps now other cult members would arrive.
Then, after another ten minutes of aimless wandering—at last! He witnessed another soul running and jumping through the temple, flapping his arms just as he was doing. “Ahoy!” Bradley called. “Ahoy there!”
He neared, and saw that the other man was a blue like him. “Oh, hold on,” said Bradley. “Let me go Red.”
This meant crashing and respawning, but it was worth it to finally have an opponent. The now-red Bradley came right up to his opponent, grinning, feeling a rush of excitement. “At last!” he said. “At last, someone is here to play with me!”
“Is this it?” asked the other man, who was wearing a plane-shaped box around his waist. “Is no one else here?”
“Just you and me!” said Bradley “What do you say we play a bit of Capture the Flag?”
“Sorry, mate,” said the other man. “If nobody's here, then I've got better things to do.”
And then the other man was gone. Bradley wailed, desperately hoping that someone else would come and play pretend-dogfights with him, but no one ever did. Truly, he was alone.
Bradley began to feel a strange sense of fury coursing through his veins. It had cost him $14.99 to get an entry ticket into the Cult of the Wind, but he was beginning to feel that it was an unjust price indeed. The cult leaders could have at least included automatons—bots, as they were sometimes called—to help fill out the temple arenas. But they had not. Instead, they had left Bradley to run around the temples alone, hoping to engage in Ritual Mock-Dogfights, and getting no opportunities to do so.
Bradley felt a sad sense of abandonment, wondering if it had been a pyramid scheme all along. “To Hell with it!” he thought, and left the temple. He would be an atheist from now on. No silly plane worshiping for him, no sir!
If only there were others in attendance, he was sure that the game would be quite fun indeed. But there was no one—not even optional automatons. And $14.99 is an awfully high price to pay for loneliness.
You get to pretend to pretend to be an airplane, which is hilarious
Few maps, fewer players, and no bots