I always wanted to play Infinity. I had a Virtual Decade, but I never had enough money to buy the game. My family isn't exactly rolling in dough, see. Since I'm still in school, I can't really get a job to pay for it either. I watched lots of gameplay videos on it, and it looked so amazing.
The strange thing was how much hate that it got. So many people, including some of my friends, were talking trash about it. I never understood why. It looked so much fun. People called it unoriginal and unimaginative, but I didn't really care about that. If a game is fun to play, who cares if it's unoriginal?
I play games because I want to have fun. If a game lets me have fun, then it's a good game to me.
Unfortunately, years went by, and even after Infinity Plus was released, I still wasn't able to get it. Even more time went by, and it was re-released in Europe exclusively.
Now if I ever wanted to play it, I either had to import a copy and play on the UK servers from America, or move there just to play it. Neither of those were going to happen.
But, imagine my surprise when I hear "Infinity Plus Plus" was getting an international release for the Virtual Millennium. It wasn't going to be released for another few weeks, but that's much sooner than most games are released after they are announced. Since I got a Virtual Millennium for my birthday, I could totally buy it. And luckily, I still had enough birthday money left over to do so. I was stoked.
So, for those who don't know, the Virtual Millennium was the new, state of the art, fully immersive gaming system. The Virtual Decade incorporated different peripherals, like gloves and shoes, to control movement in the game. The Millennium, however, was complete and fully functional virtual reality. No movement was required, and all it was was a helmet.
So, on my way home from school one day, I stopped by the local Game Source to get some more info on it, and maybe pre-order it. Now-a-days, all games come in digital format. We got rid of the need for disks, so now video games are cheaper to produce. If you get a game from the store, you can either bring an XQD Card for them to write the game onto, or you can buy one there. All you have to do then is put the card into the Virtual Millennium, and you can either play it directly from the card, or move the game onto your hard drive.
To prevent pirating, the games are in a format that can only be read by the console they're designed for, so you couldn't put the XQD Card in your computer and copy the files. The only way you can get free games now is to license transfer with a friend who already owns them.
So, I was standing in front of one of the posters for the game, looking up at it and reading some of the info, when I heard a man's voice from behind me.
"Thinking about buying it?", he asked. I turned around to see a tall and confident looking man in a business suit.
"Uh...yeah. I am.", I replied, "I've always wanted to. Everyone in America gave it so much shit when it first came out, but I thought it looked like a lot of fun. I'm not particularly good at shooting games, though."
"Really?", he asked.
"Yeah. One of my idols said, 'A game either has to be fun, interesting, or both, but not neither.', and I believe that. Maybe it wasn't original entirely, but it looked like a lot of fun. That's why I think it was underrated.", I explained.
"That's a very smart idol you have there.", he agreed, "And you have a good eye for games."
"Thanks.", I said, smiling and looking up at the picture again.
"I used to play Infinity Plus, even when it was out in Europe.", he told me.
"Oh yeah?", I asked.
"Mhm. I was pretty good, too.", he explained.
"I know I probably won't ever be the best, but I want to be the best I can possibly be. But, most importantly, I want to have fun.", I said to him. He made a satisfied humming sound, then tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see him holding out a slip of paper, with a smile on his face. It looked like some kind of coupon for Infinity Plus Plus.
"Bring this to the boys up front, and they'll get you that game right now.", the man told me.
"No way...", I muttered in disbelief.
"Take it. I think you should have it.", he said, with a fatherly tone, "Not many gamers have the attitude you do. I think this belongs to you more than anyone else."
"A-...Are you serious?", I asked, still shocked.
"Yes, I am dead serious.", he confirmed with a smile, "But you won't be able to play it until the release day, when the servers go online."
"Oh...I see...", I said with a nervous laugh.
"You'll be on the game faster than any other American, though. Oh, and a bit of advice.", he began, "When you start off, go into the forest and look for a circular clearing. There will be a rare chest there that will disappear after you get your first gun."
"How do you know all this?", I asked.
"I beta tested the game when it was practically complete. I know quite a lot about it. Like the fact that the Prince class is the best.", he explained.
"Who are you, anyway?", I questioned further.
"Just a veteran, passing the torch. I've got more important things to do now-a-days than play games. You'll use this copy well, I know it.", he said. With that, he turned his back and left the store, waving to me as he went.
"Don't forget about the forest!", he called. I was still in disbelief at the time. I wasn't even sure if he was telling the truth, so I walked up to the counter and handed them the ticket, saying,
"The man that just left gave this to me. Is it still good?"
"Whoa...you're one lucky guy.", the employee I gave it to told me, "This is a ticket that only a few beta testers are given." He dug around behind the counter and pulled out a XDQ Card.
"Here you go. Enjoy.", he told me. I took it slowly, completely in shock at what I just received. A moment later, I felt everyone's eyes on me, so I put the card in my pocket and made my way out of the store. Once I got outside, I took another peek at the card, then smiled and ran over to the bike rack, unlocking my bike and riding home.
I rushed into the house loudly, beginning to run up the stairs to my room.
"Honey? Why the rush?", My Mom asked. I didn't even get the chance to answer her before I was in my room with the door closed. I jogged over to my bed and picked up the Virtual Millennium, then plugged the XQD into the memory slot. After that, I put the headset on, laid down, and started it up.
After a brief moment, the Virtual Millennium logo came up, and I was loaded into the home.
Since this system was complete virtual reality, the "dashboard" or "home" manifested as an actual house. It was fully customizable and you could build it from the ground up. Your shows could be accessed from a giant TV screen in the main room, your music could be activated from the home theatre system, your game library could be seen from the disk holder, settings could be accessed from the back wall, etcetera. Everything you needed was in this room, and you friends could join you here, or you could visit their home. Mine was rather simple, but you could create anything you wanted, really.
I walked over to the disk holder and activated it, and a large holographic menu came up, showing the games I had installed, as well as Infinity Plus that was inserted in the console. I went over to it and selected the "Install" option. Since the game was only 90 gigabytes, it wouldn't take very long at all. A while back, even 60 gigabytes was a lot to install, but thanks to the advances of technology, you can install hundreds of gigabytes in a reasonable amount of time now.
I closed out of the game menu and opened up the web browser, then spent the rest of the time waiting for the install on the internet.
When it finally installed, I started it up to see what I could access before the servers went online, and after a few seconds of credits, I was loaded into the game. Now, you were loaded into an area that the devs designed for you to start in before entering the actual title screen. This area was strange, though.
I could see anything but pitch blackness. I couldn't move either. That's when I realized it must be a cutscene. A few seconds later, I heard someone in the distance calling,
"Ramirez!" But everything was still black. Slowly, though, I could see light coming back to me, and at the same time I could hear explosions and gunfire faintly.
"Ramirez! Can you hear me?!", I heard clearer. Finally, my vision started coming back to me, and I could see someone wearing what looked like military armor yelling at me. He grabbed me and pulled me into a sitting position, then said,
"Ramirez, we're getting you out of here! Stay with us!" I still couldn't move. After a few seconds, I was lifted up on his back, and now I was able to look around.
I saw explosions all around, and people wearing cool looking armor dying left and right. They obviously weren't soldiers, but I didn't know who they were. When I looked up at the sky, I saw a ton of monsters flying across it, some coming down to attack people. The soldiers were firing on the creatures, but they were barely making a dent on them.
"Dear God...it's like the Demon War all over again!", the guy carrying me said. At that point, my character pulled a pistol from his side, and now I was able to shoot. I took aim at some of the monsters and began firing, but I was doing absolutely nothing even though I was hitting them.
"Just hang on Rami-", the man stopped, and we both fell forward onto the ground. It was at that point that I could see he got shot in the head.
"Objective: Get the hell out of here.", a notification said. My character then picked up the soldier's rifle and held it forward. In the distance I could see some kind of helicopter that was about to take off, so I was apparently suppose to run for it, but I didn't want to leave that guy behind, as stupid as that sounds. So, I picked him up, fireman style, and began running.
Despite my sprinting, it felt like I was barely moving. An explosion would happen next to me and cause me to stagger, and bullets would hit me and slow me down slightly. But, I just kept running. As soon as I got near the helicopter, it began to take off. I tried to wave it down, but it wouldn't stop. It just lifted up into the sky, and all I could do was look up at it. But then, a huge laser blast from somewhere off in the distance shot right through it and caused it to explode. As the debris fell, a helicopter blade came falling straight down towards me. I threw the soldier I was carrying out of the way and tried to back up, but it hit me directly and pinned me to the ground. When I looked down, I saw the blade had completely cut me in half, and I heard a loud heart beat as my vision grew more and more blurry.
Then as soon as the cutscene started, it ended. I was then brought to the actual title screen. The music that was playing was soft and super relaxing, and the background looked like it was some kind of kingdom above the clouds. I selected the start option and an information screen popped up.
"You are not registered for an Infinity Plus account. Would you like to register now?", it asked. I selected yes, then I was given the typical sign up sheet.
Username: Major Sinclair
and then I put in my email and everything else I needed. After a few seconds of loading ,it finished.
"Thank you. You are now registered." Then it brought me back to the login screen.
I entered my info and hit sign in, but after I did, it replied with,
"We are unable to contact the server at this time. Would you like to try again?"
Figures. I just said no and left it at that. I guess I really did need to wait.
So, flash forward a few weeks, and it was the day of the game's release. The game was released at midnight, but the servers wouldn't be up until 4 AM, since that would be 12 PM in London, where the game company was located. So, I waited patiently.
It felt like forever, but finally, it was able to connect.