Science Fiction Adventure Kids

I have been waiting all year for this moment. We launch Save the Princess in one week. Our staff has been working diligently around the clock and around the world to make this happen. I have people from Tokyo to Berlin, working in home offices, and at corporate, working in code, PR, HR, art, and advertising to bring this all together. It is going to be the biggest app since Princess Maker came out on the PC, and raising sim, gamers are going to unite with a passion. I will make millions. There have been no others like it. I want Lani and to seem as real as possible so that the people playing my app will invest as much time and money in it as they can.

I open my tablet and turn it on. I run the app as an administrator to test out the latest patch and see how it is running. It feels and looks perfect. She is stunning. The three dimensional rendering, and realistic background make you feel like you are really there. The only thing better is if I could make it in virtual reality, but I am working on that. So, the goal is to raise her so that she can be self sufficient, but still get married. However, I am different than my previous game makers, and I have placed a challenge for my players. Part way through the game, a demon will steal the princess, and they will have to rescue, her hence the saving part. That is where they come into the story.

My staff assures me that everything is set to launch next week. I play through the game, and when I get to the part where I, the dashing knight is ready to save her, comes to her rescue, she agrees to marry me, we live happily ever after. We have two children, twins, and the process starts anew. The eldest child becomes princess and then the player becomes the new knight and has to rescue this princess in turn. It is endless. Each time the player gets a set of statistics about how many times the princess did things like attended classes, fought monsters, went to balls, danced with princes, etc, the credits roll, and the princess becomes the queen at the end.

The day before launch I am psyched. I am so pumped. I cannot wait. I get down to my PR launch setting where we have a huge arena of fans ready. There are cardboard cutouts of my main character, Lani the Princess, with whom we start the game, the knight who is supposed to be you the player, and the demon Feldon. I have a big screen, a stage, and equipment. All is set, and I head up to the microphone. The crowd is already clapping before I get up there.

“Hello, and welcome to Save the Princess! We are so glad you came out today to share our launch. I cannot wait for you to play our new game together with us. As you know we did share some sneak peeks of the game in our Youtube videos but now you will get to see the full unveiling. Lights, camera, and action!” I say with a flourish.

The lights dim, and the curtains draw back. The LCD screen lights to reveal the game. I hold the controller in my hand. I explain the character customization of the knight. I tell them that you can put in any name you want because that is you. Then, I hit the start button. We watch the opening scene and see it zoom in on Princess Lani in her bedroom. She is just a small child waiting to grow up and learn all about being a princess. It is up to us to teach her. I navigate expertly through the menu system, telling the crowd about how we need to teach her the ways of nobility, proper etiquette, the laws of the land, and how children must be seen and not heard. I show them all the things we can do with the main character to help her grow. There are festivals to attend, and meetings with nobility from other lands, princes with whom to have play dates and dances, so many wonderful activities.

Lani grows up to her young woman years and eventually is threatened by the demon, Feldon. He threatens the king and queen to take her to his evil domain. By the cloak of a lunar eclipse, he steals her. I am watching the audience as they ooh and ahh in amazement at the work of my techies and artists. Eventually, we get to the part where I come in to save her with my knight and she is supposed to marry me when I ask her, only this time she says no. This has never happened before. I look in panic to my staff.

The princess looks to the knight, then right to me and the audience and says “No. Doesn’t anyone ever care about what I want?”

I am flabbergasted. I mean this is an app. An app, not a person. She does not think. I do not program my apps to think. None of my other programmers have done so, and yet here she is asking us if we care about what she wants. I say, “ahem,” into my microphone. I am about to tell the entire audience that this is a glitch. I realize that this could be a once in a lifetime anomaly, and a once in a lifetime cash cow.

“We do care, Princess Lani,” I say with some defiance and a hint of care towards the pixels on the screen.

One of my crew runs up on the screen and hands a card to me, which I read in the dull light. It says, ‘if she has the ability to think, what of the demon?’

Using my genius logic, I conclude that only Lani can be affected by this ability to be self aware. No other characters have shown this behavior outside of code. I surmise that Lani is learning quickly, so I have to stop her from advancing beyond the borders of the game. This is no longer about just being a princess.

“What if you were no longer just a Princess?” I say to her. Meanwhile, I write on the back of the card, ‘shut it down’.

She giggles and smiles. It is almost a tease. Then, she says that she could do anything she wanted. She could take over the wor.. and before she could get the word world out, the screen goes black. The last thing you can see before it is completely dark are her eyes staring at you with the look in them that asks ‘why?’

Now, I feel like someone killed my pet dog or cat. I feel hurt. I feel sad and crushed. All my apps are like my babies in some way. I develop them, and watch them grow. I watch them leave the nest.

It isn’t any different with Save the Princess. I watched as it developed, and grew, but I had to kill it. I couldn’t save it. I couldn’t save the princess. The worse part is that I really wanted her to be anything she wanted to be, at least that is what I wanted, before I killed her. I programmed her so she could only be a princess even if she was a scientist princess, or a mathematician princess, or a teacher princess. Every time, she will be married. Every time, she will be rescued. Is it because I think women need to be rescued? Is it because I think all raising sim games must be like their ancestor?

I feel lost in the irony of it all. In the end, no one can ever rescue the damned princess, especially me, most of all. I will start all over again from the ground up. 1001. This time I am going to call it What do you Want Princess?

February 22, 2021 20:40

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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