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The Other Untapped Market

by BL Alien 

Submitted by: blalien@aol.com (BL Alien)
Spelling 2
Grammar 2
Coherency 4
Strength of Arguments 4
Presentation 3
Originality 3
Penalties 0
Total 18
Grade

Imagine that you were playing Final Fantasy 7 for the first time - without reading any spoilers or FAQ's. Imagine finally finding Aeris near the end of disk 1, thinking that all was well. Everyone was reunited. Suddenly, however, you see Sephiroth, glowing with evil, descending, holding that massive sword of his. You see that he is heading directly into Aeris, and nothing can stop him. He comes lower, lower, lower...

"Meow!"

You notice your cat crying hysterically, or rubbing up against your back, or sitting on your controller, or falling asleep on your Playstation. You anxiously shoo the frustrating feline away and turn back to the screen. However, the deed has already been done. Your beloved Aeris has been killed.

Sure, you could always restart your Playstation (the nearest save point wasn't that far away), but do you honestly think that the emotion, the shock, or the startling realization would be there again? The one event that turned the story around has occurred, and you have missed it. Nothing can change that. And it was all because your cat wanted a little attention. Does he thrive from your suffering? Does he feel that his immediate needs are more important than your RPG? Or maybe, just maybe, he feels jealous. You've spent more time holding a controller in your hand than playing with your own family member. But what if you could entertain your cat and enjoy your RPG at the same time? What if the cat could learn to understand, to accept, and to respect the RPG? What if your cat could be in that immense world - just like you are? What if your cat could play that RPG? Many people, upon hearing this idea, would find me insane - but I think it's possible. Imagine if a team of psychologists could discover the combination to the enormous door that protects the vault containing the intricacies of the feline language. It would be very possible to entertain the cat if we could communicate with it.

These same skeptics could also question whether or not our furry friends could learn how to play these games. Perhaps they're right. Perhaps they'll never learn how to play games as complex as the ones that are released nowadays. Maybe they wouldn't even be able to learn how to play Dragon Warrior or Phantasy Star. Perhaps, however, someone developed a game that could appeal to the cat's senses. Although sight is the predominant sense of the feline (I have read that cats can see up to eight times better than humans, although I could be wrong), this game could use Virtual Reality (VR) to stimulate the pet in all ways possible. The first RPGs could involve mazes and simple puzzles, with your "party members" communicating with the player in the vernacular (cat language). You, personally, could also talk to your cat, giving him advice or encouraging him to go on. At the end of each maze could be a virtual mouse toy or a bowl of the RPGamer's favorite brand of cat food. Then, the mazes could get harder, and the cat would slowly become smarter and smarter, until he can solve even the complex puzzles that inhabit our graphing calculators today.

Some remaining skeptics may argue that the cats are not smart enough to enjoy a video game (no matter how simple), and that they are not as clever as monkeys or pigs, who already have video games they can feel at home with. RPGs are only for the sentient, right? I disagree. We don't know whether or not our beloved pets are intelligent or not. We can't tell until we learn to communicate with them. I, personally, have seen my cat outsmart an intelligent human more than once (it was fairly funny to watch). Perhaps if these cats could be mentally stimulated throughout their entire life, and the psychologists can learn how these animals think, then it is extremely possible that RPGs are no longer only for humans anymore. Once a software company releases VR that can simulate all five senses, the bridge between cat and RPG could finally be constructed. In about fifty years or so, our descendants will no longer have to worry about their cats interrupting their RPG time. They could be spending it together. I believe it can happen - do you?




Notes:
This editorial took a very long time to mark, to say the least. On the first read, it appears to be nothing more than a harmless (if humorous) suggestion that cats could play RPGs. Then you start thinking, what if it's a metaphor? Then you start seeing the cat as other family members, say a mother who keeps asking you to run errands, or a father who wants help with DIY, or whoever.

Whether intentional or not, this editorial deserves a high mark simply for provoking the amount of thought it did between both judges, and for occupying far too much of our time. As for the cat-family theory, I leave that up to the reader to decide.

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