“Riley was aware that the appeal of MMORPGs, for him, extended beyond story and gameplay. It was the community, the balance ensured by mathematical rules, and the egalitarianism of character creation that soothed him, that provided a small measure of relief from the relentless imbalance present everywhere else in existence. Everyone started with the same number of skill points to allocate. Experience was given for effort. In real life you might be a cashier making minimum wage, or get leukemia, or be seventy-two thousand dollars in debt, but in the game it didn’t matter. You were on the same footing as millionaires, sports stars, Nobel Laureates married to supermodels. With enough work you could get what you wanted.”
“Sinner Wolf” was published in Issue Twenty-Seven of The Adroit Journal. It features a video game sword, teriyaki-flavored beef jerky, and printed-out Map Quest directions.
Arcade machines photo by Ben Neale.