I die when I look in the mirror.

April 12, 2014 by Lucian Mogosanu

I fell asleep. I fell asleep $n$ times composed, in the algebraic sense.

I woke up. I was a black woman in a white room, in a white bed with white sheets. I got up and looked in the only mirror in the room. I died. Instantaneously.

I woke up again; still a black woman in a white room, in a white bed with white sheets. I got up, looked in the same mirror and died again. Instantaneously.

I woke up yet again, a third time. This time I was myself. Not my real self, but a self with a more squarely face and a hair too well arranged to be my real self, but it felt like myself. Not like my real self, but the self it felt like was the self I was expecting it to be.

This time I told myself I wouldn't die anymore.


I'm in Jerry's apartment; he has a room full of gadgets: mobile phones, consoles, wearables, from the 20th century to now. I don't know Jerry too well, but I don't know any other guys with so much knowledge on console gaming. He hands me a Gameboy and tells me it's great; he helps me switch the batteries, since I can't figure out how to do it, the blasted cover has a really weird configuration. I tell him I've never owned a gaming console, but I've played some console games in my life: from the SNES to Terminator clones sold in Romania, I've tried most of them over at friends in the neighbourhood. Nowadays I get to play all the oldies on emulators.

Then Jerry put a cartridge in and told me to turn it on. Suddenly the whole perspective changes.

The intro shows a real-life photo of a blonde woman and a spaceship drawn in a 3D setting. The spaceship flies through space and lands (or is cast away, I can't tell) on a foreign planet not shown yet. Instead, the ship's crew comes into focus in the same photorealistic detail.

... then suddenly, the faces degenerate into pixeled 2D sprites and they keep oscillating between the photo and the sprites for a couple of times for each crew member. I can't remember any of the names or the faces, but I know that I (the player) am one of them.

The game changes to a Final Fantasy-esque map, a top-down view with topographic details, representing a desert planet with some kind of dunes. Now, the really peculiar thing is that the dunes aren't really dunes, but more like volcanoes with craters in the top. So I climb one of the "dunes" and reach the crater; the crater seems to "open", becoming something similar to a black hole. The image zooms in.

The game perspective turns first-person, but with very vague details. I find myself in an almost empty room, without any doors. I try to pass through one of the walls and thus I get to enter in another, completely different room, like from another world. I do this again and I suddenly find myself on a basketball field, playing basketball. The image becomes clearer and clearer as I pass through walls.

After a while I reach an empty (detailed, photorealistic) room with a mirror. I look in the mirror. I don't die.

I realise, however, that the game learns my self as I play it, it adapts to my way of playing and in the process it creates a model of Me, transposing Me into the game. I wonder how this is possible with nowadays' technology and I stop on the clear thought that mapping an entire person into a game is indeed theoretically possible.

All images of myself are only mirrors, after all, and the mirrors are tar pits.

Filed under: storytime.
RSS 2.0 feed. Comment. Send trackback.

One Response to “I die when I look in the mirror.”

  1. [...] story begins with Captain John Yossarian's glance in the mirror, at his own death2, which is a full circle starting with the death of him who may have been his only friend. The [...]

Leave a Reply