Coming of Age Sci Fi: 8-Bit Player H8 by E.J. Krause aka @ericjkrause #scifi #ya #cyberpunk

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Can Genesis overcome social anxiety and gamer jerks to win in Virtual Gamedom--and life?

8-Bit Player H8

by E.J. Krause

Genre/Keyword(s): Sci-Fi, Coming of Age, Young Adult, cyberpunk, romance




Introverted teen Genesis Strange feels her legal middle name should be “Socially Awkward.” In the world of Virtual Gamedom, though, she rules the classic arcade and 8-bit console games. When two of her online friends turn out to be classmates, her shell begins to crack. Even better, when one friend's hot brother, who she’s been crushing on all school year, starts flirting with her, it threatens to shatter. The biggest VG tournament to date seems made for her, but there are other gamers who don't want her—or any girl—to have a shot at the grand prize. Can Genesis win the prize—and win at life?


We continued talking games, going over the ones we didn’t want to face. I can’t say if I was surprised or not that most of those we avoided were the same. I also couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if we’d lived close our whole lives. We probably would have spent almost all of our time together since we meshed so well. Even now I was comfortable enough with her that I could have an actual conversation, something that happened with very few people, my parents and Aimee being the only ones. I didn’t even have easy conversations with my grandparents or anyone else in my family. This with Olivia sort of gave me the chills.

While we talked, we also paid attention to public chat, where some guys were having a discussion about the contest. Neither of us had checked any forum sites since it started, so it was interesting to listen in, even though they seemed like the kind of gamer jerks that sent horrible anon messages. For all I knew they were doing it right now, but since I never checked that channel, I had no idea. Olivia might be monitoring it, but she didn’t mention anything. Anyway, we laughed at them and didn’t give them our full attention, but we picked up plenty.

Basically, they said there were challenges every three to five hours, often enough for players to get multiple ones each day, as well as helping out those that didn’t play during traditional times. They also said that sometimes the arcade doors were open, like they were with the Centipede challenge, and sometimes it was like this. They could find neither rhyme nor reason, as it didn’t seem to offer any strategic advantage or disadvantage either way. Olivia and I also tried to figure something out, but we came up blank, too. 

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