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Salon Writer Wagner Au: Next Game Enthusiast To Crack, Kill Hundreds? 1999-05-12 Erik
Sane humans to Wagner James Au:  are you receiving us?
Salon Magazine, a hit or miss amalgam of post-leftist commentary and substandard TV guide, has published an analysis of the gaming press' reaction to the war in Columbine.  The article is written by Wagner "My last name starts here.  I think." James Au.  He takes a dull knife still slick from buttering his many pancakes and waves it in a vaguely threatening manner towards the gaming press, including our Gamespot staffmate William "Elliot Chin" Shatner.  The first page is a pretty standard spasm of crackpot theorizing punctuated by one tragic instance where citizen of the world Au finds he's reached the expressive limits of the English language and must resort to French.   It is not until the the second page that things turn weird and, finally, interesting:

Play a first-person shooter long enough and its morbid reality seems to descend over your awareness like a grid, accompanied by a kind of adrenalized hyper-awareness and euphoric rage. Grid, adrenaline and rage stay with you, far past the point when you exit to the desktop. Walk away from the computer, and they still persist. You find yourself stealing up on street corners as if preparing to strafe the adjoining block; you seem to see a crosshair traced across the bodies of passersby.

Dear Wagner James Au, please remember to take your meds.
He seems to think that this 'grid' is a concept familiar to his readers, a common feature of the human experience for which further explanation is
unnecessary.  He mentions the 'grid' again in the very next paragraph:

For the overwhelming majority of us, with well-adjusted social lives and a diverse range of interests, the grid recedes. But it's not at all hard to conceive, absent those factors, that the grid would remain in place.

I don't know what the grid is.  Perhaps one can't be told what the grid is.  I do know that Mr. Au feels we gamers are trapped in it.  I also know that it's only a matter of time before he reaches the inevitable conclusion that death is the only surefire escape from the Grid and that he, Wagner James Au, can become the "savior of the Grid" by shooting at us from atop the hood of the car he calls home.

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