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A whirr of electrostatic noise signals imminent joy. Mum and Dad are out shopping, my sister is at her friend’s house, and it’s just me and the cat and the TV and my Acorn Electron. As the tape recorder feeds its delicate and touch-tender magnetized magic into the computer, I throw on a Man Parrish record, borrowed from my cousin, Lee - primary keeper and feeder of underground music culture to my eager 12 year old ears. Before the first song’s over, the TV screams into life and color - my game, Repton, is ready to play.
The screen vibrates reds and yellows and greens directly into my rods and cones, and as I punch each button on the keyboard - right left right up right down down down right - my brain splinters, painlessly and subconsciously, into fractals of memory and potential. Patterns are filed away under atom-thin layers of soft, pliant synapse… but for what purpose? Am I being prepared for something? Is it good or bad? Am I doomed to become an unwilling participant in a global form of psychological and pecuniary control, or is my young mind being gently expanded, pixel by pixel, to take in a creation that transcends the mere neurons of thought and feeling?
I’m at level 11 - one level away from winning the whole game. I’m given a password: “emerge”. I write it down in case I forget it and need it later.
But I remember.
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