Original photo "1986 by Matt Leunig"

Matt was bored… and when a clever child becomes bored, they often create mischief.

 “Quit it” cried Danielle running from her brother who raced after her as a madman.

“BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!” Matt yelled with a ghoulish inflection, pulling his wild curly hair.

Matt was a brat. He’d do anything for a thrill. Tease his sisters. Eat candy instead of dinner. Play music really loudly. He loved being a problem, which was probably because of how smart Matt was. He was excellent at solving puzzles and mysteries; acutely memorizing details and keeping an array of factors in mind as he pulled together the most reasonable solution. For Matt, nothing was off limits. So when Matt’s mom and dad punished him by taking away all his video games for being bad, being bad was all that was left to do.

“MOM! Matt is doing it again!” Danielle screeched

“No I’m not.” Matt called back as he continued to chase and corner his sister.

“ MATTHEW… STOP IT!”  Their mother commanded.

“BWAH!” Matt continued his assault in plane view of his mom.

“MATTHEW!” She yelled. “GO TO YOUR ROOM!”

“BWAHAHAHAH!” The boy laughed with defiance stomping up the stairs to his room.

If there was one quality about Matt greater than his cleverness it was his pride. Even when Matt lost he had to do so on his own terms. If he was going to be in more trouble than he already was, he was going to make sure he it was worth it; laughing all the way down the hall and slamming his door.

He could picture the anger his mother held back ash she clenched her teeth and it made him feel victorious. But the cost of victory was freedom. Now Matt was a prisoner in his room. He had to escape… But how?

He pulled out his video game system to sneak playing, but his mom was also clever, taking the controllers and games, leaving only the console to flicker without input. Matt, not willing to be defeated by his mother, kept flipping the switch on and off as he thought. Suddenly, a new screen came up on the TV. It was a game. A game Matt never saw before. A mystery, as if built into the console for the sole purpose of reaching the one child who stumbled upon it. Almost prophetically the game scrolled the words “It’s a secret to everybody.” Then the title rose with flashing gold… “THE LEGEND OF DILECCE”

Matt could tell at first sight it was an adventure game, filled with puzzles and mysteries to explore. Unsure how to play, Matt desperately started looking around his room for an extra controller, hoping his mother didn’t take them all… But the game didn’t say “Press Start” as most games did. It said “Enter to Play”.

“Enter?” Matt thought. “Enter what?”

It was then Matt noticed the door on the console was open with a hole just big enough to fit his hand inside. Inspiration and intrigue overcame Matt, as if all at once realizing what he was to do. He placed his hand in the console, pressing down on the spring mechanism. In that moment the game took him.

He was there, inside the game, among the trees and caves, embarking on a quest with a sword in hand. The situation was startling, as monsters began to crowd around. Fear rose and sank in a single gulp. It was a new challenge, one that Matt decided to embrace.

“Game on!” Matt shouted before chasing the monsters with his ghoulish laugh “BWAHAHAHA!”

It was a new game. A new chance at adventure. An extra life.