Comic 371 - The Emperor's Old Liver
26th Nov 2018, 1:45 AM in The Antique Shop
The Emperor's Old Liver
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Author Notes:
Microraptor edit delete
Microraptor
Listen to a master salesman at work! :-D

The arcade game cabinet Cleo is hiding behind is Polybius, which probably never existed, but is a fascinatingly creepy urban legend. A good video about this topic is this here. (It's quite long, though!)
User comments:
ProfEtheric edit delete reply
ProfEtheric
I was super excited when I saw that Polybius!

And now it seems to fall to the child to do the good work... :)
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Well, after all, Cleo is sort of the main protagonist of this chapter!
lirvilas edit delete reply
lirvilas
...or the bad work.

Time for some good old fashioned breaking and entering.
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
So you mean, befriending a pirate is just the start of a slippery slope that Cleo is on? ;-)
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
I can't renember the title or author, but I recall a sf- short story from probably the 1970ies, I think. It was about a man who approached young video gamers who made the top high scores on the local meteor game arcade, and asked them to be testers of a new video game prototype and takes them to a camp where they are trained to shoot meteors in aracade machines looking like tiny spaceships, with perfect graphic display but no sound. In fact he was an alien who looked for a cheap way to clear a lucrative planet of the disturbing meteor belt and put them into small spaceships and they are all killed in action colliding with meteors sooner or later. Anyone knows that story?
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Hmm, the overall premise lets me think of Ender's Game. Which I haven't actually read yet, but skimming the Wikipedia synopsis, that doesn't really fit.
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
No, it can't be. The story I think of was older and it happened in an urban, 20th century non-sci-fi context, which was essential for the surprise ending. It was a short-story, too. (The boys really believe they are just testing a hyperrealistic aracade until the end, and only one of them realizes the truth just before he panics and crashes into a meteroit.)
Ender's game looks more like post-lensmen mainstream space-opera to me, although I haven't read it either.
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Take a look at the suggestion Willibald has given below.
The premise sounds similar, just that it's a movie instead of a short story...
Willibald (Guest) edit delete reply
That reminds me of The Last Starfighter
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Could have been what Stilldown means if this movie was based on a short story.
But unfortunately, the answer seems to be "nope" according to Wikipedia...
(There was a novelization of the movie though, but those are usually too long to be perceived as a short story...)
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
The Last Startfighter is a (somehow a little kitchy) space opera with a benevolent, or at least idealistic, alien and a happy end.
The shady guy hanging around in arcade hall in the shortstory I read is an alien capitalist who wants to exploit the mineral resources of an abandoned planet and finds the cheapest way to remove the asteroid belt around the planet is having them shot down by kamikaze pilots in small spaceships, most likely outdated warships of a far advanced technology. There is no idealism, war or happy end. The boys, except for one, do not even realize they have left earth and think they are still playing in far advanced arcade machines until they all die in collisions. The alien capitalist returns to earth to find new victims to "test his arcade machines" until all asteroids will be destroyed.
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
Now I found the story. It was called "Game Over" by Peter C. Wiesmeier. I haven't found an exact year, but it certainly predates Last Starfighter and Enders Game (and has no spaceopera elements in it, anyway.)
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Gratulations then! I think it's always nice when the effort of trying to dig up a piece of media one vaguely remembers from long ago pays off.