Yu is dead. Long live Yu.

If you’ll entertain a bit of shameless self-promotion disguised as a point of criticism — I wrote a game called 199X recently, and it is about many things, but one of those many things is the concept of where a video game character goes once you stop playing. This is a more important question to ask of video game characters than, say, movie characters, because the protagonist of a video game literally cannot function without your help.

Following that logic to its conclusion, what the hell happens to a video game character if you mess up and they die?

Do they feel pain? Do they feel nothing? Do they think it’s their fault? Is this a question I should even be concerning myself with as a normal, well-adjusted video game player?

I don’t have a great answer to that question. All I can tell you is this: today, Yu died, and it was because I messed up.

I was playing carelessly. There was no excuse. I figured the fish monsters I was fighting would drop sooner than they wound up dropping. Yu did not suffer a noble death. He did not die running out of a crumbling castle, waving his friends forward.

“It’s not worth it. I’ll just slow you down. You need to get Yukiko out of here!”

And then Chie glances back, a single tear dripping down her cheek. She knows she can’t save Yu. It kills her. But she also knows that Yu would want her to move on. Get out of this small town for small minds. Escape to the city. Become a police chief. Disrupt the ranks. Catch the criminals that deserve to be caught. She doesn’t need a gun. She has her feet. Galactic Punt.

Yu was not this lucky. Yu died to a fish monster.

Here is my self-imposed canon: this did not happen. It merely could have happened. File this death away in a folder of forked paths and random, unfortunate mistakes. This is not an essay for 4/20. This is BAD END 1.

Tomorrow, perhaps, the stars will align. Yu will fall asleep on 4/19 once again.

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