Troy looked at the stand-alone cardboard advertisement and attempted to raise a single eyebrow, his right one, like the cool kids did.
“So, what do you think?” his friend, Will, asked, pointing to the promotion.
“I don’t know. What’s it supposed to be?” He turned and looked at his classmate, the sounds of the shopping centre fading into background noise. The bright and dark colours of customers’ clothes becoming a blur–only his friend’s oval, dimply face clearly visible.
“I think it’s shooter with a girl protagonist. But it could be a RPG.”
“You think? It’s got long hair.” He banged the prominent character’s picture.
“Maybe you shouldn’t call her ‘it’.”
Troy sighed and pulled at his black t-shirt. His dad had bought it for him at a gaming convention. “Fine, it’s a girl. I’m not stupid, we go to co-ed.”
“So, are you excited?”
“It’s made by the same people who created BioQuake and Energy Effect. It’s going to be…” Will leaned in, his brown eyes flicking left and right, making sure very few people were around them. “…fucking awesome.”
“Maybe,” Troy looked back at the poster. “But where’s her… Y’know?” He held his hands out, and shook them.
“Christ, you know her name? You’re not actually going to play this shit are you?”
Will moved closer, and ran his finger down the girl’s chin. “Doesn’t she remind you of Justine at school?”
“Yeah, flat, like a board.”
“I guess, but,” he blushed, “I mean, maybe she’ll want to play co-op.”
“She doesn’t do games. She’s in the swimming team.”
“That’s not what she told me.”
“You get up enough courage to talk to one girl, and it’s Justine?” Troy ran a hand through his chestnut hair. “I can’t believe you dragged me all the way down here to see this.”
“But it’s going to be the biggest release of the year.”
“It’s a fucking girl,” he pushed the cardboard prop. “Lara’s one thing, she’s a bad-ass woman. A real woman. Not same scrawny ass,” he shoved the promotion once more, “wannabe female who can’t become popular. What’s she going to do? Whine some guy to death?”
“Justine’s looking forward to it,” Will whispered. “I thought you’d be excited.”
An idea occurred to Troy, one that he was surprised had taken so long to form. He turned and stared up at his half-a-head taller friend. “You’re trying to bang her.”
Will appeared confused. “No,” he replied, his face seeming to be covered in a cloud of doubt. “I just saw a 3DM in her bag and we got talking. I hadn’t even heard of the game until then.”
“Cause it’ll be shit, games for girls are. They don’t know how to make them.”
“It doesn’t get a lot of coverage on the sites.”
“Cause it’ll be shit,” Troy repeated, irritation creeping into his voice. “Not everyone’s desperate enough to fuck rack-less women.”
“It’s not like that.”
“Oh come on. Let’s get a soda or something.”
“I still think it’ll be good,” Will mumbled.
“Yeah, so are imaginary breasts.” He tried to nipple cripple his friend, but Will dodged. “What level are you on MagiCraft?”
“Awesome, soda and then a guild run?”
“Geez,” Troy whistled. “Girls as main characters, what the fuck next?”