I have an old-style CRT TV, like the Pilgrims used. The lack of high definition is not an obstacle to my normal TV pursuits, streaming Top Gear on Netflix and playing Final Fantasy 1. The only time it’s a problem is when I’m playing modern video games. Nowadays, video game text is optimized for HD, and, I’m convinced, not even tested on a CRT.

The game I’ve had the most trouble with is Dragon Age. Not that its fonts are any larger than, say, Assassin’s Creed: but Dragon Age has so much text. (In Assassin’s Creed, if you can’t read the subtitles, it’s no big deal: you’re like, “Oh no, now I’ll never know what ‘Molto Bene’ means.”)

Not being able to read in a backstory- and stat-heavy game like Dragon Age means that you occasionally equip the dagger that gives +3 to accuracy, thinking it says +8; and you occasionally get some weird ideas about the backstory.

I was startled by one passage in my quest log which declared that “a monumental table stands before you.” That seemed like a bold statement, since I could see that I was in a room containing zero monumental tables. It was like my Quest Log was playing D&D with me, or maybe interactive fiction. Imagine a game where half the gameworld was described in text: you might be fighting three onscreen goblins, and there’s a text caption that says “By the way, there are three more goblins.”

Of course, I had misread the text on the screen, which really set a monumental task before me. A monumental table is more interesting though. ‘Monumental’ suggests an inhuman scale, quite surprising for a piece of furniture. How big is this table anyway? Is it as big as, say, the Washington, DC reflecting pool (2000 feet long)? What would be the possible use of such a table? Maybe there’s some spell that gives a combat bonus to everyone who eats at the same table together, and this table was constructed so that an entire army could share the bonus. (BTW, Hero’s Feast is not a 4e spell yet. Time to introduce it?)

I also misread one of the monster names, “Warden skeleton”, as “wooden skeleton”. Since skeletons are undead creatures, an animate wooden skeleton is an intriguing enemy. Did someone carve a wooden skeleton and then animate it? or did someone’s skeleton turn to wood, and if so, was it before or after they died? Or is it an undead wood nymph?

OK, here’s a strange encounter for you, courtesy of my illegible CRT TV.

A monumental table stands before you, perhaps half a mile long, made of a single slab of marble. The table is surrounded by two or three thousand chairs. In each chair, there sits a slumped skeleton. The skeletons don’t appear to be made of bone; they look like they’re made of… wood?

As you enter the room, thousands of wooden skulls swivel to stare at you.

2 Responses to “squintspiration”

  1. skeeto says:

    This reminds me of all those times I’ve mixed up the 5 for the 6 the in Diablo II, because the 5 looks just like a 6.

  2. Rory Rory says:

    Dude, that encounter sounds awesome. I’m guessing it’s a skill challenge or puzzle of some sort, since battling 1,000 skeletons would be rather time consuming. Then again, I did 50-100 once and that took less than a half hour!

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