I’m guessing this takes place in the unspecified not-too-distant future, a time when VR gloves and socks are widely available for the average consumer at a low enough price point that high school students who tutor their classmates for extra cash can afford them. A time when two teenagers with no industry experience and no capital can code and maintain a fully immersive free-to-play (as far as I can tell) VR MMORPG with all original non-store-bought assets, complex crafting systems, card-based combat with animations that blend seamlessly with physical player input from their VR gear, insane character customization and more—all on a shoestring budget, all done in their spare time between school and homework, and all without anyone else in their lives having any idea they run a game with a 500k player base on one (?!) server and thousands of active players at any given time. Meanwhile, here in the specified present, an indie game I’ve been keeping an eye on has barely managed to release a beta of the costume creator seven years after raising upwards of half a million dollars to cover development costs, and none of my big-studio-backed MMORPGs can figure out how to stop clipping issues with capes and hairstyles or prevent server lag during peak hours or effectively balance the meta when new gear/abilities/character classes are released.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Morris’s depiction of the constant racism Kiera deals with on a daily basis is 1000% accurate, but this coding stuff has my eyebrows climbing straight off my forehead. I need to get over it because I should not be focusing on whether the game’s development history is realistic or not. I just need to convince my pedantic brain that Goodreads lied to me about this book being contemporary and it really takes place in 2062 or something so it will stop screeching like the porg in my profile pic. Ugh, why am I like this?
That’s enough horrific run-on sentences for now. But before I go, in non-“a fictional game broke my brain”-related news, Malcolm is The Worst and Kiera needs to dump his ass ASAP. Sooner, even. Build a time machine and dump him yesterday.