Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina: A Gamer's First-Hand Account

Naomi, a long-time RedAssedBaboon and Kotaku reader, posted a chilling first-hand account of life in Alabama after Katrina rolled through.

She's still at her half-submerged house with a roommate, water, tinned food and a gun for company.

This certainly isn't the saddest of the stories emerging from the chaos caused by Katrina, but it helps to put a very real human face on the problems facing that part of the country.

Just because you didn't die in Katrina doesn't mean you will survive its aftermath. Sure, maybe you won't die. But what about your job, your house, everything you owned? What will those people, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, do?

Here's some choice excerpts from her story, which she calls Ghosts in the Shadows of New Orleans:

I'm running out of fuel, I'm locked away from support, and there are no more supplies in the city. I have enough to stay in this room for a month, which should be more than enough. I've been shot twice in my life, and stabbed as well. I'm what I would consider a very grizzled person, I've lived through monsoons, long winters, and food shortages. This has taken my breath away, this destruction, this mindless hate and anger the people here have adopted to survive. Like I said before, it's like a video game.

I don't know what it was, the flood, the hurricane, or the death that has husked these people of their minds, but the people here have died, it's just that they still walk like humans. There's no place for us here, and they just walk, looking for something. Home, family, pets, someplace cool.. You bump into them, and they say one thing to you, maybe two. But that's it, that's all they can muster. If you say hello, it's like being in an RPG.

'Hello, how're you today? I've got some guns you can look at, open my shop.'
'You again? Well, that's great. I hope you'll buy something this time around.'
'Hello, how're you today? I've got some guns you can look at, open my shop.'
'You again? Well, that's great. I hope you'll buy something this time around.'

They walk around until something prompts them, they react, and continue. No different than in an NPC. They say so little, and everything they do is exactly the same. One of my neighbors down the street sits in his front yard all day. I think he's done the same crossword puzzle six or seven times by now. Sometimes I feel like I should go invite him here, this little oasis in a ruined city. You see, in a city with no power, flood water, and death; my small room, this tiny air conditioned room with a computer and a few days of water and food, I am truly a queen, surrounded by the damned.

This country has been dealt a gut-punch, go read the rest of the article and then volunteer or donate. Everyone needs to do something.

A Gamer's Take on Katrina: Ghosts in the Shadows of New Orleans [RAB]

[via Kotaku]

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