KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local gamer Ernest Riley came to the realization while playing Middle-earth: Shadow of War that the game’s Nemesis System is the most complex relationship he has ever had, according to those vaguely familiar with the situation.
“The orcs… knew my name. They knew who I was. We had, like, some sort of history together. Fuck,” said Riley, holding his head in his hands. “I don’t even like this game, man. It’s so tedious and the open world just feels like a bunch of dumb fetch quest nonsense you feel like you have to get through. Hell, I downloaded the thing as a free PS Plus game. But when one of the orcs recognizes me as the guy who cut through his army 30 minutes ago… there’s just nothing like it. I’ve never felt so seen before in my life. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t felt so anonymous.”
According to those somewhat close to Riley, the game has had a profound effect on his personality.
“Oh is there something going on with him or something? I did notice he was acting a little differently, maybe,” said Riley’s roommate, Jill Hook, a stranger who was paired up with him to live together by a housing app. “I walked past his room the other day and I heard him saying, ‘I see you too,’ but I thought he was just talking to his girlfriend on Zoom again. He’s in a long distance relationship, right? I guess I never asked him, I just sort of assumed that was the case based on the little I’ve heard him say in his bedroom.”
“Now that I think of it, though, I guess Grisha the Ruinous would be a weird pet name for your partner,” Hook added. “That’s the name I heard him say the most.”