I had a couple of options I was pondering when coming up with a topic for this column. I was planning to write about guest stars in video games when I came across one of the coolest gaming stories I've seen in awhile.
I'm a sucker for stories about people helping one another out. One of the reasons I joined the Rotary Club of Fort Walton Beach was we can do a lot more to help out around the community together than what I could do on my own.
Something very cool and rather remarkable is unfolding right now in the world of video games. "Elite Dangerous" is a sci-fi spaceflight simulation game on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in which players pilot different kinds of spaceships around a vast, open galaxy while keeping up with repairs, armaments and fuel.
If the ship is flying around in space that has already been explored, they can warp around quickly like in "Star Trek." But if they're in unknown space, they have to fly that distance in real-time, which uses up a lot more fuel. Cruz prepared for the journey and stockpiled fuel and spent 42 days flying 65,788 in-game lightyears when he made the decision to use some of the fuel he had saved for his return trip to go a little farther.
That decision cost him, and Cruz has been adrift and out of fuel since November of last year. A rescue attempt is under way right now. A group of players who call themselves the Fuel Rats are on their way.
They've named this rescue attempt Operation Beyond The Dark Edge, and it involves five ships traveling to reach Cruz. If all goes according to plan, two of those ships will make the full trip to drop off the much-needed fuel to Cruz on Saturday before everyone jumps back into known space.
In the grand scheme of things, what's happening this week in "Elite Dangerous" is not important. Cruz is not in any real danger. But gaming, especially online in which gaming most people seem to enjoy telling you how much you suck, is not always known for showing kindness to strangers. So, well done Fuel Rats, and Godspeed.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is currently playing "Star Wars Battlefront 2" and "Friday the 13th: The Game." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID, DustRAG316.