SOUTHFIELD, MI—Bored with scaring elderly misers, the Ghost of Christmas Future is spending the holiday season taunting modern children with visions of Christmas 2016's hottest toy: the Sony PlayStation 5, a 2,048-bit console featuring a 45-Ghz trinary processor, CineReal graphics booster with 2-gig biotexturing, and an RSP connector for 360-degree online-immersion play.
"You know how kids are—a year is an eternity to them," the wraithlike specter said Monday during a visit to the Southfield home of 13-year-old Josh Kuehn. "So just imagine showing them something they'll have to wait 14 years for. Teasing them with a glimpse of the PS5 is the ultimate torture. They absolutely lose their minds. It's like saying, 'Hey, kid, you'll be an old man before you ever get to touch this.'"
The Ghost of Christmas Future said he has visited more than 125,000 homes since Thanksgiving, offering children an agonizing sneak peek at what they cannot have for another decade and a half.
"I like to appear in the living room with a PS5 hooked up to 2016's most popular TV, the 4'x8' Hi-Def Sony Titania," the Ghost said. "Then, I'll say in my best spooky voice, 'Jimmy! Behold what your kids will be playing while you're slaving away at an office job to support them!'"
Driving the children mad with PS5 lust, the Ghost said, is a multi-step process.
"I usually start by showing them Toteki Aluminum, one of the future's most popular fight-and-chase games," the Ghost said. "It's far from the best available in 2016, but it always blows their mind to see the guy get hit with the falling sign while the drops of sweat fly off his face. You can see the whole scene, distorted, in each of the individual drops. That gives them a good preliminary idea of the graphics technology we're dealing with."
The Ghost said he then likes to show Airsledz, a racing game in which jet-powered sleds whoosh through a four-dimensional racing course in the sky. The game, he said, enables the player to compete online against dozens of other players all around the world.
"They always ask if you can play it on the Internet—it's so cute how they still call it 'the Internet'—and I tell them, 'Hey, you can play this against 63 other PS5 owners simultaneously. At least you can in 14 years,'" the Ghost said. "And you should see their jaws hit the floor when they learn about the add-on accessories that enable users to actually fly around the room during gameplay."
Once the capabilities of the system are conveyed to the children, the Ghost likes to push them further over the edge by showing them games specially targeted to their age group.
Younger children, he said, salivate upon seeing Level One of Zonic Fugue. In it, Zonic, the indigo-colored son of Sonic The Hedgehog, faces off against Chuckles The Echidna in a Terrordactyl sky-joust, attempting to earn the Ankle Rockets he needs to gather the five Chaos Sapphires that, when combined, form the master key that opens the Melody Dome.
To break the spirits of children 12 and up, the Ghost runs a brief demonstration of Back To Werewolf Island. The horror-action thriller, he said, will be produced in full 10.8 Omneo sound and feature new music from 40 of 2016's hottest skagcore acts, including FU3P, Dredgerous, and Frances Cobain.
"Sometimes, the kids will start getting defensive and say, 'Yeah, well, I don't know any of those characters, so big deal,'" the Ghost said. "That's when I pull out DC vs. Marvel."
The Ghost said he shows the children a brief clip of DC vs. Marvel, in which cinema-realistic figures of Spider-Man and the Joker dash across impossibly detailed city streets, attacking each other with dozens of different offensive maneuvers while leaping, somersaulting, and throwing objects.
"They usually start trembling at that point," the Ghost said. "That's when I go in for the kill by casually mentioning that the game comes packaged with the 2016 feature film of the same name—not on DVD, of course, but on SCAP. Ten times better."
The few children unbroken by DC vs. Marvel are invariably finished off by the sight of Star Wars—Episode IX: Jedi Destiny, a game which employs the world's most advanced artificial-intelligence algorithm to place the player inside the film's climactic battle sequence on the planet Mon Jeedam.
"With more than 12,000 distinct soldiers, creatures, and vehicles fighting at once, and the option to command the New Republic Fleet, the Imperial Armada, or the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion Force, it's not merely the best Star Wars game that's ever existed; it's an interactive film that looks better than any movie that's ever been made. No child has failed to sob hysterically at the sight of it."
The PlayStation 5 will be available in stores Nov. 12, 2016, at a list price of Δ399 New Dollars ($199 Canadian).