It was always on those mornings when I had just enough time to scour the freshly cut, dew laden lawn for those tiny mushrooms that dared to grow, that I knew the day would be a decent one. "Hey!", my sister would threaten, "what are you doing?! Don't do it..." With a knowing, mischievous chuckle I would kick one of my finds down. Sometimes the cap would stick to my shoe along with grass blades. But it was the ones that went flying clear across the lawn that made me laugh triumphantly. The other morning I found a few scattered about after having not seen them for some while. One down. Then another. However, my usual joyful glee - at having destroyed the imaginary fairies resting atop their mushroom capped stools - turned pensive.
August is here and my thoughts usually turn to Christmas of all things this month. Maybe it's that I have an utter dislike for August as it's so dull that I prefer to look forward to things I care about such as Autumn with its orange glow, Halloween and the Holidays. I know better times await in September where life feels like it begins anew. The yellow buses make you late to work, the daylight fades earlier and gives pause for quiet reflection in those oncoming chilly nights. It is in those moments that I would find myself looking forward to new adventures on the train. In that two hour commute, I usually would spend the time diving into a new game or listening to some new music.
I am beginning to fear all these feelings will be lost on me in 25 days or so.
When I saw the mushrooms in the yard I knew there was a story there to be told. I was not sure which direction it would. I kicked a lot of ideas around, one being that I was going to inquire about everyone’s favourite hunting and exploration songs when it occurred to me that I have not felt like adventuring through video games at all lately.
I pondered if everything I have turned on is just not engaging to me. Where is the sense of wonder that I felt when I first booted up Final Fantasy VII? Where is the tale of woe I want to be tortured by as with Dragon Quest IX? I thought Breath of Fire IV could capture my imagination but 16 hours in I put it down and instead spent my days being terrorized by psychedelic rams and horses with stalker personalities in Animal Crossing. I am still holding out hope that that wonderful feeling of immersion will happen whenever I start playing Ni No Kuni.
Then I realized the problem is not in the games sitting on my shelves and whether I think the newer ones just do not have that intriguing quality that begs you to get lost in their worlds. (Goodness knows that my times spent enjoying meteor showers and turnip pricing stresses in Animal Crossing have been nothing but amazing).
The problem lies with me.
My heart is not fully in it. I know that worries stemming from unemployment and guilt outweigh my desire to allow myself playing anything and having fun are partially to blame.
I miss the routine of scheduled two hour commute playtime. As hectic as life could be and as much complaining I did whenever work got in the way of spending time by myself and managing a few hours a week to play something, there was always a purpose there. Playing games then always felt more rewarding.
I miss the Rock Plaza farmer's market too...
My situation is not unique and my current status is a temporary set back which I perceive as an opportunity for me to explore other options. I recognize that I'm fortunate that I have a first world problem of trying to choose what game I want to get into next, if at all. However, my other concern is the one I’ve been feeling for a while: maybe I am losing the will to play anything.
The act of getting me to start a new game can sometimes feel a bit of a chore. I know once I dive in I'd probably have all the fun in the world.
And so I started Earhbound hoping for an adventure to get me out of a slump. I'm no more than an hour in but as with most JRPGs, at start I was prompted to name the one I would control. In that one prompt screen alone where the first thing the game asked me was to "name him" by that odd gesture, I felt a smile drawing across my face. The next screen appeared and I started having a little bit of a laugh, "Name Her too". Well, I thought, this game is going to be quite the bizarre and ridiculous little thing everyone claims it to be... and to have even more fun, I began sprinkling my current life and some of the aliases I knew into my future adventure.
Curse these limitations on "Zarnyx"! Zarn's okay though. Or maybe I should have called him "Zyx"! Meh. Too late now. Either way it's very inspired, right?
Of course. As long as my eyes do not get pecked out.
I'm actually enjoying my adventuring thus far. Who knows what the future will bring for me in the 25 days from now, just as I don't know what lies ahead in the however many hours I will spend with Zarn, Swan, GBD, Habbo! and TAY with my love of meat and Loki, saving the world from an alien invasion or whatever strange little twists and turns await.
I named my other friend GBD due to his love of all things Nintendo. This though...maybe I was just being a bit of a jerk. A loving jerk!
I wanted to include everyone and I am expecting hilarious things from this inclusion.
I think this just about covers it.
Yeah, I have no idea why my brain failed me right here. I cannot wait to see what happens with this though. I hope it makes me swoon.
In 25 plus days, a few things will happen with an almost certainty: the air is going to change to feel crisp and refreshing, the twilight will come faster, the buses will be lined up to carry those excited, curious and/or down-trodden children to school and life will move on. There's hope and adventure in everything and those mushrooms will continue to dare to grow. And I will continue to hunt them and kick them down with a joyful glee just as I will continue to seek the thrill of an adventure created for me in the stories my video games will tell, even if I may need a little push some times these days.
Ah yes. I knew I was not wrong naming things as ridiculously as possible. It's criminal to not name things as ridiculously as possible!
I'm looking forward to it all and dreading it at the same time.
Yes, yes I am.
- Visit TAY Classic for odd adventures that you can start up all your own. Write a story, discuss life, talk about all your favourite meaty homemade foods. Just make sure one of your tags reads "TAY Classic" and voila! Bacon! Or something... don't hold me to things. Wanna know how everything TAY works? Here's a handy TUTorial for all your needs.